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Sober Nation

Putting Recovery On The Map

02-14-12 | By

Conquering Insomnia – 5 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

5 tips for a better night sleep in sobriety

Everyone loves a sleep. For some people, a good night’s sleep is hard to come by.

Difficulty sleeping is one of the most common problems among recovering alcoholics and addicts, especially those new in recovery. In the past, chances are many of us would fall asleep (more like pass out) with the help of a few beers or a sleepy pill. But those days are behind you!

Sometimes, the cure to insomnia is a simple mattress change. Sure, it’s probably the more expensive route to take, but if you are doing every trick in the book to no avail, you should really consider checking out some mattress reviews at The Sleep Judge. They’ll point you in the right direction for finding a bed that will have you sleeping better than ever.

When the sun goes down, you are all alone with your thoughts and feelings. Learning how to manage your thoughts can take time. In the meantime, your inability to fall asleep sleep can be extremely frustrating, and a killer of your serenity.

Here are some tips you can try.

Put Down All Electronics Two Hours Before Bedtime

recent studies that show tablet and smartphone use before bed can keep you awake at night. Researchers at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found two or more hours of exposure to backlit devices suppresses melatonin by as much as 22%. That suppression, especially in teenagers, can lead to problems getting to sleep at night.

Recent studies that show tablet and smartphone use before bed can keep you awake at night. Researchers at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found two or more hours of exposure to back-lit devices suppresses melatonin by as much as 22%. That suppression, especially in teenagers, can lead to problems getting to sleep at night.

It’s important to know when to shut down for the night. With everyone glued to their iPhones these days, it’s no wonder people lose sleep over the constant checking of emails, texting, Facebook, Instagram and games. Smart phones are great and I am glad I have one, but everyone needs to be able to get centered and shut down for the night.

When you shut down, shut your phone down too.

Limit Your Caffeine Use

coffee addiction

Coffee is amazing. It is a perfect pick me up and feel good ritual for many of us. Suggesting addicts and alcoholics not to drink coffee is like telling a dog not to chase after a squirrel. We just can’t seem to stay away from it. Unfortunately, caffeine addiction is extremely common and has effects on blood pressure and heart rate.

Coffee is very common in AA meetings and coffee shops are popular hangout spots for people in recovery. We want you to enjoy your coffee! We simply suggest that you try to stick to one cup of coffee in the morning, and refrain from drinking 5 red bulls a day. You will sleep much better.

Exercise Regularly During The Week

exercise and sleep

The benefits of exercise seem to be endless. We have frequently written about how making health and exercise a priority can help you in your recovery and in your life. I have always believed in the power of exercise.

The more research we do, the more we learn about the positive correlation between exercise and sleep. Not only will exercise strengthen your system, it will also relieve anxiety which is a common reason for many people to to be tossing and turning.

Obviously, exercise will strengthen your heart, keep you from gaining weight in recovery and improve your immune system. All of these play a factor in getting a better night sleep.

Get your sweat on people, you’ll sleep like a baby.

Meditation and Relaxation Techniques

meditation and a better night sleep

Much like exercise, meditation has a lot of health benefits that effect you both mentally and physically. Mediation has been proven to enhance focus, improve brain function and lower heart rate and blood pressure.

Meditation is great for maintaining recovery, and it can really help you quiet your mind. We find that a common reason why people new in recovery can’t sleep is because they can’t stop their minds from racing. We all know that feeling, when your body is tired but your mind just wont shut off. Those are some of the most awful nights there are. Meditation will help with that.

You don’t have to become a monk or join a yoga class (although yoga is great) to meditate. We suggest 15 minutes in the morning before you start your day. Just take some time to let your mind be at ease.

Get Off The Nicotine

quit smoking for a better night sleep

I would argue that in many ways, nicotine is the most addictive drug there is. It’s that final vice that we so often hold on to after we have given up everything else. As a former cigarette smoker and chewing tobacco user, I can attest first hand just how hard it is.

However, there is nothing good about cigarettes. Many people attest that smoking has a calming effect, but in reality smoking elevates blood pressure, increases heart rate and puts extra stress on just about every bodily system.

If you are looking to get a better night sleep, give up the smokes and give them up for good. The truth is, smoking isn’t cool anymore. You’re not James Dean and they make you smell terrible.

Don’t Worry – Everything Will Be Okay

On the surface this subject may seem like an insignificant topic. There is no need to make a big deal out of something that isn’t one, but insomnia is a very common problem for many people. For those new in recovery especially, insomnia can be very dangerous.

Not getting enough sleep can make you miserable, not to mention how awful it is to be laying in bed watching the minutes tick by. I’ve seen numerous cases of addicts relapsing on bonzodiazapines because they couldn’t sleep.

It’s important to know that if you are new in recovery, your body is going through some serious changes. Your brain will take some time to balance itself out, and it can be very uncomfortable.

Just remember, this won’t last forever. Eventually your system should get back to normal and your sleep patterns will become less irregular and more consistent.

Few things feel better than a good night sleep. Everyone deserves to be well rested. We hope you try some of these tips and catch some zzz’s.

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