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Sober Nation

Putting Recovery On The Map

10-10-16 | By

Somebody Needs a Nap: Getting a Good Night Sleep

sleep deprivation

Have you been snapping at people recently for no reason? How about making decisions that you instantly regret? Are your emotions getting the best of you?

Well… Sounds like somebody needs a nap!

Sometimes life can feel like there’s not enough hours in a day so we try to compensate for that by reducing the number of hours we sleep. Ultimately though, that just comes back to bite us because we end up functioning at a subpar level the next day.

Sleep deprivation can effect our judgement, mood, motivation, and results in a lack of energy (obviously). Being tired can lead to a slew of bad things including major mood swings and angry outburst.

Unfortunately, if you are in recovery from addiction, we cannot afford the luxury of the symptoms described above. Have you ever heard of HALT which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired? Well, personally, I feel like “Tired” is the most dangerous of all the letters in the HALT. It only takes one bad decision and BANG…you’re be back to your old ways and it’s all because you decided to pull an all nighter. Was it worth it?? Me thinks the answer be “no”! (Read that last sentence in a Scottish accent)

If you are having trouble falling asleep and that is why you are missing out on a good snooze, here are some tips to help you catch some Zzz’s a little easier and hopefully improve your quality of life:

Transition Into Sleep Mode

First off, try to go to bed around the same time every night. Our body and mind respond well to habitual practices so try to get in bed around the same time each day, give or take 30min or so. It works for most children so why shouldn’t it work for you as an adult?

Once you decide on your own bed time, start to transition into what I like to call “Sleep Mode.” About an hour before your designated bed time, start by dimming the lights in your home so that your home has more of a warm feel to it. Then turn off any exciting stimuli like a scary movie or a re-run of Lost. Try to find something that is fictional to read before bed that won’t make you think to much. Finally, lower (or raise, however you look at it) your air conditioning so that it’s cooler in your home.

These changes should help your ability to fall asleep and could reduce the “racing mind” many of us struggle with. Over time, your body and mind should recognize these changes in your environment and begin to associate them with sleepy time so falling asleep will get easier and easier.

Reverse Psychology Yourself

How many times have you tried to use reverse psychology on someone? Telling your crush you don’t like them, in the hopes that, by saying that, they start to like you in return. Has that ever worked for you?

Well then let me ask you this…Have you ever tried to use reverse psychology on yourself? It’s not as far fetched as it sounds.

There have actually been studies that led scientist to believe that if a person repeatedly thinks to themselves the words “Don’t fall asleep” while they are laying in bed trying to fall asleep, they are more likely to fall asleep faster than a person who isn’t repeating those words to themselves. Essentially, repeating the words “don’t fall asleep” triggers something subconsciously within yourself that wants to rebel against this request which, in turn, leads to you falling asleep.

If you aren’t buying the fact that your mind is subconsciously rebelling against your request, you can just think of it as a mantra. At the very least, you’re repeating the same words over and over again which is getting your mind off of whatever insane thoughts are preventing you from falling asleep.

Are You Hot or Are You Cold?

You have two choices here: Hot or Cold.

Choice one to help you fall asleep easier is a hot shower. Turn the water as hot as you can safely stand without burning yourself (a relaxing bath is ok too.) Not only with the hot water relax your muscles but an effect takes place when you go from the hot water to the cooler air outside your shower. Your body temperature drops faster than normal, causing your metabolism to slow down quickly, thus preparing you for a good night’s rest.

Choice two to help you catch some rest requires you to dunk your face in a bowl of ice-water. If you’re mind is racing around bedtime, you might want to consider utilizing this surprisingly calming tool. Dunking your face in a bowl of ice-cold water triggers something miraculous called the “Mammalian Dive Reflex.” This reflex helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate and essentially hits the reset button on your overall mood thus helping you get ready for bed.

Warm Glass of Milk

I’m just kidding, don’t have a warm glass of milk. (I’m pretty sure that’s just an old wive’s tale) 

What you can try, though, are a number of different, natural supplements that are out there that help to produce feelings of calm, relaxation, and can support a good night’s sleep.

Melatonin is a very popular choice and is something that our body produces naturally when it’s time for bed anyway so many people take a little bit extra to help set your mind up for a good night of sleep. L-Tryptophan, not to be confused with tryptophan that is in your thanksgiving turkey, is another great supplement that is often used to promote feelings of calm and to help reduce anxiety. Finally, 5-htp or GABA are also great amino acids that can help to naturally improve feelings of relaxation.*

Of course, you can find all of the supplements mentioned above in the LiQcovery: PM Formula by Liquid Recovery Nutrition. This company makes two formulas that are designed for people in recovery from addiction, non-abusable, and useful to the recovering addict by offering natural sleep support amongst other many other helpful things so check them out!*

Anyway, go get some rest!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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