Any article you may come across about living a healthy lifestyle points out how important it is to get enough sleep. During sleep, the body has the chance to rest and recover so it can continue functioning properly day after day.
Often, people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol don’t have healthy sleep habits. Many drugs give the user enough energy that they don’t feel the need to sleep, while alcohol and other types of drugs disrupt the user’s sleep patterns so they don’t get to experience a deep, restful sleep.
Sleep is important for everyone’s overall health, but it’s particularly important for those recovering from addiction to drugs or alcohol – substances that can damage the brain. Not only does sleep give the body time to heal, it also gives the brain a chance to repair itself.
Sleep Flushes Out Toxins from the Brain
Most people have experienced mild sleep deprivation at some point in their lives. When someone is lacking sleep, they often have memory issues, brain fog, and mood swings because the brain hasn’t had the opportunity to cleanse itself.
During sleep, there is an intense rush of fluids to the brain, which clears away any built-up harmful proteins from between the brain cells.
An addict who is detoxing from drugs or alcohol may have more toxins needing to be flushed out than the average person, due to the nature of the substances they’d been consuming.
Researchers also believe that allowing yourself enough sleep for this process to take place can help reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s.
Sleep Helps Fight Cravings
There’s a reason health and fitness gurus talk about sleep so much: it helps them fight cravings for sugar and junk food.
The same may be true when it comes to drug cravings.
According to research done in Pennsylvania, there is a direct correlation between quality of sleep and drug cravings. Participants in the study who slept well and maintained a positive mood were less likely to experience drug cravings, while those who slept less experienced the opposite.
How to Improve Sleep Quality in Recovery
Establishing a new routine while recovering from addiction can be a bit overwhelming. After years spent prioritizing drugs or alcohol, it can feel strange adjusting to a new normal and prioritizing your well-being. Here are some of our favorite tips for promoting a good sleep while in recovery:
Meditate or practice yoga before bed. The focus on breathing during these activities can help release physical and mental tension, and relax both the body and the mind.
Establish a bedtime routine. Our bodies love routine. Aim to go to bed at the same time every night. Try to power down and avoid looking at screens like your phone or TV an hour before you go to sleep.
Throughout the day, eat well and stay active. A healthy diet and exercise routine can make it easier to fall into a deep sleep each night. Salty or greasy foods may keep you awake too late, and a lack of exercise can leave the body feeling like it can’t settle down.