Sleep is a crucial element of healthy recovery from addiction.
“Without sleep, we all become tall 2 year olds.” -JoJo Jensen
According to a study by Harvard Health, lack of sleep affects many aspects of our overall well-being, including memory, metabolism, mood, cardiovascular health and disease. In early recovery, sleep is especially important, giving you energy and willpower to cope with cravings and make rational decisions. There are lots of ways to set yourself up for a restorative night of sleep. Here are some reminders:
- Set a regular time for sleeping and waking up. Stick to this schedule! (Even on the weekends)
- Avoid consuming caffeine late in the day if you’re sensitive, after mid- to late afternoon. (According to information from the National Sleep Foundation, once in the body, it takes about 6 hours for half of the caffeine to be eliminated.)
- If you have difficulty falling asleep, get up and try a quiet activity such as writing in a journal or reading a book.
- Avoid watching television or using a computer/smartphone. The bright light from the screens can make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Increase the amount of light you see during the day and decrease the amount of light during the night. Light affects the melatonin levels in your body, which affects your sleep cycle.
- Avoid large meals and nicotine within a few hours of bedtime.
- Short naps are fine if it does not adversely affect your sleep.
- Make sure you are sleeping on a comfortable bed with good support.