How to Improve Your Sleep While in Addiction Recovery

How to Improve Your Sleep While in Addiction Recovery

During your recovery from addiction, you may find that you are having trouble sleeping at night.

A lack of sleep can cause numerous problems for you including but not limited to, depression, development of false memory, irritability, headaches and mania. All of these effects can push you closer to a relapse.

For some, sleep problems may be occasional and just a minor annoyance, while others lie awake night after restless night, ending up exhausted, emotionally and physically, the next day. Sleep issues can be short-lived if it is caused by withdrawal from a drug, or long lasting if you are a recovering alcoholic. Alcoholics can suffer from insomnia or sleep-disordered breathing (such as sleep apnea) for weeks, months or sometimes years after becoming sober.

This article gives you a few tips to help you get to sleep.

Why You Are Having Trouble Sleeping

One of the reasons why people in early recovery have trouble sleeping is because of nutrient deficiencies that develop during active addiction.

Most people in active addiction are eating processed, and chemical-filled foods, and are not getting enough stage three sleep. Their bodies use all reserved resources to maintain the functioning of vital organs. Since all resources are being used, the brain is depleted of vital nutrients needed to function properly, which means that on top of all the other health issues caused by drugs and alcohol, the brain isn’t signaling for the proper release of melatonin—a hormone that tells the body it is time to sleep.

Another reason why those in withdrawal have trouble sleeping is because of the addictive substances themselves. For a person seeking treatment for an addiction to stimulant drugs (such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy), sleep will be affected until the drugs are no longer in the body.

So how do you fix this?

Regular Sleep Pattern

A regular sleep schedule may be exactly what you need. Just a few adjustments to your daily routine can help you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

Pick a bedtime and a wake-up time, making sure to stick to them as much as possible. That way, your body’s internal clock, also called a circadian rhythm (body clock) will get accustomed to a new bedtime, which will help you fall asleep better at night and wake up more easily each morning.

This won’t happen overnight. The most effective tactic is to make small changes slowly. If you’re trying to go to sleep at 10:00 pm, rather than midnight, for example, try this: For the first three or four nights, go to bed at 11:45 pm, and then go to bed at 11:30 pm for the next few days. Keep adjusting your sleep schedule like this. By working in 15-minute increments, your body will have an easier time adjusting.


Creating a ritual for bedtime will help you in getting a better night’s sleep. Use the 30 minutes before you go to bed to do something that relaxes you, such as taking a warm bath, practicing meditation, listening to calming music, or reading a good book.

This ensures that you don’t forget anything important before bed like setting alarms and taking necessary medication. It will also “trick” your mind so that when you begin this ritual your mind will realize it is almost time to sleep. This will begin the biological process of your brain preparing your body for sleep.

Eating and Drinking

Watching what you eat or drink in the hours before bedtime is very important. If you’re hungry or too full, it will disrupt your sleep. It is important to get a healthy balance in your diet before sleep.

Eating a healthy, balanced snack can help you relax and sleep, overeating and eating certain foods before turning in can cause numerous problems. It can lead to heartburn which will inevitably keep you awake and it can lead to insomnia.

However, your best bet may be an evening snack containing carbohydrates and protein, such as cereal and milk. These foods promote calmness leading to an easier and healthier night’s sleep. Learning more about the foods that aid your sleep will help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.


Get some exercise every day. Commit to a regular exercise routine, this can be as simple as a brisk daily walk, you’re likely to get to sleep faster and sleep more soundly. Ensuring you tire yourself out through the day will ensure a sounder sleep.

However, make sure to avoid vigorous exercise just before bedtime, as you might end up feeling too energized. You may believe that exercising will tire you out for bed, this is true earlier in the day, but if done too late the adrenaline from exercising will have the opposite effect.

On the other hand, relaxing exercise like gentle yoga poses before bed can help initiate a more restful night due to its meditative like nature.

Light & Sound

Eliminate light and sound as much as possible. Outside traffic can be distracting, as can the ticking of a clock, appliance noises, alerts of email or text messages on your phone and more. All of these sounds can keep you awake.

Additionally, make sure to turn off computers and laptops and don’t have your cell phone in the bedroom, even if it’s charging. The lights and notifications from these devices can have huge effects on your sleeping patterns.

Consider using blackout curtains, eyeshades, earplugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices that create a dark, quiet space that’s ideal for sound sleeping.

When you are struggling with drug addiction and withdrawal symptoms you need all the mental strength and support you can get. A good night of sleep can go a long way in ensuring your mind and body recover properly. Implementing the tips in this article will give you the tools you need to get a great night of sleep.