Sound sleep is not common for those in the early stages of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Sleep is constantly disrupted by ongoing symptoms of withdrawal, nightmares, using dreams, uncomfortable bodies, and busy minds. Those in treatment are often prescribed sleep medications which can cause drowsiness or other sleep disturbances, simply perpetuating the problem. Researched published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine found that treating insomnia in early recovery can reduce relapse rates. Newswise explains that insomnia in early recovery might be five times higher than the general population. Insomnia for recovering addicts and alcoholics may last longer than the normal occurrence of insomnia. PAWS, post acute withdrawal syndrome, is the periodic recurrence of withdrawal symptoms in recovery, which can last for two years. Insomnia and other symptoms of sleep disturbances are common during episodes of PAWS, putting those in recovery at risk for relapse. “Insomnia may be linked with a higher risk of alcohol-related problems and relapse,” the website explains. “The association my run in the other direction as well- population studies report people with sleep disturbance are more likely to be at risk of developing addiction.” Many teens turn to addictive behaviors or substances to help with sleep. Anything from using their smartphones to numb out, to drinking alcohol, to finding medications in their parent’s medicine cabinet is possible. The more that teens use substances to try and sleep, the worse their sleep can become. Sleep disturbances in early recovery are triggering because they are frustrating. Exhausted and detoxing, teens need sleep. Other research has found that teens of certain age need more sleep than adults or other teens because the body is running on different sleep schedule.
Tips for getting better sleep in early recovery
Teens benefit greatly from a nighttime sleep routine which helps prepare their body for rest. Interaction with technological devices should end at least 1-2 hours before bedtime. Teens are encouraged to avoid sugary, caffeinated food substances and turn toward calming foods like simple fruits, chamomile tea, or bananas. Relaxing nighttime activities like meditation, yoga, or reading are also recommended.
Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers long term residential treatment programs for addiction recovery. Our programs involve the whole family for foundation building, life cleansing change.
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