Are You in Addiction Recovery and Sleep Short?

A young woman with brown hair is under a blanket with her head on a pillow asleep. - 9/03/2019

If you struggle with getting enough sleep or a good night’s sleep, you’re not alone. If you're in addiction recovery, you may be part of the  33 percent of people who struggle with insomnia according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). What's more, about 38 percent of those people unintentionally fall asleep during the day. That can't be good! 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all adults need seven or more hours of sleep each night, otherwise, anything less is considered “sleep short.” The CDC says that more men are sleep short than women, though not by much, and people aged 45 to 65 are most short on sleep.

Sleep problems also are a common complaint among people with substance use disorders, but there are some simple tweaks you can try to help you sleep like a  baby.

Simple Steps for Better Sleep

  1. Consider your surroundings. Is the room where you sleep disorganized? Is it too bright? If so, clear out the clutter and see how “settled” you feel. Try using dim lamps, candles or nightlights in place of fluorescent or high-wattage light bulbs to soften your environment.
  2. If you are in a recovery program and sleep deficient, speak to your counselor about the program you’re in to ensure it treats the “whole person” (i.e. psychological, social, medical, behavioral, etc.) 
  3. Try practicing an evening ritual of meditation or yoga and avoid caffeine and nicotine.

Sleep is Important for Children Too

Insomnia can affect children and adolescents too. According to the CDC, children who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have attention and behavior problems, so have your kids put away their toys  and turn off all electronic device screens to get to bed at a consistent time. If insomnia persists, visit your pediatrician. 

To get SAMHSA's full story, read the publication “Treating Sleep Problems of People in Recovery from Substance Use Disorders” on the website https://www.samhsa.gov/.

Also, don’t shy away from your doctor or mental health provider . You are in charge of your health, but it never hurts to talk through an issue and hear another opinion.