Updated at: 15-02-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Taking the first step toward healing by seeking help is an admirable act of courage. This is not going to be a procedure you can easily fall asleep during if you found this article in the middle of the night when you’d want to sleep.

But don’t despair; there is help available for addicts and their loved ones. Give yourself a pat on the back for being here and not self-medicating. Look at you! You’ve just completed one of the most difficult journeys a human being can go on. You’re on your way.

As a result of the extensive research we’ve done, you won’t be alone in your battle with addiction. Complexities can arise in the interaction between sleep and addiction that may influence recovery or even predict relapse behavior. Take a look at our information on how resting can help you recover from challenging situations.

How Are Sleep and Addiction-Related?

According to the statistics, those with substance abuse issues are up 10 times more likely to have a sleep disturbance. Addiction and poor sleep quality are obviously linked, but how does this work?

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Addiction and sleep deprivation are inextricably linked. There is a link between poor sleep quality and substance abuse, but the inverse is also true. People who are addicted to drugs are more likely to have a terrible night’s sleep as well. It’s difficult, but not impossible, to escape this loop.

Sleep Deprivation Increases Vulnerability to Addiction

People with sleep disorders, such as insomnia, are more likely to become dependent on drugs or alcohol, according to research. It’s understandable that when people have trouble sleeping, they turn to drugs and alcohol as a first resort. Many people who suffer from insomnia resort to utilizing medicines to help them sleep, such as Ambien, alcohol, or marijuana. Keeping them awake during the day may necessitate the use of other medications. Unfortunately, both of these have the potential to quickly become addictive.

Poor judgment, increased impulsivity, and irritability have all been linked to sleep deprivation. Another way that sleep deprivation may increase your risk of drug and alcohol abuse is that when you’re unable to think clearly, you’re more likely to participate in dangerous activities like drug usage.

Dopamine: Friend or Foe?

Drug and alcohol abuse has been extensively studied and reported in the scientific literature. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is an important biological element here. As a “happy chemical,” dopamine is the one that is released in your brains when you exercise, listen to excellent music, or take specific substances. Dopamine is one of the primary drivers behind drug use since it promotes feelings of well-being and drive.

Dopamine is a double-edged sword because it not only boosts alertness but also regulates sleep. In fact, dopamine-increasing drugs are used to treat diseases like narcolepsy because they are so good at accomplishing this. High amounts of dopamine are unavoidable when someone consumes potent dopamine-increasing substances (like cocaine or meth) for recreational purposes. As a result, the circadian cycle is thrown off, leading to restless nights of tossing and turning. As a result, the more sleep deprivation you have, the more difficult it is to kick the habit.

How Do Different Addictions Affect Sleep?

Despite the fact that many addictions produce problems with sleep, not all of them are the same. Some can make you feel hyper-aroused, while others can leave you feeling fatigued or despondent. We sympathize with anything you’re going through. As a result, we’re here to assist you better understanding your symptoms so that you can get some much-needed shut-eye, and if it helps to know that you’re not the only one, that’s fantastic too.

Alcohol

Even if you’re not drinking, alcohol can cause sleeplessness. It’s possible that this is due to the fact that many persons with alcoholism began using it as a sleep aid. Initially, you could feel drowsy because alcohol is a depressive, but these effects are short-lived and can lead to early waking up as well as shorter REM periods, unlike the addiction.

Tolerance to alcohol can lead to sleep deprivation and an earlier wake time as your body becomes more reliant on the substance. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) research show that relapse is much more likely when sleep disturbances continue during addiction detox (especially with alcohol). As a precautionary measure, we’d like to provide you with some advice: Alcohol will not help you sleep.

Patients who relapse into alcoholism often have a temporary improvement in their sleep (around twenty-four hours) before their sleep returns to normal, if not worse, and they may even lose the ability to sleep soundly in the future. Is a single night of sound sleep really worth a lifetime of insomnia?

Sedatives

Addiction to sedatives can often be traced back to sleep disorders, just like alcohol addiction. You may find yourself in a difficult-to-break cycle of insomnia or other sleep issues when you begin the process of recovery. Depression, anxiety, and even seizures are possible side effects of withdrawal from sedatives when the sedative levels in the bloodstream drop during the process.

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In tiny doses, cannabis or CBD may help some people sleep, but the results may be different for those trying to quit. Withdrawal can cause sleep issues that might endure for weeks, even in the early days. Relapse can occur within two days of attempting abstinence for persons in treatment, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (SAMHSA).

If you’re trying to wean yourself off sedatives, you’ve probably already learned this lesson the hard way. Just keep going, we’ll get into some natural ways to help you get some rest, which could speed up your recuperation a little bit later on.

Stimulants

While patients may expect to be able to sleep more comfortably once the stimulant wears off, the results tend to be mixed. According to SAMHSA, patients report a wide range of outcomes, with some reporting worse sleep quality but believing it to be better and others reporting worse sleep quality. According to a UCLA study, the restorative effects of sleep are diminished in persons who are recovering from cocaine use, despite the fact that they may sleep for greater periods of time.

AddictionEffects in AddictionEffects in Abstinence/Recovery
Alcohol
  • Insomnia,
  • reduced REM periods,
  • frequent waking
  • Risk for Sleep Apnea,
  • insomnia,
  • reduced REM periods
Sedatives
  • Sleepiness,
  • exhaustion,
  • depression
  • Insomnia,
  • anxiety,
  • racing thoughts
Stimulants
  • Insomnia,
  • anxiety,
  • reduced REM periods
  • Rebound in REM periods,
  • decrease in long wave periods
Opioids
  • Insufficient rest duration,
  • reduced REM periods,
  • irregular sleep patterns
  • Insomnia,
  • anxiety
Hallucinogens
  • Lack of REM periods,
  • reduced sleep duration
  • Insomnia,
  • lack of REM periods

Opioids

A first injury that caused excruciating agony is often the catalyst for opiate addiction. Stress and poor quality sleep are two common side effects of drug dependence that occur as a result of the usage of painkillers to treat an injury. A lack of sleep, as well as poor sleep quality and unpredictable sleeping patterns, are common among those who abuse opioids, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Opioid addicts may find that the sleep they do receive doesn’t assist as much as they hoped it would.

According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, this is due to the fact that opioid users are also more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation than the general population. Stress and anxiety can be misconstrued as cravings while you’re in recovery since you’re unable to process your feelings.

Patients may be at greater risk of developing RLS as a result, according to an Indian university study published in the same journal. It’s possible that talking therapy will help you overcome cravings if you’re experiencing any of these signs.

Opioid addiction medications might create sleepwalking problems, so be aware of this possibility.

Hallucinogens

In spite of the fact that they might induce a state similar to a dream for those who take them, according to Ocean Breeze Recovery Center, psychedelics and hallucinogens are bad for sleep. Poor sleep quality, insomnia, and a lack of REM periods are among the most common side effects.

Medications that impact serotonin levels are particularly damaging to sleep because they disturb the circadian rhythm and make it difficult for the body to regulate sleep cycles, according to the center. Those who are addicted to the substance may only be able to wake up when they are high.

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Because these medicines are so dangerously addictive, most doctors advise patients to seek therapy in a facility where trained staff can help them cope with the withdrawal symptoms, which can include suicidal thoughts, sadness, and anxiety. Hope does exist, however. A lot of the time, the body can re-learn to produce good emotions naturally after a period of abstinence, so you just have to stay with it.

Common Sleep Disorders During Recovery

Even though insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders, it is not the most difficult to treat. A lack of sleep, frequent awakening and an early rise are all symptoms of drug usage. You might have a hard time concentrating or staying awake or fighting off illnesses after a while. This is why it’s so critical to look after your health and well-being while you’re recovering.

Insomnia

One of the most prevalent symptoms of a drug or alcohol addiction is the inability to sleep at night, sometimes known as insomnia. You’ll know the symptoms of hyperalertness, anxiety, despair, and the obvious: the fact that you’re awake when you’d rather be sleeping. Insomnia can also manifest as difficulty falling asleep, waking up too early, or waking up repeatedly.

The symptoms must be present at least three evenings per week for at least a few months before a diagnosis may be made by a doctor. If you experience any of these signs, you should be aware that a relapse is possible. Don’t let your efforts go to waste. Recovery is something to be celebrated, and you owe it to yourself to get help if you need it.

It’s critical to keep in mind that these signs can only appear in a setting where relaxation is possible. We recommend shutting off the lights and the music if you plan on staying up every night to play video games or watch movies. Talk to your doctor if you’re still unable to sleep.

A variety of treatment options are available for this problem, but be careful that some doctors may give sleeping drugs or depressants if they are not aware of your situation, which could lead to addiction.

Sleep Apnea

Two main explanations for snoring, one caused by a blockage in the airways while asleep and the other by a brain disorder that fails to tell the body to breathe, exist outside of addiction treatment.

Withdrawing from alcohol or opiates increases a person’s risk of developing sleep apnea, which can be life-threatening. Snoring or difficulty breathing can be caused by the relaxation of muscles in the upper airway caused by depressants. According to the New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, this impact may lead patients to wake up frequently, disturbing REM cycles and lowering the quality of their sleep.

Snoring, gasping, or just not feeling refreshed after a night of sleep are all signs that you may have sleep apnea. They should be able to identify the problem’s root cause and correct it.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Taping or shaking the limbs can help ease the symptoms of RLS, an illness that causes pain in the legs and feet. Hyperactive or anxious individuals may be more susceptible to getting RLS as a result of opiate and depressive withdrawals.

There are a plethora of elements that can lead to the onset of a substance use disorder in most people who have been diagnosed with it. RLS/WED symptoms may raise the likelihood of substance usage in people with medical illnesses that cause substantial discomfort, stress, and difficulties in functioning.” – American Rehabilitation Facilities

Sleep problems can be exacerbated by taking stimulants, and withdrawals that cause restlessness can exacerbate them.

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Side Effects from Methadone (Often Used to Help People Detox from Opioids)

Although the adverse effects of Methadone appear to be manageable compared to substance misuse withdrawals, this does not indicate that the drug should be used lightly. Using methadone to treat opiate withdrawals has been found to be more successful at reducing sleep issues, but this does not guarantee it will completely eliminate them.

According to one study, those who are taking Methadone at the maximum or above-maximum dosage are more likely to suffer from sleep issues, therefore in many circumstances, less is more. There have been reports of sleep wandering and even vomiting as a result of this approach, so proceed with caution if your doctor recommends it for you.

Insomnia and the Likelihood of Relapse

We’ll say it a few more times just to make sure everyone understands. Addiction relapses are frequently linked to sleep deprivation, particularly in the case of substance misuse. Because of the widespread usage of controlled medications to assist individuals in sleep, a study conducted in Cleveland, Ohio, found that this is the case.

During recuperation, when patients are unable to find other ways to rest, resisting the temptation to use medicines that aid in rest can be very challenging.

If you think we’re attempting to frighten you–well, we are. In order to get through recuperation, you’re going to need some assistance. However, the good news is that this is something you’ll be able to get through with some help. Many people find success in recovery and rehab, but if you’ve tried it previously, it may take a few more tries before it takes. Setbacks aren’t failures; they’re just a necessary part of the process.

Remember that numerous studies demonstrate that the sleep-inducing effects of most medicines wear off with time, which brings us back to the dangers of relapsing. According to the Psychiatric Times, drinking up to six hours before you go to bed can effectively disrupt the second half of your sleep cycle.. You may not be able to sleep at all if you drink right before going to bed.

Addicts are more likely to suffer from sleeplessness during periods of abstinence or treatment, according to the study. However, when sleep problems return due to alcohol withdrawal, the cycle of relapsing and abstinence ceases rapidly in heavy drinkers.

It is possible that the link between sleep difficulties and recurrence is due to the difficulty that patients have to find sufficient treatment for their sleep issues. In these situations, what starts out as a search for therapy can easily degenerate into a search for drugs. Although according to the Wayne State Study, drug-seeking is primarily motivated by the euphoric high one gets from using drugs, the relationship between drug use and sleep quality might deepen.

The failure to recognize a patient’s particular pattern of behavior can contribute to drug abuse or leave a patient in need of therapy untreated. Please know that we’re sorry if this is happening to you, but it’s never too late to get help. Our advice is to find a doctor or a buddy that you can be open with. In this way, they can assist you in avoiding possible pitfalls or relapse temptations.

Questions for Your Doctor

Are sleeping pills addictive?

The fact that you’re asking this question shows your doctor that you’re concerned about relapse and that you’d like to get enough sleep to avoid it. The hope is that this information will assist them to point you in the appropriate direction for treatment and relief. It’s possible that you can find a sleeping medication that doesn’t count as a controlled substance. To assist you to get some shut-eye, your doctor should be aware of this fact.

Although melatonin is commonly referred to as a dietary supplement or vitamin, it is really considered a controlled substance by the FDA. In most cases, it won’t be addictive or cause major difficulties, but it isn’t for everybody.

However, sleeping drugs that are classified as depressants or opioids can readily become addictive. Aside from consulting with your physician, we’ve done some research to help lead you on the correct path if you have any side effects from any medications that are prescribed to you.

Remember that most doctors only prescribe sleeping drugs for short-term use, and look for more natural or long-term solutions to assist you in sleeping. This is vital to keep in mind. It is predicted that heavy-duty suppressants will be prescribed by doctors only in the most extreme cases of sleeplessness on an as-needed basis, according to Addiction Center.

Substance abuse occurs when these tablets are used for purposes other than those recommended by a doctor, such as to treat anxiety. It is possible to get addicted or dependent on these drugs if one consumes them for a lengthy period of time. Honesty with your doctor is the best policy if you’re worried about this conduct.

Can I use sleeping pills during detox?

For insomnia or other sleep issues, doctors might give sleeping drugs during recovery or detox, but they are more likely to explore alternate treatments. Ask your doctor whether you’re at risk for drug dependence if you’re prescribed an addictive sedative. It’s not uncommon to see treatment clinics for those addicted to sleeping drugs, which is why they’re so popular.

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Keep in mind that less potent or natural drugs such as melatonin or other over-the-counter treatments may not be effective or solve the underlying problems for everyone.

Is exercise safe for me?

Exercise can help you sleep better and may even turn out to be one of your most useful recovery aids. However, before making any treatment decisions on your own, you should consult with your doctor. In the early stages of sobriety, especially for individuals who are suffering from alcohol withdrawal, physical activity can be harmful.

Exercising’s health advantages may stem from the exhausting nature of the activity itself, or from the chemical changes it causes in the body, which promote the production of feel-good hormones and improve sleep quality.

Exercising can improve mental clarity, reduce anxiety and despair, and assist people in coping with mood swings, according to the website Quitalcohol. Check with your doctor before embarking on an exercise regimen to ensure that you’re healthy enough for it and to understand which exercises would be most beneficial for you.

If you suffer from opiate addiction as a result of underlying discomfort, you may want to consider doing low-impact exercises like swimming or biking instead.

What diet do you suggest to promote sleep?

Doctors advocate a few foods for insomnia and other sleep disorders, including complex carbs, almonds, cottage cheese, warm milk, chamomile tea, and various types of fruits, despite a lack of data on the subject. In the proper amounts and at the right time, each of these foods provides the building blocks for a better night’s sleep, say scientists.

Many sleep disorders are associated with sobriety or abstinence, and a variety of specific diets could be beneficial in combating these conditions. Doctors are usually pleased that you’re interested in making the most of the chances you have for a full recovery.

Could my medications be keeping me awake?

The amount of REM sleep, an important predictor of relapse, can be interfered with by sedatives, however, this is not always the case. Some doctors administer antidepressants or anxiety drugs to their patients during the rehabilitation process in order to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal. It’s likely that the medication you’re taking is interfering with your sleep, and hence your recovery if you started having trouble sleeping soon after starting it.

Harvard Medical School has compiled a list of popular drugs and their effects on sleep that you can bring to your doctor.

Natural Sleep Tips

Talk to Your Sponsor

Remember that you are not alone if you are in a recovery program with a personal sponsor. A sponsor may be able to provide you with particular methods that they used to successfully complete their own detoxification. Even if one way doesn’t work for both of you, it’s never a terrible idea to get some advice from someone who is good at keeping their opinions to themselves.

Don’t be afraid to tell someone you trust what you’re going through. Having a community of people to lean on and confide in can make all the difference. Despite the fact that it’s frightening, if you’re here, it means you’re on the correct course. Don’t give up!

Exercise

After the first few days of detox, many people find that regular exercise is an excellent way to help them sleep better at night. When you exercise, your body naturally produces endorphins, or happy hormones, which can help you deal with stress and despair. In addition, physical activity lengthens slow-wave times of rest, allowing your body more time to recover and repair itself.

Exercise has been shown to help recovering addicts build new social ties and control cravings, according to research from Harvard Medical School.

Now you have a reason to strike up a conversation with strangers at the gym. The accountability that a personal trainer can provide can’t be overstated.

It’s possible, though, that exercising may not be safe at every stage of rehabilitation. Consult your physician to determine the most appropriate form of exercise for your current situation. Other than weightlifting, cardio activity may be more beneficial for some people. Staying within your restrictions should be the responsibility of your doctor.

Sleep Routine/Hygiene

Combating any type of sleep issue necessitates designating a special area of the home as a place of rest. Your body may not be able to tell when it’s time to rest if you have a negative association with your bed, such as work, anxiety, or restlessness.

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Addiction withdrawals may cause the body to miss out on other sleep cues, such as drug use, which can lead to insomnia. Brushing your teeth, meditating, or reading aloud can help your body adjust to a new schedule more readily if you can teach it to detect these additional indications. If you want your bed to be a place of rest and intimacy, the National Institutes of Health recommends keeping everything else out of it.

Reading an excellent book about sleep can help you fall asleep if you don’t know where to begin.

Light/Noise Therapies

It’s possible that light therapy could help you keep track of when it’s time for you to be up and when it’s time for you to go to sleep. Sleep-wake cycles can be helped by using customized box lights placed strategically throughout the day.

In addition, using a lightbox at your desk may help you meet new people and grow your support network. In some circumstances, you may be able to put your mind at ease by listening to certain noises. We’re looking at you, a cat that has no regard for the sacredness of sleep because some study suggests that white noise may be beneficial in disguising distracting external disturbances.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, more commonly known as CBT, is a highly recommended treatment for those in addiction rehabilitation programs. Get to the fundamental cause of an issue and implement behavioral adjustments to fix it using this type of talk therapy.

People who are addicted to substances may benefit from therapy sessions that involve reliving painful experiences in order to alleviate some of the associated negative feelings and help them discover healthier coping mechanisms. This method could help people sleep better at night by counteracting some of the emotional variables that keep us awake at night. In other words, you don’t have to stay up all night revisiting painful or embarrassing memories because you’ve already dealt with them and learned how to deal with them.

An addicted individual is better able to overcome their addiction if they understand the reasons for their behavior and how that behavior is linked to substance abuse. A – Substance Abuse Treatment Center

Counseling

Counseling, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), may assist recovering addicts in better managing their emotions. This could help develop more focused thinking, coping methods for those who suffer from addictive inclinations, and even stress management skills. In many circumstances, shame makes it difficult to break the addiction cycle. Pain can be dulled or avoided if one can discover forgiveness for oneself and genuine healing.

“You do deserve healing and it is feasible,” we know, so let us get ahead of the game. As long as serial killers on death row can come to terms with their pasts–and they can–who are we to tell you that you can’t do the same?

Motivational interviewing and consistency management has been found to be particularly successful in talk therapy, according to the American Psychological Association. Recovering addicts are more likely to avoid relapse if they are given the support and encouragement they need.

Conclusion

If you are in the midst of an addiction recovery journey, you are not alone and there are numerous services available to assist you. Keep in mind that requesting assistance is a noble act. If you’re looking for long-term treatment, we believe doctors and treatment facilities are the ideal locations to go. We really hope this post has been helpful.

Even though getting enough sleep doesn’t seem like an easy task, there is hope at the end of the tunnel. After a grueling period of detox, most reformed addicts discover that rest improves over time. The road to recovery isn’t always smooth, but the more rest you get, the greater your chances of making it are. You have our best wishes and a hearty congratulation on your tenacity in achieving your goals.

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