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Tossing and Turning: Substance Abuse and Sleep Disorders

Sleep is an integral part of overall well-being because it allows the body to heal itself and recharge for the next day. Poor sleep not only leaves you feeling exhausted the next day, it can also have a negative impact on your health and make you more susceptible to illness. Some people turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of self-medicating and helping themselves fall asleep, but substance abuse can actually make sleep disorders worse and cause substance-induced sleep disorder.

Stimulants can make it harder to fall asleep and result in insomnia or increased sleep latency. Your body and mind have difficulty relaxing and entering into restful sleep. On the other hand, while depressants can make it easier to fall asleep, you may find that you wake periodically during the night and do not feel as rested in the morning. You are not getting quality sleep or experiencing regular REM cycles, which are the deep sleep your body needs. As a result, you may be overly tired during the day but then still have trouble falling asleep at night.

Sleep disorders can put you at higher risk for relapse because they can be frustrating and stressful. It is hard to relax and feel energized the next day when you are tossing and turning all night or waking frequently. Addiction recovery can help to alleviate some sleep disorders, but it can take time for your body to return to more normal circadian rhythms and overcome the impact of substance abuse.

Activities such as meditation, exercise, progressive muscle relaxation and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can all support more restful sleep. Setting a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine, and creating a dark, cool environment to sleep in can also help. If you are having trouble sleeping because of substance use, contact Above It All Treatment Center to find out how we can help you rest easier.

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