In the throes of your addiction, sleep was probably the least of your concerns. But now that you are sober, it’s important that you relearn healthy life skills — sleep included. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, poor sleep significantly increases one’s risk for relapse. So, if you’re new to recovery and spend your nights tossing and turning, it is imperative that you start practicing better sleep hygiene. Below are some easy tips that you can start applying today.
Establish a Sleep Schedule: If your bedtime is constantly fluctuating, your body will have difficulty going into rest mode. To help regulate your body clock, aim to go to sleep and wake up at around the same time. This will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night.
Avoid Taking Naps: While you may need to take a quick power nap to get through the day, you should avoid making napping a regular occurrence. Regular napping, naps lasting longer than 20 minutes, or naps after 3 PM should be avoided, as each of these conditions make it more difficult for you to fall asleep at night.
Try Acupuncture: Much like stress, anxiety can also impact sleep quality. Acupuncture not only helps to reduce anxiety, but also increases the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps maintain the body’s sleep/wake cycle.
Reduce Your Exposure to Light: About one to two hours before going to bed, start reducing your exposure to light. This will give your mind and body enough time to wind down. Refrain from watching TV or browsing on your phone as the lights can inhibit melatonin production, causing your brain to stay in wake mode.
Exercise Regularly: Stress is often a factor behind poor sleep. Exercising as little as 20 to 30 minutes a day, three times a week helps to lower stress hormone levels. And because working out exerts energy, you will feel tired and ready to rest at the end of the day.
Keep a Sleep Diary: If you are struggling with sleep, it may help to keep a journal of when you fall asleep and wake up as well as your activities in between. Reviewing this can help you identify what is preventing you from getting the rest you need.
Turn Your Bedroom into an Oasis: What your bedroom looks like can significantly impact your ability to fall asleep. So, it is important that when you enter your room, you feel relaxed. Be sure that your room is clutter free, a comfortable temperature, and that your curtain blocks all light. Having soothing, light wall colors can also help you feel at ease.
Getting enough sleep is not only key to your recovery but to your overall health. So, don’t wait. Start applying these better sleep tips today and start catching some Zzzzs.