To effectively recover from substance abuse or a co-occurring mental health disorder, you must address various problem areas in your life. Contrary to what you may believe, all of these problem areas – including physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional – are intertwined. Therefore, making changes in any of these areas will produce a ripple effect for all aspects of your health. Your sleep hygiene is one factor that will undoubtedly affect your ability to improve problem areas in your life. Fortunately, the professionals at 12 South Recovery can help you better identify how to strengthen your sleep hygiene in recovery.
Understanding Sleep Hygiene
According to an article titled “Sleep Hygiene” from the Sleep Foundation, “Good sleep hygiene is all about putting yourself in the best position to sleep well each and every night.” While there are objective factors that improve sleep hygiene for everyone, such as getting enough sleep, there are also subjective factors that contribute to sleep hygiene that vary from person to person. For example, some people just cannot sleep with socks on. A great majority of others need the whistle or gentle breeze created by a fan to sleep soundly.
The Invaluable Role of Sleep Hygiene for Healing
There is no question that sleep hygiene plays an essential role in well-being. However, good sleep hygiene is also central to establishing sobriety and maintaining recovery.
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion highlights several health benefits of proper sleep hygiene. These benefits can be reframed to fit your needs in recovery. They include sleep’s ability to:
- Strengthen your immune system: In turn, you will be physically and mentally stronger and get sick less often.
- Lower your risk for serious health problems: Malnutrition and other ailments caused by substance use must be addressed in recovery. In addition to strengthening your immune system, proper sleep can allow the body to fight off infections and diseases more effectively.
- Reduce stress: Sleep is a daily opportunity for your body to relax and rejuvenate, better preparing you for whatever stressors surface the following day. As stress can be especially prevalent in addiction recovery, proper sleep hygiene can proactively fight it.
- Improve your mood: Lacking proper sleep hygiene can contribute to feelings of irritability, aggravation, and rage, which may already be prevalent in early recovery. On the other hand, strong sleep hygiene can improve feelings of well-being and reduce distressing emotions.
- Allow you to think more clearly: Brain fog and cloudy thoughts are common symptoms of withdrawal. Ensuring that you get proper sleep can moderate these symptoms and allow you to make more sound decisions in recovery.
The benefits mentioned here only scratch the surface of the necessity of proper sleep hygiene in recovery.
How to Strengthen Sleep Hygiene in Addiction Recovery
Sleeping problems are common among those in recovery. If you struggle with insomnia, including falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping soundly, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to strengthen your sleep hygiene in addiction recovery. First and foremost, ensure that you are getting enough sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults ages 18 and older get no less than seven hours of sleep every night.
In addition, here are some ways you can strengthen your sleep hygiene in recovery:
Personalize Your Sleep Environment
As mentioned earlier, there are both objective and subjective ways that you can strengthen your sleep hygiene. Objective examples include ensuring that your sleep environment is:
- Dark: If moonlight shines through your windows or you are woken up by the sunlight in the morning, consider purchasing drapes or curtains.
- Cool: Warm environments can interrupt sleep.
- Quiet: White-noise machines and fans can help drown out sounds that may otherwise interrupt sleep.
Determining subjective ways to improve sleep quality will depend on an individual’s unique needs. Oftentimes, this consists of trial and error to identify what works and what doesn’t.
Limit Screen Time During the Day and Before Bed
Another way to improve your sleep hygiene is by limiting your screen time, not only before bed but also during the day. Your activity on social media correlates with how much information you are consuming each day. As social media and news feeds tend to become stressful, you could end up lying awake at night ruminating about the media you consumed during the day. Therefore, by limiting screen time, you can allow your mind to flow creatively into your dreams as you lie down to go to sleep.
Limiting screen time before bed can also be beneficial, as it prevents overstimulation that would otherwise keep you awake at night.
Create a Bedtime Routine
One of the most notable ways to improve sleep hygiene is by creating a bedtime routine and following it. For example, try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day. This allows your body to develop its own trusted circadian rhythm, allowing natural melatonin cycles to inform sleepiness and wakefulness.
Participate in a Treatment Program
Participating in a treatment program, like one of the outpatient programs offered by 12 South Recovery, is another way to improve sleep hygiene. Working with treatment professionals can help you address the root causes of your substance abuse or mental health concerns that may be keeping you up at night. Additionally, by utilizing holistic therapies offered by 12 South Recovery, you can incorporate mindfulness strategies into your bedtime routine to promote better sleep in recovery.
Proper sleep hygiene is a necessary part of lasting sobriety from substance abuse and recovery from mental health disorders. Although the health benefits of sleep hygiene are well-known, you may struggle to strengthen your sleep hygiene in recovery. You can work on your sleep hygiene by personalizing your sleep environment, limiting screen time, and creating a bedtime routine. Moreover, you can utilize a treatment program provided by 12 South Recovery to incorporate mindfulness strategies into your sleep schedule. At 12 South, we provide individualized and whole-person treatment to foster lasting wellness and healing for individuals seeking recovery from addiction and mental health disorders. To learn more, call us today at (888) 830-8374.