man in bed, eyes wide open, clock showing 3:30 (presumably a.m.). The picture is broken up on a white background- "fractured"Sleep problems are quite common in early recovery, and typical complaints include: difficulty falling asleep; difficulty staying asleep; frequent awakenings (‘fractured’ sleep); and vivid unpleasant dreams.

Good sleep patterns are an antidote for depression, and research shows that better sleep directly improves your mood. It takes a bit of practice but is definitely worth the effort. Some suggestions from recent articles on the value of CBT-I in treating insomnia:

  • Prepare the environment by turning off the TV/ computer, and by making sure the room is quiet and dark.
  • Commit to a regular time for bed and for waking up. Stick close to this schedule.
  • Try to restrict time in bed to time scheduled for sleep. Relax in a chair or in another room, rather than in bed. The idea is to condition yourself to using the bed for its real purpose.
  • Finish meals at least 3 hours before going to bed. Avoid caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, soda) during that time period. Avoid taking naps after dinner.
  • Avoid smoking for 3 hours prior to bedtime.
  • Get regular exercise, but not less than 4 hours before bedtime.
  • Unless otherwise indicated, take prescribed medications several hours before bed.
  • If you find yourself laying in bed for 15 minutes or more, unable to sleep, get up and go to another room for a short while before returning to bed.
  • If you need a bedtime snack, try peanut butter or warm milk.
  • If you are worrying, distract yourself with a relaxation exercise or other calming technique. There are no problems that can be effectively solved during sleep time, anyway. You can go back to worrying about things in the morning.
  • A hot bath before bed can help prepare you for sleep.

Try not to spend a lot of time in bed other than when you’re sleeping or having sex. That helps condition your brain to a healthy sleep-wake cycle. You’ll sleep better and feel less tired when you awake.

If you believe you may have a sleep disorder, consult a physician for appropriate testing.


2 Comments »

[…] Addiction's physiological effects linger into early recovery and can make sleep issues a real problem- and a relapse trap. Some helpful tips for better sleep.  […]

Pingback by Sleep Better in Early Recovery | RecoverySI | L... — December 30, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

Good advice….forgive me for just correcting the grammar….it is one of my pet peeves. People do not “lay” in bed…they lay something down.. People and animals “lie” in bed.

Also suggest learning to meditate….it helps slow down automatic thinking while producing delta brain waves that induce sleep.

Comment by Joyce Goodale — December 30, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

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