Blog: The Healthiest Way to a Healthy You
by PaisleyH

How Sleep Impacts Addiction Issues

You may not realize that poor sleep has also been shown in some cases to put a person at risk of substance abuse, or, in the case of persons in recovery, to relapse.

Date:   5/23/2022 7:30:59 PM   ( 40 d ) ... viewed 10 times

Good sleep is a two-way street. Most people by now have heard that research points undoubtedly to alcohol and drug abuse causing impaired sleep and even insomnia. However, you may not realize that poor sleep has also been shown in some cases to put a person at risk of substance abuse, or, in the case of persons in recovery, to relapse.

Sleep Quality and Addiction Risks

When it comes to substances like alcohol and sleep, your lack of quality sleep may be making you prone to addictive behaviors that actually lead to an overall less healthy sleep experience. Drugs and alcohol may be used unwittingly to relax the mind, body, and emotions with the intention of going to sleep, however, research points to these substances actually causing greater difficulty falling asleep and achieving deeper levels of restorative sleep.

If you are struggling to achieve quality sleep, you may be making yourself susceptible to forming addictive habits. Sleep deprivation reduces the number of dopamine receptors which can lead to higher levels of impulsivity, which in turn puts you at greater risk for risky behavior such as drug and alcohol use.

Insomnia is a form of chronic sleep deprivation that can especially make you prone to using substances to try to control your wakeing and sleeping cycle. Stimulant drugs may be used during the day by insomniacs, while substances that perceivably relax you may be used to try to induce restful states at normal times for sleeping. Neither of these solutions truly tackles the often complex problem of insomnia and can unfortunately lead to dependency and possibly addiction to harmful substances.

Dependence on substances to regulate your waking a sleeping cycles can be very dangerous to your health. Drugs and alcohol not only carry adverse side-effects in the body, they also ultimately disturb the quality and length of your sleep. If you are experiencing sleep disturbances, it is important to look for healthy solutions to your problem. If stress is a root cause of your lack of sleep, seeking the help of a trusted friend or counselor to help you remove, reduce, or reframe the stress in your life is essential. Chronic pain and other health conditions that keep the body in a less than restful state can also cause poor sleep. Overprescription of pain medications that can be surprisingly addictive has caused an epidemic of addiction across class and age barriers in the United States. This has changed the stereotype of a typical addict tremendously, since it affects an astonishingly wide variety of people within the general population.

The Importance of Sleep in Recovery

If you or someone you know is in recovery from addiction, special care should be taken to ensure you, or this individual, are attaining adequate amounts of quality sleep every night. Studies point to recovery being compromised notably by lack of sufficient sleep. Ensuring you are receiving adequate sleep in recovery situations is therefore critical. You can improve your sleep during recovery using a variety of techniques such as exposure to light, exercise, and maintaining a healthy diet. Use of meditation and breathing techniques that naturally induce brainwave states that promote healthy sleep are also useful tools to explore when trying to restore a healthy well-regulated sleep cycle.

On the positive side, an increasing number of doctors and sleep centers specializing in helping people to restore quality sleep in their lives is available to you as a resource. Sleeping well on the regular is an essential component to happiness for every human being. Before using substances in any way that affects your waking and sleeping, always reach out for assistance and commit to healthy and self-empowering solutions to your problems.

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