Total wellness that encompasses the mind, body, spirit connection is crucial to permanent recovery, but you can’t achieve it if you aren’t caring for each aspect of your being. Quality sleep can help strengthen that connection, and if you aren’t getting enough of it, your recovery is at stake. When you aren’t getting restful, restorative sleep, it’s challenging to feel present, focused and in control of your emotions.
These tips will help you get better sleep and boost your recovery:
1. Use a white noise machine.
A white noise machine produces a low-level noise that acts as a buffer for the sounds around you. Quiet humming, ocean waves, rain and other nature sounds minimize disturbances from your neighborhood, construction, barking dogs or the TV in the next room. A sound machine or white noise app blocks out distractions and lulls you to sleep.
2. Try not to take naps.
Napping disrupts your sleep cycle, but if you absolutely must take one, keep it short. A nap that is 20 minutes or fewer will let you wake up feeling revitalized and refreshed instead of groggy, and it won’t make it difficult to fall asleep later.
Try to nap during earlier in the day, so you don’t disrupt your sleep cycle. The earlier in the day you nap, the less impact it will have on your ability to fall asleep later. Naps after 5:00 pm will do more harm than good.
3. Be consistent.
Stick to a sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on weekends. This helps regulate the body’s internal clock and can help you fall asleep and stay asleep all night long. A sleeping schedule is standard in residential treatment programs, and it’s a good habit to maintain throughout the entire continuum of care.
Any physical activity during the day is better than none at all. Exercise can help you sleep better, but you shouldn’t do it within 4 hours of bedtime. 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise keeps your body temperature elevated for approximately 4 hours. When it starts to cool down, the brain releases sleep-inducing melatonin, and you begin to feel drowsy.
5. Have a bedtime ritual.
The body needs time to enter sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bedtime doing something relaxing that helps you wind down. Take a warm bath or spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity, like reading. Try not to engage in any activity that makes you feel anxious or stimulated, and steer clear of electronic devices. The blue light your phone and laptop emit makes it difficult to fall asleep because the light activates the brain.
6. Avoid heavy meals.
Eating a large meal before bed puts the digestive system to work, which can make it hard to sleep. Try not to eat large, heavy meals at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. If you’re hungry, have a light snack 30 minutes before bed, like a piece of fruit, nuts of caffeine-free tea.
7. Get out of bed.
If it’s been 20 minutes and you’re still tossing and turning, get out of bed and go into another room until you feel tired. Resist the temptation to look at your phone or turn on the TV. Instead, read a book or flip through a magazine in dim lighting. Your bed is a place to sleep, so getting out of it when you can’t fall asleep reinforces the association between your bed and a good night’s sleep.
At Guardian IOP, we understand the mind, body, spirit connection. Our holistic addiction recovery programs focus on strengthening that connection through a multitude of modalities, from improving sleep to evidence-based therapy. To learn more about how our treatment programs can help you or someone you care about, contact a Guardian IOP Treatment Advisor at 561.274.6133.