Sleep has a direct impact on both mental and physical health. It is essential for us to function, and allows our body and mind to recharge. Without sleep, we can not function properly, which may exacerbate other negative habits or struggles with physical and mental illnesses.
A good night’s sleep can make a significant difference for those recovering from addiction and substance use disorder (SUD). Without feeling recharged each morning, it’s difficult to find the motivation to work towards recovery. The Ohana Addiction Treatment Center focuses on providing a holistic approach to recovery. That means treating the whole person. If sleep has always been a struggle for you, certain practices can help you improve unhealthy sleeping patterns. With The Ohana, we can start you on a path to better sleep, recovery, and overall improved wellness.
What Benefits Do We Experience From Sleep?
Depending on our age, a certain amount of sleep is ideal for maintaining optimum health. The body can not survive or function properly without sleep, and there are several benefits from getting a full night’s sleep. Some of those benefits include:
An improved immune system, which helps us fight colds or the flu and prevent other illnesses
Weight loss or the prevention of weight gain
Strengthened cardiovascular system
Reduced stress and improved mood, productivity, and memory
Preventing serious health problems such as heart disease or diabetes
These are just some of the basic health benefits we experience from sleep. How much sleep do we need though to achieve these benefits? That varies for people depending on your age group. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night to function effectively. However, in addition to quantity, quality is also essential. You can get seven hours of sleep, but if it’s not good-quality sleep, then it won’t be as beneficial.
Recognizing Poor-Quality Sleep
A key indicator of poor sleep quality is when you frequently wake up feeling tired or groggy. You will find that it takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, that you are waking up periodically throughout the night and struggling to fall back asleep. You will begin to experience physical symptoms like weight gain, and dark circles under your eyes. People also notice mental effects when their quality of sleep is poor. They will feel more stressed, agitated, angry, and emotionally drained.
Determining if your quality of sleep is poor can be fairly easy. The main challenge is figuring out why you aren’t sleeping well. Some of us simply have poor sleeping habits. Other causes are a little more out of our control. For example, stress and anxiety lead to poor quality of sleep, and if untreated, may result in the development of insomnia or an array of other sleep disorders.
What Are Sleep Disorders?
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) defines sleep disorders as “conditions that disturb your normal sleep patterns,” claiming that there are over 80 diagnosable sleeping disorders. A few common disorders they mention are:
Insomnia is categorized as the inability to fall and stay asleep.
Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that causes people to stop breathing for at least 10 seconds while sleeping.
Circadian rhythm disorders cause problems with the body's natural sleep-wake cycle, preventing you from falling asleep and waking up at the proper times.
Sleep disorders can be the result of other physical and mental disorders, medications, genetics, or other contributing factors like alcohol or caffeine consumption. Consult your doctor or a medical professional if unhealthy sleeping patterns are affecting your ability to function.
Sleep and Substance Use Disorder
Since sleep affects mental and physical well-being, your quality of sleep can either help or harm your recovery. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) discusses the connection between sleep and substance use disorders, indicating that substance use can “disrupt sleep-regulatory symptoms in the brain.” This affects how long it takes to fall asleep, how long you sleep, and the quality of sleep. Recovery and abstaining from substance use can significantly improve your sleeping patterns.
Some people may develop SUD because of a sleep disorder in an attempt to self-medicate. That includes self-medicating to fall asleep or using stimulants to remain awake during the day in an attempt to function. In either scenario, these relationships between sleep disorders and SUD exacerbate each other’s symptoms.
The Importance of Sleep on Recovery
Unfortunately, sleep can become disrupted in the early months of recovery due to the effects of detox and withdrawal. To manage irregular sleeping patterns, it’s important to create a safe, comfortable space designated solely for sleep. Avoiding late naps and caffeine, and maintaining a daily schedule will help to improve these sleeping patterns as well. Initially, sleeping patterns may seem more disturbed. However, drugs and alcohol severely interfered with the ability to have a restful sleep. Developing healthier sleeping habits is essential, as the inability to rest will lead to poorer health and potential relapse.
The path to recovery requires many life-changing decisions. Through holistic and mindfulness-based practices, you can start your recovery adventure, enhance your quality of sleep, and improve your overall well-being. To improve your quality of sleep and seek holistic treatment for SUD, reach out to The Ohana today.