Substance use takes its toll on our bodies in so many ways. But one of the things that impact us as much mentally as it does physically is sleep dysfunction. From the absolutely frustrating and mentally taxing insomnia to being unable to wake up for anything or anyone, and everything in between. Sleep dysfunction can challenge our last threads of sanity. But why is sleep so important in healing?
The Value of a Good Night’s Sleep
We inherently know the difference between a good night’s sleep and insomnia or tossing and turning or waking up all night. The first allows us to wake up feeling refreshed and with plenty of energy to face our day, the second can be anything from infuriating to disabling.
However, a good night’s sleep is also crucial in our brain function and can impact our emotional well-being. Getting enough sleep is crucial to our ability to remember and to learn new things, as well as make good decisions. Sleep determines whether we are alert and able to function throughout the day, and also whether we remain alert and safe while at work or driving or whatever we are doing. If sleep is so important in our day-to-day life, imagine how much more important it is as we attempt to heal from our substance use.
Allowing Our Bodies to Heal
While we are sleeping, our physical selves are healing and repairing important parts of our bodies, such as our heart and vascular system. Our immune system relies on getting enough sleep, as do our hormones. These are important to everyone, but their importance drastically increases when we are healing from substance use.
Sleep is an important healing tool following substance use. It can help prevent mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. It can help our bodies to regulate our endocrine system to stabilize our hormone production, also impacting our mental health, among other things. Rest is very important as we try to reboot our bodies and our minds following substance use.
Substance Use and the Circadian Rhythm
Our circadian rhythm is our own internal 24-hour clock that tells us when we should be resting and when we should be alert. There is a double-edged relationship between substance use and our circadian rhythm. An interruption in our circadian rhythm can actually fuel greater and more intense substance use, while substance use can interrupt our circadian rhythm.
Because our own circadian rhythm may be impacted by our substance use, the importance of regular sleep is increasingly important to restoring our own 24-hour clock. This can be difficult, as substance use is notorious for causing sleep dysfunction. However, by focusing on regular bedtimes, avoiding things such as caffeine and screentime ahead of trying to sleep, exercising early in the day, etc., we can help our body to re-establish our own circadian rhythm.
The Correlation Between Sleep and Relapse
A lack of sleep, poor sleep, and other sleep disturbances can directly correlate to a relapse of substance use. While sleep disturbances are a common side effect of withdrawal from substance use, some people struggle more with sleeping than others. This continued stressor on our physical and mental health is more commonly associated with those who relapse in their substance use.
Additionally, when we are able to sleep well, our minds and bodies heal more quickly. When we can get good sleep, it not only helps our brains to heal, but it also gives us more cognitive function to be able to cope with cravings and other obstacles that come up within our recovery.
Being Vigilant with Our Sleep
Particularly as our rehabilitation is still new, and maybe causing sleep disturbances, it is crucial that we are vigilant with our sleep habits. Having a consistent time that we lie down to sleep, doing relaxing activities ahead of our bedtime, and avoiding distractions during the hours we wish to sleep is crucial to developing a sleep protocol.
Investing in that sleep protocol and doing everything in our power to facilitate sleep demonstrates the importance we place on achieving sleep. Our body may offer challenges that are out of our control and prevent good sleep, but with regular routines and investing our efforts, the sleep will return and we can heal.
Healing Our Minds and Bodies
The healing we seek from our substance use is not simply physical, it is also mental and spiritual. Sleep offers healing to all aspects of our beings. We need sleep to replenish our bodies and prepare for more activity. We need sleep to allow our minds to refresh and prepare to take in new information and allow us to function better. Our spirits need rest in order to cleanse and renew and prepare for new emotions and experiences.
Sleep is a key ingredient in our healing process and is also key to preventing relapse. As we place significant value on it and follow that with our best efforts, we can restore normal sleep and heal from our substance use.
Why is sleep so important in healing? Sleep holds the keys to restoring and replenishing our mental, physical, and emotional health. Discover for yourself why sleep is so important at AToN Center by calling (888) 535-1516 today. We can help you learn the healing importance that sleep has in your recovery. You can find peaceful sleep again.