Good night! These 11 tips for blissful sleep in recovery will give you the rest and energy you need to get your life on track.
How did you sleep last night? Alcohol might have helped you fall asleep during your active addiction, but it prevents you from sleeping soundly all night. Now that you’re sober, you can take care of your body by improving your quality of sleep. An essential component of recovery, sleep reduces moodiness, tension and anger as it also helps you stand firm in resisting your drug of choice. As you navigate recovery, get a blissful night of sleep when you try 11 of my favorite sleep remedies.
I don’t recommend heavy workouts right before bed because they excite rather than relax your body. However, I do suggest you exercise vigorously each day because a tired body is more likely to fall asleep quickly. If you have to exercise before bed, choose calm and relaxing tai chi or yoga.
2. Cut Caffeine
By early afternoon, switch to decaf beverages. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, boosts your energy and alertness, and prevents you from falling asleep at night.
3. Limit Food
Your digestive system requires up to four hours to break down the food you eat. During that time, your body is not at complete rest. So, enjoy heavy meals early in the day, and limit food in the hours leading up to bedtime as you improve your ability to fall sleep.
Reading can help you relax, and that makes falling asleep easier. As a bonus, I recommend you read recovery material, such as the Big Book, so that you’re falling asleep with positive and helpful material on your mind.
5. Use Scents
Like the smell of alcohol may tempt you to drink, scents prompt you to fall asleep. Place sleep-inducing jasmine, lavender, and chamomile potpourri, incense or oil near your bed and enjoy blissful rest.
6. Ban Pets
Your pets keep you company during the day and improve your recovery efforts, but their restless and short sleep span makes them poor bed fellows. Give your pets their own beds so that you both can rest.
7. Turn Off Electronics
I know you need your laptop, tablet, or phone to distract yourself from using and to stay in touch with your recovery network. However, the lights on those devices stimulate your brain. To wind down completely, ban electronics during the hour or two leading up to bedtime.
8. Decrease Light
Like electronics stimulate your brain, night lights, street lights, and sunlight can keep you awake or wake you up overnight. Hang room-darkening blinds and curtains or privacy film to decrease the light in your room and improve your sleep.
9. Lower the Temperature
A bedroom that’s too hot or cold hinders your ability to sleep comfortably all night. Stop tossing, turning and wrestling with the blankets when you lower your bedroom’s temperature and keep your room slightly cool.
10. Reduce Noise
Hospital sounds interrupt sleeping patients and increase their heart rate. Likewise, barking dogs, a snoring roommate, and beeping car alarms disrupt your sleep. Use ear plugs, a white noise machine or soothing music to promote a full night of sleep.
11. Manage Stress
Because it increases anxiety and interferes with your sleep, stress management must be part of your daily recovery routine. I suggest you journal about your day and stressors. Just don’t journal close to bedtime because you might be too emotionally stimulated to sleep. Talk to your therapist and recovery group, too, as you find additional strategies that help you manage stress and improve sleep.
Which one of these 11 sleep remedies will you try tonight? They all help you achieve blissful sleep and wake up rested, rejuvenated and ready to tackle whatever your recovery journey brings your way.
Photo by: Alex Pearson (Flickr)