To beat any addiction, I highly recommend you work with a medical team who not only will help you with medication assisted therapy but will also diagnose your sleep disturbance and help you fix this problem. Early diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders will help in decreasing the rates of relapse. For example, young men who have less than 6 hours of sleep a night will have a testosterone level lower than men 10-15 years older than them! A lack of sleep will age you 10 years in one year. Low testosterone causes depression, fatigue, cardiac disease and a decrease in muscle mass.
The results from research studies show a very high prevalence of sleep disturbances among people with substance abuse or dependence, with almost all of the people reporting impaired sleep quality. It is not uncommon for people in early recovery from addiction to experience sleep issues. You may toss and turn, being unable to fall asleep at night due to racing thoughts. One tip I teach my addiction patients when they get serious about beating the addiction is to make sleep an "issue" and make a vow to stay away from alcohol and marijuana. Why? Because they are the root cause of sleep disturbance! "Alcohol" is detrimental to sleep. Alcohol BLOCKS dream (REM) sleep cycles.
Alcohol causes "fragments" in the sleep cycle and you wake up many times during the night. During these awakenings you are not "aware" you are awake as the brain tries to go back into the stages of sleep and in the morning, you wake up feeling terrible. What happens to you when REM dream sleep is blocked is you lose control of your mental and emotional health.
Marijuana suppresses REM sleep as well. It may make you fall asleep quicker but the problem is that it actually blocks the REM and shuts it down.
Why are REM-cycles critical for anyone with an Addiction? Because REM-cycles provide a restorative function for both the brain and body. The only time the brain repairs is while you are in the deep stages of sleep, REM. You have to repair the brain while you sleep and if you are drinking alcohol or (coffee) or using marijuana 6 hours before bed you BLOCK REM cycles and no brain repair happens. It takes the liver a very long time (8 hours to clear these toxins out of the blood). If that isn't bad enough you are emotionally unstable, tired and physically your health declines. Over time, REM sleep deprivation can make you paranoid, anxious, depressed, unable to learn, and distracted.
When people don’t get enough sleep, their health risks rise. Symptoms of depression, seizures, high blood pressure and migraines worsen. Immunity is compromised, increasing the likelihood of illness and infection. Sleep also plays a role in metabolism: Even one night of missed sleep can create a pre-diabetic state in an otherwise healthy person.
Some strategies you can do to make your sleep better is to make your bedroom cold, don't go to bed after a meal but don't go to bed hungry either, make your room DARK, and have your last cup of coffee before noon. Make sure you have time to sleep for a minimum of 8 to 9 hours for the best health possible! If you continue to operate without enough sleep, you may see failed Addiction RECOVERY and long-term serious health problems. Some of the most serious potential problems associated with chronic sleep deprivation are high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke.
If you would like to learn more about prevention and wellness to recover from chronic disease that may hinder your ability to fight your addiction or substance abuse disorder please check out some of the educational information at Dr. Carly Willeford's Ministry Website. Click Here
Dr. Carly Willeford
1 in 25 adults has a serious mental illness in a given year. That adds up to 10.4 million people, or 4.2% of U.S. adults 18 or older.