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Sleeping into Recovery: The Importance of Good Rest

The Importance of Good Sleep in Early Recovery

Early recovery is a crucial time for individuals in the process of overcoming addiction. It is a time of transition and change, as individuals work to rebuild their lives and establish new routines.

One area where this is particularly important is in sleep. Disruptive sleep patterns can have a significant impact on physical and mental wellbeing, as well as impulsivity, decision-making, focus, and stress.

In this article, we will explore the importance of good sleep in early recovery, the benefits of a good night’s rest, and how to adjust beliefs around rest to create a sustainable nighttime routine that will promote well-being.

Disruptive Sleep Patterns in Early Recovery

In the early stages of addiction recovery, many individuals experience sleep disturbances. This can include difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, and feeling tired during the day.

These disruptions are often caused by changes in brain chemistry and the physical toll of drug or alcohol withdrawal. Lack of sleep can also lead to irritability, decreased motivation, and impaired cognitive function, increasing the risk of relapse.

Due to these potential risks, it is crucial for individuals in early recovery to establish healthy sleep habits. Experts recommend at least eight hours of sleep per night as a foundation for good health.

However, achieving a full night’s sleep can require adjusting one’s beliefs about rest.

Adjusting Beliefs About Rest

Adjusting one’s beliefs about rest requires recognizing and correcting unhealthy habits around sleep. Often, individuals struggling with addiction have developed patterns of staying awake for long periods, such as using drugs, alcohol, or other stimulants.

Adjusting these patterns takes time. As one transitions from substance use to sober life, there is a period where the body and brain are trying to recalibrate.

It calls for a gentle approach and certain considerations that may help improve sleep quality.

Benefits of Good Sleep

Good sleep has a plethora of benefits, but here are some more commonly discussed in the literature:

1. Decision-making: A night of good sleep helps restore brain function, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive function including decision-making.

This restoration helps with better decision-making processes, and long-term planning, as well. 2.

Focus: Studies have shown that good sleep helps improve focus and concentration. By revising the sleep routine, with time, one can start to overcome the impact of a lack of sleep and start to develop attention skills.

3. Stress relief: Adequate sleep helps relieve stress by reducing cortisol levels.

When the body has the right amount of sleep, it’s better geared to handle tensions and stress that come along with everyday life.

Creating a Sustainable Nighttime Routine

A sustainable nighttime routine is a vital practice for anyone, but it’s even more critical for individuals in the early stages of addiction recovery. The goal is to create a routine that supports restful sleep, which in turn promotes overall well-being.

Here are some guidance and tips for creating a sustainable nighttime routine:

Importance of a Nightly Routine

Establishing, then maintaining a nightly routine helps to regulate your internal clock. In doing so, the body can anticipate when it is time to sleep and wake up.

With routine sleep time and wake time, one can minimize sleep disturbance.

Guidance for Sleeping Better

Early in the recovery process, it is essential to set specific sleep goals and strive to meet the target nightly. Developing a consistent sleep schedule and keeping it consistent through the weekend is important, too.

Additionally, healthy practices, such as exercising throughout the day, avoiding caffeine intake late in the day, or creating a comfortable sleep environment, can be helpful in providing a conducive atmosphere necessary for quality sleep.

Tips for a Nightly Routine

Creating an appropriate wind-down routine to end one’s day is helpful. The wind-down routine encompasses activities, such as offline reading and focusing on calming activities such as meditation or journaling and can be done as early as several hours before bedtime.

It would help if you also stayed away from the blue light emitted by electronic devices like smartphones and laptops before bedtime to avoid disruptions in sleep patterns. Lastly, avoid electronics that emit noise about bedtime, such as TV, music, or radio before bedtime, as they can disturb sleep.


In conclusion, good sleep practices are an important cornerstone of recovery from addiction. It can be challenging to adjust sleep patterns initially, but with time and effort, it becomes a routine and a habit.

Understanding the benefits of adequate sleep and creating a sustainable nighttime routine is crucial for anyone, both in and out of recovery. By taking the time to establish healthy sleep patterns, one can improve their physical, cognitive, and emotional health.

Ultimately worth the effort!.

Reframing Beliefs About Rest

Sleep is a critical component of maintaining good health. However, in early recovery, many individuals may have developed unhealthy sleep patterns that need to be addressed.

There are several steps one can take to reframe beliefs around rest and develop healthy nighttime routines.

Changing Unhealthy Habits

To change unhealthy habits, one must recognize what causes them. There are several reasons as to why someone may struggle with sleep; these could range from anxiety, depression, alcohol, or drug abuse.

The following are a few steps one can take in addressing unhealthy sleep habits:

1. Consistency in sleep patterns: Set a sleep schedule with the same expected wake-up and sleep time, even on weekends.

Ensure those schedules fit within the desired sleeping hours. 2.

Making the physical environment conducive to sleep: A comfortable sleeping environment is essential, here are some things to consider: have a good mattress, pillows, blankets, and temperature regulation. 3.

Avoiding meals and liquids before bedtime: Eating too close to bedtime or heavy late-night meals can cause sleeplessness. Please don’t drink caffeine, alcohol and limit liquids to reduce the need for bathroom trips during sleep time.

Alternative Ways of Rest and Relaxation

Traditional methods of relaxation like reading a book, meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness still have a place in good sleep hygiene. However, there are alternative ways of rest and relaxation that may help:


Phone calls- A casual phone call with someone or loved ones, a friend, or a sponsor can help a person relax. 2.

Meditative singing bowls- Gentle singing bowls emit sounds that evoke a sense of relaxation, reduce stress, and anxiety. 3.

Temperature regulation- Taking a warm bath or shower to raise the body temperature and then lowering it by entering an air-conditioned room will elicit relaxation and also promote sleep.

Structuring a Nighttime Routine

Developing a structured nighttime routine is crucial in helping to create healthy sleep habits. Here are some essential steps in designing a nighttime routine:

Reflecting on Sleep Habits

Establishing a sleep routine requires reflection and mindfulness. The following are the factors worth considering when reflecting on ones sleep habits:


Sleep hours- Consider the number of hours of sleep that leaves one feeling best. 2.

Factors preventing sleep- Reflect and identify any factors interfering with one’s ability to sleep adequately. 3.

Desired bedtime activities- Consider activities that may prepare one for sleep; this could be reading a book, meditating, or relaxing through music. 4.

Desired feelings before bed and upon waking- Consider the desired feelings one hopes to have before sleeping and upon waking.

Setting Sleep Goals

After reflecting on sleep habits, it’s crucial to set achievable goals towards better sleep quality. Here are some tips to follow:


Timeframe- Set goals within realistic timeframes. 2.

Attainable goals- Set realistic goals that one can achieve with ease. 3.

Journaling- Track sleep patterns and reflect, noting progress towards set goals.

August Sleep Challenge

Setting up a sleep challenge is another creative way to improve sleep quality. Here are a few ideas on designing an August sleep challenge:


Set a bedtime goal- Determine what time one hopes to sleep daily, then aim to stick to it. 2.

Detachment from technology- Establish technology-free hours, say an hour before bedtime. 3.

Journaling- Take time to record experiences, sleep quality metrics, and observe the progression of sleep changes. In conclusion, developing healthy sleep habits takes time, commitment, and discipline, but the rewards are worth the effort.

By reframing beliefs around rest, exploring alternative relaxation techniques, and structuring a nighttime routine, individuals can work towards achieving better sleep quality and ultimately support their overall wellness and recovery journey. In conclusion, good sleep habits are essential for anyone, but particularly in the early stages of recovery from addiction.

Achieving healthy sleep routines involves adjusting beliefs about rest, setting sleep goals, and structuring a nighttime routine. By taking these steps and observing alternative ways of rest and relaxation, individuals can improve their physical, cognitive and emotional well-being.

For more information, please consult the FAQs below.



What causes sleep disturbances in early recovery? Ans: Sleep disturbances in early recovery may be caused by changes in brain chemistry and the physical toll of drug or alcohol withdrawal.

2. Can alternative methods of rest and relaxation help improve sleep quality?

Ans: Yes, alternative methods such as phone calls, meditative singing bowls, and temperature regulation can be helpful in improving sleep quality. 3.

What is the significance of developing a consistent sleep schedule? Ans: Consistent sleep schedules help regulate internal clocks and minimize sleep disturbance.

4. How can journaling help improve sleep quality?

Ans: Journaling helps track sleep patterns and progress towards achieving set sleep goals.

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