Insomnia is a sleep disorder that prevents a person from getting a good nightís rest. Depending on the severity and duration of condition, it can be classified as:
- Transient, lasts for less than 7 days
- Acute, its duration is between 7 and 30 days
- Chronic, insomnia persists for more than 30 days
Considering the significance of sleep and its impact on the mental functionality of an individual, it goes without saying that learning how to manage insomnia is highly necessary. This goes double for former addicts, as itís very important for them to be in peak mental and physical condition in order to deal with the newfound challenges of sobriety.
Dangerous Symptoms and Mental Associations
Tiredness, lack of energy and motivation, stress, irritability, anxiety, and other factors are prevalent for people who suffer from insomnia. Since all these symptoms could be associated with sobriety in the mind of the former alcoholic, the idea that itís just not worth the trouble will eventually cause him to relapse.
Moreover, one of the main explanations for the predominance of sleep disorders among recovering alcoholics stems from the abuse of sleeping aids. Most forms of alcohol are depressants and therefore, consuming them in high amounts eventually causes drowsiness and sleep. As the body becomes increasingly accustomed to the routine, it is no longer able to induce the same state on its own. Furthermore, the alcohol cravings Ė particularly during early sobriety Ė are also known to prevent recovering addicts from falling asleep.
Physical and Psychological Issues That Stem From Insomnia
The problems experienced by an insomniac aren’t just limited to a lack of energy and an overall negative outlook on life. As the organism is no longer able to recover during the night, the immune systemís efficacy drops, the blood pressure rises above dangerous levels, and the blood-sugar ratio begins to resemble that of a diabetic.
With regards to the mental effects, extended sleeplessness triggers an erratic behavior of the brain, which begins to display hallucinations. These are all symptoms that a recovering alcoholic should not have to bear on his shoulders, in addition to the hardships of the rehab program.
Fundamental Steps in Decreasing Insomnia
Well, I became familiar with the implications of sleep disorders because Iíve seen alcoholics experience this first hand during sobriety and let me tell you, insomnia is not easy to beat because the process involves reconsidering your entire routine.
For one thing, people suffering from insomnia had to give up a large part of their caffeine intake, which at this point was tremendous to deal with, due to the lack of energy. A cup of Joe in the morning and one during lunch is okay, but donít go for more.
Secondly, they stopped eating before bedtime because the extra stress digestion placed on their bodies was keeping them wide awake halfway through the night.
Sleeping during the day? Not a chance, everyone had things to do in the daytime and there were quite a handful of activities in the rehab center. Exercising is a great way to consume that extra energy, but itís also contraindicated before sleeping due to the rush.
Some of the recovering alcoholics managed to regulate their sleeping patterns and associated the bed with dozing off by removing all distractions in the room.
If you want to learn more about how other recovering alcoholics managed their sleeping problems, please check out our support forum.