Good Sleep Can Add Years to Your Life and Boost Your Sobriety

Posted by | Treatment Programs, Wellness | April 02, 2015

Getting enough sleep is an essential part to emotional, psychological, and physical health. In fact, a common question that mental health professionals ask their clients is whether or not they are getting enough sleep. Because without it, experiences such as depression and anxiety can become exacerbated.

Insomnia is known to have significant effects on one’s ability. Fatigue can lead to an inability to concentrate or perform well at work. Lack of sleep can affect an individual’s memory, focus, efficiency, and effectiveness. Typically, insomnia is either the result of something simple, like drinking too much caffeine during the day or having too many responsibilities, or it’s a symptom of a larger problem. It could be a sign or an indication of a medical disorder or a psychological illness, such as depression or anxiety. Of course, sometimes insomnia is related to drug use and addiction. For those who continue to experience insomnia after addiction treatment, there may be other contributing factors to not being able to sleep.

Regardless of what’s causing it, common symptoms of insomnia include:

–Exhausting sleep
–Difficulty falling asleep despite being tired
–Waking up frequently during the night
–Trouble getting back to sleep when awakened
–Difficulty concentrating during the day
–Daytime drowsiness, fatigue, or irritability
–Waking up too early in the morning
–Impairments later in the day

If you’re experiencing an impaired alertness throughout the day because of lack of sleep, there are a few things to ask yourself:

–Are you under a lot of stress?
–Are you depressed or feel emotionally flat or hopeless?
–Do you struggle with chronic feelings of anxiety or worry?
–Have you recently gone through a traumatic experience?
–Are you taking any medications that might be affecting your sleep?
–Do you have any health problems that may be interfering with sleep?
–Is your sleep environment quiet and comfortable?
–Are you spending enough time in sunlight during the day and in darkness at night?
–Do you try to go to bed and get up around the same time every day?

These are beginning questions to begin to reveal what might be contributing to a lack of sleep. If you already know what’s causing the insomnia, you might talk to a doctor, therapist, or psychologist for ways to address it.

You might also try some techniques for relaxation. For instance, one way to relax the mind is through meditation. There are many forms of meditation and you might need to find the method that is best for you. You can also use guided imagery which takes you to various imagined peaceful places or you can meditate using a point of focus. Both can have healing and relaxing effects. Finally, deep breathing can be an essential tool, particularly right in those moments when you’re lying in bed and you cannot get the thoughts to stop.

Another method is to take the natural supplement melatonin. Melatonin can facilitate the ability to sleep and stay asleep longer. Because melatonin is a natural hormone created by the pineal gland, it’s a safe way to encourage the body to sleep when it needs to. The  pineal gland is located in the middle of the brain. It is inactive during the day, but when night approaches, it begins to produce melatonin, which is released into the blood stream. Taking melatonin can boost your body’s ability to sleep. However, like with all supplements, check with your doctor before taking it, especially because there might be some interferences with drugs you’re currently taking.

Although insomnia is a difficult challenge, there are ways to get around it. Talk to your therapist, doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist for more information.

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