10 Reasons You Need Good Sleep In Recovery
But when you’re in recovery, sleep takes on even more importance. Here’s a look at 10 reasons you need to be well-rested during recovery:
- Sleep Boosts Memory
If you find yourself struggling to remember even simple lists or actions you’ve recently taken — such as what you ate yesterday or whether you remembered to turn off the garden hose — insufficient sleep could be a culprit. In recovery, getting enough sleep is necessary to help repair the areas of the brain that involve memory.While sleep is just one component of a healthy lifestyle, you can’t hope to make significant improvement if you consistently try to get by without enough rest. Aim for 8 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
- Sleep Helps Curb Inflammation
Inflammation is a serious problem in many individuals trying to recover from drug and alcohol addiction, especially if they also have other medical problems that might have been neglected and left untreated during the course of active addiction. Inflammation happens when C-reactive proteins run amok in the body, affecting areas such as the liver, heart, brain and other organs.Heart disease, stroke, arthritis, premature aging and diabetes are all linked to inflammation. Adequate amounts of sleep can help curb those destructive inflammatory proteins while helping your body heal. Because inflammation also causes pain, getting better sleep contributes that much more to your well-being.
- Sleep Improves Stamina and Reduces Fatigue
When you’re running on empty, whether you’re attempting to sprint or complete a work or school project that demands concentration, you aren’t going to make it very far. Just as nutrition helps fuel the body and gasoline propels a vehicle, sleep helps give your body stamina.You also need sleep to have the energy to keep going throughout the day. Sleep reduces the feeling of fatigue you might otherwise experience during a grueling or protracted activity — mental or physical.
- Sleep Boosts Creativity
Finding solutions to recurring problems or figuring out how to approach something that’s just come up in recovery demands a certain amount of creativity. But many in recovery, especially those new to the process, don’t have a great deal of creativity at the moment. They’re still deep in the healing process, finding themselves confused and vulnerable, often unable to think clearly, much less be creative in problem-solving.Sleep’s one of the best ways to reignite the creative process and jumpstart the brain into being more proactive in everyday living. It helps you to think clearly on your feet — a vital skill in maintaining sobriety.
- Sleep Helps With Attentiveness
When a job or project requires attention, not having slept well the night before can cause performance failures and mistakes. For people in recovery, the stakes of these mistakes are often high.On the other hand, getting a good night’s sleep can counter the possibilities of not being able to pay proper attention to the task at hand. Proper rest gives your brain the fuel it needs when it counts.
- Sleep Lowers Stress Levels
Life is filled with stress, tensions, triggers and unexpected challenges. No wonder it’s difficult to get through some days, especially in early recovery when everything you’re trying to adjust to life without the crutch of your drug of choice.When stress mounts, in addition to meditation, exercise and eating right, getting the proper amount of sleep can lower your levels of stress. Proper rest helps you to manage effectively the stressors you’ll inevitably face in recovery.
- Sleep Helps You Maintain a Healthy Weight
Recovering individuals might have problems with their weight. Whether they’re too thin as a result of drug or alcohol addiction, or overweight or obese because of disordered eating coupled with substance abuse, or suffering from loss of muscle mass, achieving a healthy weight might seem like an insurmountable challenge.But by getting good sleep, you’re assisting your body in the recovery process. When you’re well rested, it’s easier to maintain your exercise regimen, eat healthier and adopt a more life-affirming pattern of behavior.
- Sleep Helps You Overcome Depression
With your body and mind still reeling from the effects of overcoming addiction, you might find yourself feeling depressed or anxious at times. And when you get depressed, even if it only lasts a short while, you aren’t very motivated to take on the work you need to do to strengthen your recovery.Recovery experts agree that a good night’s sleep helps promote emotional stability. In those moments when maintaining sobriety proves challenging, being well-rested can empower you to pull through.
- Sleep Speeds Reaction Time
Think of trying to move in mud. How sluggish do you feel? How difficult is it to make any headway? That’s what your reaction time is like when you don’t get enough sleep.Whether you’re driving to work, using power tools or attempting to steer your child away from potential harm, if lack of sleep impairs your reaction time, there could be unfortunate consequences. The answer is simple: Get a good night’s sleep consistently.
- Sleep Improves Judgment
You make judgment calls every day. Whether you’re determining what time to wake up, what you’ll eat for lunch or how to best approach a work project, you need to be able to make the right decisions quickly.Try doing that when you’re sleep-deprived, and you’ll encounter problems. While getting better sleep isn’t the only step you can take to improve your judgment, it’s all but impossible to strengthen your decision-making skills without a good night’s rest.
By Suzanne Kane