30 million Americans use sleep medication. That’s a lot of people who have a hard time falling asleep. During treatment for recovery from a mental health or substance use disorder, sleep can be challenging. Living with new thoughts and feelings, dealing with physical symptoms of withdrawal, and general restlessness can all cause a difficulty falling asleep. Maladaptive behaviors before bedtime and throughout the day can make sleeping more difficult as well- like that 5pm coffee. Here are some best tips for getting to sleep without the use of a heavy sleeping medication. It’s important to note that using sleep medication during treatment is common and often encouraged. For many people, the medication quickly becomes unnecessary and causes more drowsiness the next day than it does quality sleep.
- Create a bedtime routine. Whatever it is that you incorporate into your routine, try to repeat it as often as possible. The timing and the parts of the routine itself will start to trigger your brain to get tired.
- Figure out how long you need to sleep. Some people do okay with a mere six hours of sleep. Others find they function optimally with 9 hours of sleep. Anywhere between 6-10 hours of sleep is normal and healthy. Plan your bedtime around the amount of sleep you need to get combined with what time you need to wake up.
- Make the hours for bed a time for peace. Avoid anything that’s going to cause you to get riled up. For example, any heavy emotional processing, arguments on the phone, or hyper conversation with a fellow resident is not calming. Additionally, late night coffee and sugary sweets will keep you awake.
- Give yourself at least an hour of freedom from your phone. The blue light behind the screen of your favorite digital devices was created to make you feel awake. Using it before bed can interfere with your body’s normal sleep cycles.
When You Can’t Sleep
- Change your environment in a bit. Walk around the house, read in a different room, or take a light stretch in the hallway. Getting out of your room will help you not feel stressed to fall asleep and you won’t associate sleeplessness with your bedroom.
- Try using lavender essential oils to calm yourself into sleep. Since lavender is such a sleepy supplement, it’s put into all kinds of sleeptime items like eye pillows, blankets, sprays and more.
- Eat or drink something warm that isn’t too heavy. Sometimes just a quick warm bite of leftover pasta, a warm glass of milk, or a cup of chamomile tea will do the trick to help your mind and body relax.
Avalon By The Sea has created a specialized holistic program of care for recovery from primary mental health disorders. Our beautiful estate is home to everything you need to heal in mind, body, and spirit. For a confidential assessment and more information on our residential treatment programs, call 1 (888) 958-7511 today.