It is no secret that quality sleep is essential for overall health and wellbeing, but many people don’t know that getting adequate sleep can also positively influence addiction recovery. Evidence and scientific research suggest that good sleep hygiene can improve the likelihood of successful addiction treatment and help prevent relapse. There’s growing evidence that adequate quality sleep may be one of the most important factors in achieving and maintaining sobriety.
How Is Sleep Quality Measured?
Most people know that getting good sleep is vital for overall health, but sleep quality is just as important as quantity. Sleep experts measure sleep quality by looking at specific characteristics that affect how well we rest. Four of the most common sleep quality measurements include:
- Sleep duration. Most experts agree adults should get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night. However, the amount of sleep you need can vary depending on several factors, including your age, lifestyle, and overall health.
- Sleep efficiency indicates how much time you spend asleep compared to how much time you spend in bed. Experts believe that quality sleepers have a 90% or higher sleep efficiency rate. In other words, you should sleep for 9 out of every 10 hours in bed.
- Sleep latency. The amount of time it takes you to fall asleep may seem minor, but sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep) can be a crucial indicator of quality sleep. It is normal to fall asleep 20 to 30 minutes after bed. Many factors, such as stress, sleep deprivation, and medication, can affect sleep latency, but regularly needing over 30 minutes to fall asleep can indicate insomnia or other sleep disorders. To calculate sleep latency, simply divide the total time awake in bed by the number of times awake.
- Sleep waking and wakefulness. Sleep waking measures how often you wake up during the night. Waking up once or not at all typically indicates good sleep quality. Lying in bed, trying to sleep, but feeling wide awake is called wakefulness after sleep onset (WASO). WASO can significantly impact sleep quality, preventing you from falling asleep and leading to restless sleep.
Together, these four factors can help you assess the quality of your sleep. Improving any of these aspects can help you wake up feeling more energized. But energy isn’t the only benefit of good quality sleep.
Benefits of Good Quality Sleep
Good sleep quality is vital for physical health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life. Physically, quality sleep is essential for repairing the body and restoring energy levels. Mentally, sleep helps to consolidate memories and process emotions. Emotionally, sleep can help improve mood and reduce stress levels. In short, sleep is crucial for maintaining both physical and mental health. Other benefits of quality rest include:
- Improved immune system
- Stronger heart
- Better mood
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Increased productivity
- Improved memory
- Better cognitive functioning and problem-solving skills
- Improved interpersonal relationships
- Lower risk of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease
- Less risk of injuries caused by drowsiness
Quality sleep can also help benefit the addiction recovery process.
How Can Quality Sleep Help Improve Addiction Recovery?
A study from Penn State revealed that quality sleep is, in fact, a key component of successful addiction recovery. During the study, researchers found that adequate sleep increased positive emotions and lessened drug cravings of 68 patients recovering from opioid dependence.
In addition to that, getting adequate amounts of quality sleep can:
- Help the body repair and heal, which is vital during early addiction recovery when energy levels are often low. Every single day, our bodies are bombarded with stressors. From environmental pollutants to emotional stress, our bodies are constantly working to repair and protect us. Sleep is one of the most important things we can do to help our bodies heal and repair. During sleep, our bodies rest and rejuvenate, giving them the energy they need to protect us during the day. Our immune system is especially active during sleep, working to repair any damage that has been done during the day. In addition, sleep helps to reduce inflammation and promote tissue growth.
- Reduce stress and anxiety, two of the most common triggers of relapse. When you sleep, your body produces essential hormones like cortisol and melatonin. Cortisol helps to regulate your stress response, while melatonin helps to promote relaxation. If you don’t get enough sleep, or if your sleep is interrupted frequently, it can disrupt the production of these hormones, causing you to feel more stressed and anxious.
- Improve focus and concentration levels, making sticking to a treatment plan easier. When you’re well-rested, your brain can better process information and make decisions. In contrast, when you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more likely to have trouble focusing. Not being able to focus can stop you from learning healthy coping skills, impeding recovery.
- Regulate and balance mood. Sleep helps stabilize mood by regulating the release of hormones like cortisol and serotonin. These hormones play a vital role in maintaining emotional balance. When these hormones are out of sync, you might feel anxious, depressed, or simply not yourself. Feeling this way can inhibit the recovery process.
- Clear the mind, so it’s solely focused on cravings for drugs and alcohol. During sleep, the brain has an opportunity to rest and clear away any debris that has accumulated during the day. This process is essential for maintaining focus and preventing information overload. The more focused you are on your recovery, the more likely you will sustain long-term recovery.
- Improve decision-making ability and willpower, which are essential for maintaining recovery. Sleep helps regulate the hormones that control hunger and satiety, so getting enough sleep can help you resist temptation and make healthier choices. Making healthier, more productive choices is vital for long-term addiction recovery.
Start Getting Better Sleep To Boost Your Recovery Journey
If you’re struggling with addiction, don’t despair. There is hope, and quality sleep may be one of the most essential tools in your recovery arsenal. All you need to do is make a few lifestyle changes.
Establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it. Create a comfortable sleep environment in your bedroom. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. Get enough exercise during the day. All of these changes can benefit the quality of your sleep and help you achieve and maintain long-term sobriety.
Contact us today to speak to one of our recovery experts to learn more.
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