Last Updated on September 19, 2018 by Keisha Mclean-Green
After an exhausting day, few things are worse than lying in bed wide awake or waking in a cold sweat because some unwelcome monster of the night invaded your dream space. Is there a connection between substance addiction and sleep disorders like insomnia and nightmares? The answer might surprise you.
Insomnia is the inability to sleep. Prolonged insomnia can cause anxiety and depression. Sleeplessness has many causes, the most common of which include:
- Underlying psychiatric or medical conditions
- Unhealthy sleep habits
- Specific substances
- Biological factors
Nightmares are dreams that occur during REM sleep and cause feelings of anxiety, distress, fear, or strong terror. Most people wake from a nightmare feeling distraught. Sometimes a person doesn’t wake from a bad dream without external assistance. Problems like snoring can also effect your sleep, get a zyppah mouthpiece to help you stop snoring.
Substance Abuse and Sleep Disorders
Over-the-counter and prescription medications can cause sleep problems. The severity of this side effect varies from person to person. In like manner, drugs and alcohol can also contribute to bouts of insomnia and nightmares.
Alcohol can induce sleep, but the quality of sleep is drastically less compared to normal sleep patterns. People who sleep after drinking tend to wake more as the effects of the alcohol they consumed wear off. According to WebMD, alcohol also prevents the deep and REM sleep needed to feel rested.
Substance abuse of both drugs and alcohol can trigger insomnia and nightmares or night terrors. Substances that alter or disrupt the brain’s normal functions can deny users of sound sleep. For some, their slumbering woes begin as a plague of light sleep void of needed deep or REM sleep. The longer the body is deprived of good sleep, the more at-risk it is to insomnia, nightmares, and night terrors.
A Good Night’s Sleep in Recovery
Individuals in recovery often have a hard time achieving a good night’s rest, but there’s good news for the future. Sleep disorders like insomnia and nightmares can slowly dissipate over time as a former addict gets and stays cleans.
Sleep is a matter of routine. The better your sleep habits, the better your sleep. Ending substance abuse and breaking away from addiction promotes a healthier sleep routine. Detoxing the body by eliminating drugs and alcohol contributes to enabling the brain and body to rest well.
Strategies for Good Sleep
The remedy for substance-induced insomnia and nightmares is simple—stop using. Ditch the drugs and axe the alcohol. But beating insomnia can also take strategic steps. The negative impact hard substances have can make getting a good night’s sleep a constant battle, even after you’ve changed your lifestyle.
Keep a sleep diary. Record your sleep habits and outcomes. Not only will keeping a diary give you a positive activity to focus on, but it also provides a detailed log your health care professional can review. Together, you can pinpoint the best plan for regaining your ability to have a good night’s rest. Staying clean and sober may not remedy your restless nights, but it is most certainly a step in the right direction.