Dealing with Insomnia in Sobriety

Insomnia is common in recovering alcoholics and addicts, which can increase risk for relapse. Natural remedies and resources suggested to cure insomnia, including tryptophan, hypnosis, and meditation.

Dealing with Insomnia in Sobriety

Getting enough sleep is essential for recovering alcoholics and addicts, as insomnia and poor sleep can not only negatively affect your health but also can contribute to risk for relapse.    The slogan H.A.L.T. reminds us of four common risk factors to watch for daily.  “T” is last but not least!  Tired?  Now that you are sober, are you sleeping enough and getting a good night’s sleep?

Alcohol affected your sleep and the quality of it.  Whether you are in early sobriety or have long term recovery, research suggests that recovering alcoholics regardless of recovery time have a higher incidence of insomnia than the general population.   The studies also suggested that difficulty falling asleep is more of an issue in recovery than staying asleep.

The Caffeine Factor in Insomnia

When newly sober, some recovering alcoholics and addicts start drinking lots coffee even if they were never coffee drinkers in the past.  It is easy to justify the caffeine habit, which typically doesn’t end you up in jails or institutions, in contrast to the booze or other drugs you kicked.  But in early recovery, a healthy sleep cycle is often one of the last things to finally normalize.   When a sponsor hears from a newcomer that he/she is having trouble sleeping, the immediate reply is typically “how much coffee or soda are you drinking?” and “and how late in the day do you have your last cup?”  Experience dictates to rule out this common and significant factor first, as caffeine is a known culprit to disrupt sleep!       

The Depression Factor with Insomnia

Depression and insomnia often go hand in hand.  Until recently, professionals had assumed the link between depression and insomnia was that the depression caused the insomnia.  However, when they studied patients with both who were treated for the depression, they were surprised to find that depression relief did not result in insomnia relief.   Newer studies actually suggest that treating the insomnia will in turn likely help relieve the depression for those who suffer from both. 

Some research provides evidence that 55 to 60 percent of patients with depression who do not respond initially to antidepressant medication improve with the addition of tryptophan supplementation.  Tryptophan has been used not only for insomnia, but also in the treatment of depression either alone or in combination with antidepressants. 

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