One healthy night’s sleep can have individuals feeling restored, refreshed, and re-energized, helping them be more productive and make sound decisions. Sleep is not only good for people and their bodies; it is necessary for their primary functions and even contributes to a strong immune system. Like eating or drinking water, sleep is an essential function the body needs to remain healthy.
Adults require around seven to nine hours of sleep each night for the brain to function properly. Stress from the day, mental illness, work schedules, and alcohol or drug use can impact one’s ability to get a full night’s sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation can put a toll on the body and the mind, and it is important that this issue be addressed.
What Happens if We Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
Even after just one night of restless sleep, individuals may notice how much the lack of sleep weighs on their brains. Individuals may become more irritable, yawn more frequently, and be unable to pay attention after a poor night’s sleep. While excessive daytime sleepiness is the main symptom of chronic sleep deprivation, other symptoms may impair the body’s ability to process, heal, and send signals.
Some short term effects of sleep deprivation include:
- Slowed thinking
- Difficulty paying attention
- Poor memory
- Risky decision making
- Lack of energy
- Mood swings
Some long term effects of sleep deprivation include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Poor immune system
- Mental health disorders
Chronic sleep deprivation has also been linked to a greater risk of death and lower quality of life. If an individual wishes to recover from a viral or bacterial illness, getting adequate rest will allow the body the opportunity to address itself and heal.
Lack of Sleep Due to Substance Use
Mental health disorders can be caused by chronic sleep deprivation, and previously existing mental health disorder symptoms can be worsened as well. Most mental health disorders, including substance use disorder, have a relationship with disturbed sleep.
Insomnia is a common symptom of substance abuse and withdrawal. Each substance interacts with the body and its sleep cycle in unique ways. Many individuals claim consuming alcohol helps them fall asleep, but drinking before bed will cause daytime sleepiness and wakeful sleep. Stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine will cause insomnia, especially when individuals continue to use the drug, staying up for days in a row. Opioids like heroin will cause sleepiness but also dangerously inhibit breathing while asleep.
How to Develop Better Sleep Habits
Adopting sleep habits that will help the body go to sleep and stay asleep will allow the body and mind to operate best in their waking state. Since not receiving an adequate amount of sleep at night can lead to serious health defects, adults may wish to adopt these habits into their nightly routine in order to live long, healthy lives.
Below are some healthy sleep habits one can adopt in the evening to ensure a good night’s rest:
- Keep a cool, dark sleeping area. Ensuring that no light and minimal heat is in one’s bedroom can help create a relaxing environment.
- Go to bed at the same time every night. Setting this schedule for one’s body will allow it to expect sleep and begin relaxing at the same time every day.
- Invest in your bedding. Spending a little extra money on pillows, sheets, and a comforter will ensure a comfortable sleeping environment and help individuals fall asleep quicker.
- Abstain from certain foods and drink a few hours before bed. Eating sugar or drinking caffeine or alcohol will make it more difficult to fall asleep and may lead to restless nights.
- Exercise during the day. Expending energy during the day will allow the body to settle once it is time for bed.
Importance of Sleep in Recovery
As mentioned above, the body needs to receive adequate rest when recovering from an illness, prolonged exercise, substance use disorder (SUD), or even long car rides. During sleep, the body has time to rest and repair while the brain processes memories, get rid of unnecessary information, and organizes thoughts and memories into the corresponding areas.
Healthy sleep will promote healing and positive thinking while individuals recover from SUD. Especially in the early stages of recovery, when the body is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, rest will allow for a better, more forward-thinking, wakeful state.
How Much Is Too Much Sleep?
While not getting enough sleep prevents the body from healing, processing, and remaining healthy, there is the potential for too much sleep. If someone is sleeping more than 9 hours every night and still feeling tired during the day, it may be beneficial to speak with a doctor. A doctor may ask about their quality of sleep, and if they wake up multiple times in the night. Environmental factors like a bright, too warm, or noisy bedroom could cause poor sleep throughout the night.
Mental health disorders such as depression could also cause an individual to sleep more than the recommended amount of hours. That is why it is crucial to speak with a specialist to begin living in a more energized state of mind.
Sleep is a significant factor for almost every organism on this earth. Like eating or drinking water, sleep is a necessary function that allows individuals to heal, think positively, and maintain a healthy mind. If you or a loved one are not receiving enough sleep or are sleeping too much, it is essential you reach out to a specialist to uncover what is causing this complication. Substance use has a complex relationship with disturbed sleep. Some substances may cause insomnia, while others can cause excessive daytime drowsiness. Healing Pines Recovery is a residential addiction treatment center in Elizabeth, Colorado, that provides high-quality, individualized care to our small group of clients. Our small group, boutique-style treatment will allow our professionals to provide more resources and treatment to each client. Call Healing Pines Recovery today to begin your life in recovery and repair your sleep at (888) 855-9561.