When most people take their first sip of alcohol, it’s hard to believe that it can spiral out of control enough to the point that it leads to full-blown alcoholism. This typically happens when a person is unhappy with themselves or dealing with some type of trama. For example, if an individual is bipolar or depressed, they’re more likely to turn to alcohol as a means of coping. After doing this on a daily basis for long enough, they can become a full-blown alcoholic.
One of the hardest parts when recovering from an addiction to alcohol is sleeping. Most alcoholics, and even regular individuals, tend to drink themselves to sleep quite often. In some cases, even when they do wake up in the middle of the night, they’ll continue drinking more until they pass out again.
This all works because drinking makes us drowsy due to the fact that alcohol is depressant. The problem that alcoholics have is that they use drinking as a crutch for sleeping. They may drink every night before bed for months or even years at times. This means that when they attempt to stop drinking, they’re unable to sleep for days on end. This can take a toll on their mental health, making it even harder to recover from alcohol abuse.
This is all due to our bodies natural sleep rhythms. Drinking alcohol before bed has been shown to cause slow-wave sleep patterns known as delta activities. It can also interrupt your circadian rhythm, which is why alcoholics tend to wake up several times in the middle of the night as they begin to sober up.
Another reason that alcoholics tend to have poor rest at night is because drinking blocks REM sleep. This is considered the most restorative type of sleep and causes you to wake up feeling well-rested. When you don’t get enough REM sleep, you’re much more likely to wake up groggy, unfocused, and sluggish. If that’s not bad enough, alcohol can also cause your entire body to relax, leading to snoring and sleep apnea, furthering the sleeping problems. The amount of alcohol consumed before bed can also lead to frequent bathroom breaks during the night as well.
Although most alcoholics don’t realize it at the time, they’re never truly getting a good night’s sleep.
Fortunately, when an alcoholic does decide to go to treatment, all these things are taken into consideration. Sleep is extremely important for mental health and recovery, so it’s often the first step taken to treating alcoholism.
In severe cases, sleeping pills or muscle relaxers may be given to the patient to help them fall asleep. At first, sleep will be difficult. This is why it’s important to exercise and follow the treatment plan your doctor has given you. This may include journaling, going outside for a walk, attending in-patient therapy, or more. At night, these mental activities will help to put your mind at ease, while the physical activities will help your body to feel tired.
While sleep can be hard the first couple of days, when you are able to sleep it will be a much deeper, more restful sleep. This is because your body is finally getting the REM sleep it’s been craving all this time. In fact, once the alcohol is cut out of your life, it’s not uncommon to sleep for long periods of time while your body gets use to the new changes. This will all adjust to a normal sleep cycle over time.
If you’re still finding that you’re having trouble sleeping, there are also certain pills that can be prescribed to you to help with sleep and addiction. For example, the drug Gabapentin is commonly used with alcoholics because it helps with anxiety disorders and may make it easier for the users to stop drinking while on it. The pill has a sedative effect, so it can be taken at bedtime to help get a restful nights sleep.
After you stop drinking, it can take up to a week for your sleep to return to normal. If you’re still having problems after that, it’s best to talk to your doctor about what your treatment options are. The goal is to get you off of sleeping pills altogether, but they can be an extremely helpful step in the beginning as your body begins to adjust to the lack of alcohol. Call us at 833-846-5669.