How to Get Sleep During Opiate Withdrawal

man struggling to sleep during opiate withdrawal

How to Get Sleep During Opiate Withdrawal

The first stage of addiction recovery for any drug is usually detox. While necessary, detox is often accompanied by some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. An opioid detox in particular may involve nausea, muscle aches, stomach cramps, and insomnia.

Insomnia During Opiate Withdrawal

Along with the dreaded physical symptoms of opiate withdrawal are some less than enjoyable side effects. For many people in an opiate addiction treatment program, this includes insomnia.

Lack of sleep during opiate withdrawal is common. Many people going through withdrawal also report low-quality sleep, drowsiness during the day, and problems staying asleep.1 Your body is likely struggling to adjust to a normal sleep rhythm again. Opioid abuse can interfere with the sleep cycle, including decreased REM sleep and changes in the time spent in other sleep stages.1 Not only does opioid abuse lead to changes in the sleep cycle, but many people on drugs do not follow healthy sleep habits. When they go through recovery, they are changing their normal routine; it can take a long time for their body and mind to adjust. For some people, this may mean months of sleep disturbances through inpatient and outpatient programs that gradually get better with time.

Be a Tourist

Even If you live in Chicago, you may not have checked all the big tourist spots off of your list or it may have been several years since your last visit. Take the time to be a tourist again in your own city. Take a new photo in front of the Bean, watch the show at Buckingham Fountain, poke your head in the Chicago cultural center, take an architecture or mobster tour, explore one of the many museums, overlook the city in the Skydeck, or just get lost in downtown. There is so much to do in the Windy City that does not involve drinking and that you may not be taking full advantage of.

Tips for How to Sleep While Detoxing Off Opiates

Because sleep is important for everything from immune system support to help with learning and memory,2 insomnia can be taxing on a person’s body and mind. Especially for someone who had previously been pumping their body with toxic drugs or turning to these substances to help them cope with psychological problems, lack of sleep can make these problems worse. In order to make it through treatment and start to see progress in recovery, you need to learn how to sleep during opiate withdrawal.

Keep a Sleep Schedule

Many addicts keep strange sleep schedules such as staying up way too late and sleeping during the day. This unusual type of schedule can mess up a person’s circadian rhythm, the internal process that regulates sleep. When in recovery, it is important to reset your internal clock with a more regular sleep schedule. This includes waking up and going to bed at the same time on the weekend or days when you do not need to get up for work.

Have a Pre-Sleep Routine

Although you may be starting to go to bed at more regular hours, your body may have a hard time adjusting to this new schedule. To help yourself with the transition, you should keep a regular pre-sleep routine. Try to engage in some relaxing activities the hour or so before bed like taking a bath, reading out of bed, listening to calming music, drinking decaffeinated tea, or meditation. This signals to your body and mind that it is time for bed and makes falling asleep easier.

Attend Theater Shows

The Chicago Theatre is always showing new productions. Check out their schedule and catch a show. Go to a nice lunch or dinner beforehand and turn it into a whole day event.

Avoid Caffeine

While coffee may be the pick me up you think you need in the morning, it could be your downfall later in the day. Caffeine leads to a cycle of energy boosts and crashes that can disrupt your body’s adjustment to a new sleep schedule.

Do Not Nap

Because you are not getting enough sleep at night, it is tempting to want to nap during the day. While this may feel good in the moment, this is bad in the long run. Napping can interfere with your body’s circadian rhythm and delay your body’s adjustment back to a normal sleep schedule.

Practice Healthy Habits

Along with following a better sleep schedule, you will also want to practice a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can both help improve sleep quality as well. While exercising when you are feeling fatigued can be challenging, staying sedentary throughout the day can confuse your body. A diet high in sugar and junk food can also interfere with your energy levels and sleep.

See a Doctor

If none of the tips above are helping you sleep during opiate withdrawal, it may be a sign that there is a larger problem at hand. You, like many other people, could be suffering from a sleep disorder. Talk to a specialist about what you can do to manage your sleep problems.

While there is no magic cure for insomnia from opiate withdrawal, these tips could help you sleep better during the process and help you feel better overall. For those still looking for sobriety, our drug and alcohol rehab in Chicago can help you get sober and work through the many adjustments that come with addiction recovery for long-term success.

You should not have to go through recovery alone. To learn more about our programs at Banyan Chicago, call us now at 888-280-4763.

Sources & References:

  1. ASCP Journal - Sleep abnormalities associated with alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, and opiate use: a comprehensive review
  2. Harvard Medical School - Benefits of Sleep

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Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.