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Overcoming Insomnia In Recovery

by Jeffrey Juergens ❘  

Life Without A Sleep Aid

If you are in recovery for a sleeping pill addiction, you may be struggling with the transition to life without a sleeping aid. These substances quickly become both physically and psychologically addictive and the effects of withdrawal can be grueling.

In 2013, nearly 9 million Americans regularly used sleeping pills to help them sleep. 

Getting treatment for your addiction to sleeping pills is the first step towards a healthy life and this is certainly a decision worth celebrating. Treatment can help reprogram your natural sleep habits and lead to more energy and improved concentration.

However, you may be dealing with some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as rebound insomnia, and this can be challenging to overcome in recovery.

It’s important to know that there are so many healthy, safe and productive things you can do throughout the day to help curb any persisting insomnia at night — and it all starts with changing your lifestyle.

Kick those sleeping pills to the curb for good and try these 5 healthy ways to combat sleeplessness without the use of any drugs:

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Work Out In The Mornings

woman running

While exercising at night has typically been recognized as a way to tire yourself out and help you sleep, a recent study from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle showed that working out in the morning actually makes for a better sleep.

The study found that exercising in the morning sets an individual’s body clock for a day of activity and a night of sleep – whereas exercising at night could actually push back the sleep-wake cycle and make it harder to fall asleep. By working out in the morning, you are not only improving your overall health and wellness, but you are setting yourself up for a night of peaceful sleep.

No Caffeine After Noon


It probably comes as no surprise to you that if you’re struggling with insomnia, limiting your caffeine intake during the day should be a priority.

While that afternoon coffee may make your body feel less groggy, it’s not actually making your brain any less tired.

Dr. Charles Pollak weighed in on this issue for NY magazine: 

We routinely ask patients who are insomniacs to discontinue the use of caffeine, or reduce it to a cup or two in the morning. And no caffeine after noon.

- Dr. Charles Pollak, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at the New York Weill-Cornell Medical Centers

Consuming caffeine in the afternoon makes it harder to sleep at night and you need more coffee the next morning to feel awake, causing a vicious cycle that is hard to get out of. Instead, limit your caffeine intake to the morning and stop sipping no later than noon.

Take a warm bath and use aromatherapy oils or candles

woman at spa

One of the best ways to relax your mind and body is through a warm bath.

A way to make it even more soothing is by adding aromatherapy oils, scented candles or Epsom salts to your routine. Specific scents to help you fall asleep include lavender, chamomile, bergamot, jasmine, rose and sandalwood.

These can help with de-stressing the body and restoring essential nutrients, as well as improving your quality of sleep.

Journal before bed


If you find your mind running a million miles a minute at night, this is a great sign that you should try to journal before bedtime.

Journaling is a productive way to get your thoughts out and it will allow you to have some peace of mind before hitting the pillow. If you faced any temptations or triggers throughout the day, this is a great way to get them out in a safe space.

Also, jot down any little victories you may have overcome throughout your day to stay optimistic and determined on your path to recovery.

Make your bedroom dark, cool and comfy

The environment in which you sleep is incredibly important but often neglected. A study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that wearing a cooling cap helped insomniacs sleep almost as well as people without sleeping problems.

Studies from the Center for Chronobiology in Switzerland show that a drop in your core temperature triggers your body’s desire to sleep.

This suggests that sleeping in a cool room can dramatically improve insomnia.

Getting a good sleep at night will significantly improve your quality of life, especially when this no longer requires a pill or supplement. Start changing your lifestyle today and sleep better tonight.

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