Seven Strategies to Get Good Sleep During Withdrawal

Young beautiful smiling african woman sitting on bed and stretching

Are you struggling to get a good night’s sleep? Unfortunately, one of the most common and challenging parts of going through withdrawal is sleep disturbance. However, there’s good news—most people only experience temporary withdrawal insomnia. 

Understanding withdrawals and their impact on sleep

At Tikvah Lake, we understand withdrawal can be one of the most challenging phases of recovery as the body readjusts to functioning without substances. These symptoms can range from physical discomforts like sweating, shaking, and nausea to psychological challenges such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. 

Sleep disturbances during withdrawal are widespread, as many substances affect the brain’s neurotransmitter systems. When you detox during withdrawal, the brain needs to learn how to adapt to a “new normal”. Unfortunately, this often leads to a disruption of sleep patterns, making restful sleep hard to come by and exacerbating other withdrawal symptoms. It can start to feel like a never-ending cycle. 

How Tikvah Lake can help

The specialized team at our luxury Florida treatment center takes an integrated approach to treating sleep disorders due to withdrawal.

By blending various evidence-based treatments, medication management, and holistic wellness programs, we adopt a ‘whole’ person comprehensive recovery strategy.

The Tikvah Lake clinical team of therapists, counselors, addiction specialists, health and wellness coaches, and personal trainers have decades of knowledge and experience in diagnosing and treating various addiction and mental health issues, including sleep disorders during withdrawal.

Our treatment programs include the following:

To learn more about our programs, contact our team today for further support and information.

Strategies for improving sleep during withdrawal

For good sleep, the more disciplined you are, the quicker your withdrawal insomnia will disappear. At Tikvah Lake, we help our clients get better sleep during withdrawal with the following practices:

1. Establish a healthy bedtime routine

Woman listening to an audio book

Creating a consistent bedtime routine signals to your body that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. Calming activities like reading a book, journaling, listening to soothing music, or taking a warm bath can significantly improve your ability to relax.

Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation or listening to a sleep meditation can also help alleviate physical tension and mental stress, making it easier to fall asleep. The key is consistency. By performing these relaxing activities around the same time each night, you strengthen your body’s sleep-wake cycle.

2. Create the perfect sleep-inducing environment

Your sleeping environment plays a crucial role in how well you sleep. Make your bedroom a sanctuary for rest by keeping it clean, cool, quiet, and dark. Cozy bedding and quality pillows can make a big difference in comfort.

You might consider using blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out light, while noise can be managed with earplugs or a white noise machine. If possible, keep your phone out of the bedroom and reserve this space for sleep only. This helps reinforce the mental association between your bedroom and rest.

3. Healthy nutrition and hydration

The happy family taking an apples on the table

The right diet and hydration levels significantly impact sleep quality. Thinking about an evening espresso? It might not be a good idea in the late afternoon and evening as caffeine and sugar can stimulate your nervous system and make it harder to fall asleep.

If you do need a light snack before bed, skip the sugar and focus on foods that promote sleep, such as those containing tryptophan, magnesium, or calcium. Of course, staying hydrated throughout the day is important, but try to limit fluid intake before bedtime to minimize nighttime trips to the bathroom.

4. Physical activity and outdoor time

Studies show regular physical activity improves sleep quality and eases withdrawal symptoms. Timing is key here as a challenging workout too close to bedtime can be stimulating, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Aim for moderate exercise and try to finish any intense workouts at least a few hours before bed.

Additionally, exercising outside in natural sunlight, especially first thing in the morning, can help regulate your body’s circadian rhythms, improving your sleep cycle.

5. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques

group of people meditating at yoga studio

Many people experiencing withdrawal insomnia find that mindfulness and relaxation techniques can significantly help manage anxiety and restlessness. Practices such as guided meditation, gentle yoga, or simple breathing exercises calm the mind and body, making it easier to transition into sleep.

Many free and paid meditation apps offer guided sessions designed to promote sleep, which can be a helpful resource for those new to these mindfulness practices.

6. Professional support and medication

For some, the sleep disturbances caused by withdrawal can be severe and may require professional intervention. Consult with your doctor about access to treatments, including medication management or therapy, to address any underlying issues contributing to sleep problems.

It’s important to note that using any medication as part of a broader treatment plan needs to be managed safely and effectively without creating new dependencies.

7. Natural approaches to encourage sleep 

woman drinking tea at home surrounded with house plants

Adopting natural strategies to improve sleep can be a gentle yet effective way to address insomnia. Starting your nighttime routine with a warm cup of soothing, herbal (caffeine-free) tea is a comforting ritual that signals sleepytime to your body. Exploring three effective herbal sleep aids might offer further relief. 

  • Melatonin, a hormone that regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle, can be taken as a supplement to establish a more consistent sleep schedule.
  • Valerian root, known for its soothing properties, has been recognized in some studies as a potentially effective treatment for insomnia. 
  • L-theanine, a stress-reducing and relaxation-promoting amino acid found in tea, offers another alternative for improving sleep quality.

Before starting any herbal remedies, please consult with a healthcare provider. Even natural supplements can interact with other medications or substances. 

Addiction recovery at Tikvah Lake

Implementing these withdrawal strategies requires patience and persistence, as improvements in sleep may take time. However, by addressing sleep disturbances as part of a holistic approach to recovery, individuals can significantly improve their insomnia, achieve restful sleep and continue on the path to recovery.

At Tikvah Lake, we understand getting a good night’s sleep during withdrawals is a challenge, but with the right strategies and support, you’ll be on your way to dreamland in no time. If you’re ready to start a new life, contact us today.

Additional resources:

  1. Research Snapshot: Better Sleep Eases Opioid Withdrawal and Cuts Drug Craving, National Institute of Health, February 2024
  2. Treating Sleep Problems of People in Recovery From Substance Use Disorders, SAMHSA 2014
  3. How to Sleep During Heroin Withdrawal, I Am Sober, January 2024

About Adam Nesenoff

Adam Nesenoff has been working in recovery for over ten years.

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