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Taking It Easy - Trouble Sleeping in Early Sobriety

  • anonymous Asks ...

    I am a month sober and I am still having trouble sleeping and when I do fall asleep I have these exhausting and unsettling dreams that leave me feeling very unrested and disturbed. What can I do to get better sleep without taking a drink or without taking a drug?

  • Jill Edwards Says ...
    Jill Edwards

    I am delighted to congratulate you on getting through the first month, in spite of not having the sleep you would like.I appreciate what it is like not to be able to sleep when I want to. There are no magic wands here but the overall changes you make to your life-style will help in time.

    The nervous system has become used to the sedating effects of alcohol, and is still bouncing around trying to find a new settling point. The sleep you had previously was more like anaesthetic than healthy sleep, so there are all sorts of patterns which are once again trying to find a natural rhythm.

    The first thing is to try to relax a little about not sleeping. Let the adjustments take place in their own time. Find some good books, listen to the radio, make cups of tea and get a snack if you feel hungry. Not sleeping is a problem many people have for different reasons. It is not just about not drinking.

    You can use some herbal remedies like valerian, chamomile and hops if you are feeling agitated. Just a chamomile with two teabags can be helpful.

    Eat a good balance of protein and carbohydrate food so your stomach begins to feel settled and your digestion improves.

    Get plenty of exercise. Physical tiredness is a great help when you are wanting to relax.

    Keep regular hours. Do not sleep during the day if you have had a bad night.

    Find someone you trust to talk to. The dreams may be the result of some disturbing events in your life. It is a little early to really deal with any serious issues but a sympathetic ear doesn't usually do any harm. When you go to sleep try to read something pleasant, interesting or different.

    Allow time to work, if you keep sober the changes will happen naturally. If you have friends who are in a similar position, share your experiences of your recovery. If you talk to others they will tell you how their sleep patterns have improved over time.

    My best wishes

    Jill Edwards

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