How Long Does Insomnia Last After Quitting Alcohol?

According to a study published in Psychology, Health & Medicine, the average person loses more than one minute of sleep for every cigarette they smoke. Avoid the use of television, cell phones, computers, or e-readers in your bedroom. The blue light from these electronic devices can suppress the body’s sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and interfere alcoholic insomnia with your internal body clock. The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your room cool and using light-blocking curtains, shades, or blinds to keep your bedroom dark. Recovering alcoholics typically have more problems with sleep onset than with sleep maintenance. Verywell Mind’s content is for informational and educational purposes only.

sober insomnia

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the helpline is a private and convenient solution. This condition can be a huge obstacle for a person trying to maintain sobriety. Insomnia can cause irritability and interfere with normal functioning. Sleep problems can also cause depression, anxiety, and even hallucinations. It is usually recommended that melatonin dosage be stopped if one does not experience positive effects on the sleep-wake cycle after a week or two of use. The doctor would be in the best position to recommend an alternative in this case. Melatonin and alcohol death is quite rare, and even if it should occur, it would most likely be from underlying conditions or the sheer amount of ethanol taken.

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People dealing with alcohol withdrawal insomnia should avoid taking medications not prescribed by a physician. However, treatment specialists have found certain medications, such as acamprosate, useful in treating people battling insomnia during alcohol withdrawal.

sober insomnia

Many alcoholics and people in recovery from alcohol struggle with these sleepless nights regularly. Studies suggest avoiding nicotine and caffeine, as they are stimulants, at least four to six hours prior to going to sleep as they will make it more difficult to fall or stay asleep.

Behavioral And Relaxation Therapies

The most common symptom of alcohol withdrawal is gastrointestinal distress. This is typically the first symptom to appear, and it can also be the last to leave. As few as eight hours after the last drink of alcohol, patients might experience nausea as well as abdominal pain and cramping. During that extended period of time, however, those who do have PAWS can do things to help minimize the intensity of their symptoms so they are more manageable.

sober insomnia

The evidence to date suggests that subjective and objective sleep continuity variables are robust predictors of relapse during recovery from alcohol dependence. On the other hand, the relationship between relapse and sleep architecture variables remains to be fully elucidated. Targeting insomnia during recovery from alcohol dependence may thus improve treatment outcome for the alcoholic patient. There is a tremendous amount of scientific evidence that contributes exercise with better sleep. Implementing a regular exercise routine can help contribute to falling asleep faster, having more restful sleep, and waking up with increased energy. Physical exercise also helps you obtain more deep and restorative sleep, which can boost your body’s immune system, improve cardiac health, as well as decrease stress and anxiety. When you are physically active, you expend more energy, which will help you feel more tired and ready to rest at the end of each day, all of which make exercise a potent remedy for insomnia.

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To the greatest extent possible, remove everything that distracts you from sleep. This sounds obvious, but many of us do not have bedrooms that promote sleep. Alcohol abuse and co-occurring sleep disruptions are serious and should be treated as such. The sleep troubles continued – the side effects of which I am still trying to heal from. In the early weeks, you’re kind of damned if you and damned if you don’t where sleep is concerned. Another cause, as you may be dealing with now, is quitting alcohol.

  • It could prove very useful to target an individual’s sleep problems as one of the dimensions of treatment.
  • If this pattern repeats daily, a person is more likely to become dependent upon alcohol to fall asleep.
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  • Our sole focus is getting you back to the healthy, sober life you deserve, and we are ready and waiting to answer your questions or concerns 24/7.

Insomnia and other sleep disturbances are exceedingly common during early recovery from alcohol dependence and likely contribute to relapse in this population. When insomnia symptoms persist beyond four weeks and are accompanied by daytime impairments and/or psychological distress, adjunctive sleep treatments should be initiated. Both pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatments are available, but many are either inappropriate or have not been adequately tested in patients with a history of abuse.

The idea of attempting to sleep without alcohol can cause anxiety, which can lead to more drinking, perpetuating the cycle of alcohol abuse. Lack of sleep leads to both physical and mental health dangers. Every single part of your body is affected negatively when you don’t get quality sleep. Your skin can develop rashes and become dry, you may find it hard to focus, and your blood pressure can rise, leading to heart disease or stroke.


SAMHSA notes that each one of the methods listed above has been shown to be effective in treating insomnia for people living in recovery. However, those suffering from insomnia may need to combine many of these methods in order to achieve the desired amount of sleep. One of the issues we have to deal with in early recovery is insomnia. Lack of sleep is a trigger for relapse, so figuring out how to get a good night’s rest is important. David Susman, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist with experience providing treatment to individuals with mental illness and substance use concerns.

Jacobs GD, Pace-Schott E, Stickgold R, Otto MW. Cognitive behavior therapy and pharmacotherapy for insomnia. Smith MT, Perlis ML, Park A, Smith MS, Pennington J, Giles DE, Buysse DJ. Comparative meta-analysis of pharmacotherapy and behavior therapy for persistent insomnia. Jenkins CD, Stanton BA, Niemcryk SJ, Rose RM. A scale for the estimation of sleep problems in clinical research. Johnson B, Longo LP. Considerations in the physician’s decision to prescribe benzodiazepines to patients with addiction. Wong MM, Brower KJ, Fitzgerald HE, Zucker RA. Sleep problems in early childhood and early onset of alcohol and other drug use in adolescence. Shochat T, Umphress J, Israel AG, Ancoli-Israel S. Insomnia in primary care patients. Avoid using the bed for activities other than sleep; for example, do not read, watch TV, eat, or worry in bed.

You may also feel more tired in the evening after a busy day complete with a workout. Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Contact us today to find out which program might be right for you, or to begin the process of arranging for treatment. On the other hand, you may grapple with symptoms such as insomnia and trouble remembering things. For symptoms such as these, learning what works for you and what doesn’t is vital. If you struggle with insomnia, consider trying a number of different coping skills, such as limiting caffeine intake and developing a structured sleep schedule, can be extremely helpful.

Was There An Element Of Recovery That Turned Out To Be Easier Than You Expected?

Withdrawal symptoms, in general, tend to last anywhere from a few days to up to two weeks max. But, when someone is experiencing post-acute withdrawal syndrome, that is not the case. Someone with post-acute withdrawal syndrome can experience any variety of these and other symptoms, making maintaining their recovery that much more difficult. And, unfortunately, these symptoms can continue on for different periods of time. People who can’t sleep without alcohol use the substance to induce sleep because, on its own, it is a depressant and creates the feeling of drowsiness. Another frustrating factor is that insomnia can also increase other areas of withdrawal & vice versa.

If you cannot recover mentally and physically, it will be hard to stay sober long-term. That’s why it is important to implement actions that promote sleep quality, like the ones below. Further, lack of sleep can impact your digestive system, lead to anxiety and depression, and can impair your immune system. It’s essential to do what you can to reduce symptoms of insomnia to aid in recovery. Sleep maintenance insomnia means you have a hard time staying asleep, or even if you get eight hours of sleep, it is not restful sleep. You feel just as tired when you wake up as you did when you fell asleep. Many studies support the link between AUD and mental disorders, especially between AUD and depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder.

Sleep And Prevention

The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is to change sleep habits as well as any misconceptions about sleep and insomnia that may perpetuate sleep difficulties. CBT-I often entails regular, weekly meetings, during which your therapist will give you sleep assessments, work with you to alter problematic sleep behaviors, and ask you to complete a sleep diary at home. The first treatment for insomnia in recovery is sobriety, and many patients will see improvement. For the specific treatment of insomnia, behavioral therapies are the preferred treatment , as they have been shown to be effective and they won’t interfere with sobriety. Researchers found that alcoholics with both short- and long-term abstinence had similarly disturbed sleep after they quit drinking. In general, problems with sleep onset were worse than with sleep maintenance. 1st Step Behavioral Health treatment processes do not just include medical assistance, but also incorporate sessions in which family members can participate.

‘Am I an alcoholic?’: the blurred line between a daily drink and a drinking problem – The Guardian

‘Am I an alcoholic?’: the blurred line between a daily drink and a drinking problem.

Posted: Sun, 21 Nov 2021 08:00:00 GMT [source]

Taking the time to put the world on pause and almost mentally counting sheep with your breath doing all the work. The deep rooted and consistent inhales and exhales help to unwind the brain waves running rampantly through our thick sleepless skulls. This increases blood flow in certain areas of the brain and allows everything to center.

Helping A Spouse With Drug Addiction

One of those bad decisions becomes going to bed later and later- thus creating a warped revolving door that we get sucked into. Our minds start working at half capacity toward outside stimuli, that and our body is out of sync. This is not ideal, so we look for what can be done to help said problem. Insomnia in sobriety obviously limits the idea of taking different sleeping pills. There are a few that are acceptable in the realms of recovery, but even those skate on the thin line of highly debatable.

Behavioral therapies can assist individuals in dealing with insomnia and alcoholism. Studies have shown that behavioral Alcohol techniques, such as stimulus control and biofeedback, can help nearly all people with primary chronic insomnia.

Liebowitz NR, El-Mallakh RS. Trazodone for the treatment of anxiety symptoms in substance abusers. Aldrich MS, Hall JM, Eiser AS, Kroll P, Brower K, Shipley JE. Slow wave sleep decrement and relapse tendency in alcoholics in treatment. Gann H, Van Calker D, Feige B, Cloot O, Brück D, Berger M, Riemann D. Polysomnographic comparison between patients with primary alcohol dependency during subacute withdrawal and patients with major depression. If you return to bed and still cannot fall asleep within 15–20 minutes, repeat Step 3. While out of bed during the night, engage in activities that are quiet but of interest to you. Addiction transference is a common problem that can occur to individuals who struggle with or are recovering from alcohol, drug or behavioral addictions. Some people in recovery may try to start drinking again to improve their sleep.

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