Quit Drinking, Can’t Sleep
There are many side effects of quitting drinking. One is when you quit drinking and can’t sleep well at night. This is a completely normal experience that many people have. There are reasons this happens, and things we can do about it!
How Alcohol Impacts the Brain
In order to understand why you may have trouble sleeping without alcohol, we have to first understand how alcohol affects the brain and the body. When you consume alcohol, the GABA receptors are activated. This is your body’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter, responsible for the feeling of calm, sedation, and ease.
When you are drinking, you may even pass out. When you quit drinking, the brain no longer has an increased release of GABA. This change can cause the opposite of alcohol’s effects, causing anxiety, energy, and agitation. This is because the brain is adapting to functioning without the influx of activity in the brain.
This may result in a number of unpleasant withdrawal effects, some of which can be dangerous or fatal. There are also many effects related to sleep and insomnia</a. An individual may experience nightmares, trouble falling sleep, or trouble staying asleep.
Trouble Sleeping Without Alcohol
When drinking, we fall asleep just fine, but don’t actually get the deep sleep we need. When we quit drinking, the problem switches and we often find ourselves suddenly able to sleep. If you think back to when you were drinking regularly, you probably fell asleep incredibly easily many nights. Sometimes we pass out, while other times we feel like we’re asleep before our heads even hit the pillow. Even if we are kept up by the spins or something else, we’re often relaxed enough while drinking to not find it so bothersome.
When we stop drinking, we suddenly have the deal with the mind’s thoughts, the anxieties we feel in the body, and the discomfort we may face. Falling asleep is hard, and it’s a normal thing to go through. This may last for a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months. Without sleep, it can be difficult to function during our days.
How to Get Sleep During Alcohol Withdrawal
There are many things you can do to help yourself fall sleep when quitting alcohol. Here are a few things we know to be useful.
Maybe you’ve never tried meditation or don’t think it’s for you, but this can be a great way to relax yourself and fall asleep. One Mind Dharma offers’ wonderful guided meditations for falling asleep at https://oneminddharma.com/guided-meditation-for-sleep/ that are great. Here is one below you can try at night.
Use Your Energy
One of the best things you can do to help yourself fall asleep is use your energy during your day. Right when you quit drinking, this may not sound like the most appealing idea in the world, but it can dramatically help your sleep.
Research has shown that as little as ten minutes of exercise can improve sleep. It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic. Even an extra walk in your day or some movement at all can help your body use energy and fall asleep more easily.
Care for Yourself
Before going to sleep, take some time to really care for yourself. This can be a number of things, and each individual has different needs. Try making some relaxing tea like chamomile, drawing a bath, or playing some relaxing music. Do something that feels relaxing, and puts your mind and body at ease!
Prepare to Sleep
You don’t necessarily need a strict time to fall asleep, but have a general idea. Then, get ready for bed! Don’t watch action-oriented television shows or movies, listen to loud music, or stare at a screen too much. Get ready to move toward bed. Read a book, light a candle, and keep the lights off. Let your mind and body know that it’s bedtime, and prepare yourself to be ready for bed!
Finally, you may try seeking help. This may be help from a drug and alcohol detox, or professional help from a trained clinician. With proper care and possibly prescribed medication taken appropriately, you may be able to sleep and recovery more easily. This is one of the many benefits of reaching out for help. A clinician can also help you address the issues you are facing as you try to quit drinking.
If you or somebody you know is struggling with addiction, reach out to us today to find treatment options at no cost to you!