Advice on sleeping while changing your drinking
Sleep when changing your drinking is a funny thing. Some of us sleep more (I napped for England!) and some of us find it harder.
It is common for those quitting to get insomnia or a disturbed sleep pattern – making you tired and irritable and weakening your resolve to give booze the heave ho! Most people report that this gets better after a few weeks. The ability to enjoy a full night’s sleep and return to a normal sleep pattern can be one of the first signs that you are settling into a more sober life.
You may be feeling some of these …
* Repeatedly waking up during the night
* Waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to return to sleep
* Having dreams that are disturbing
* Struggling to get to sleep at night
* Spending an excessive number of hours sleeping
* Not feeling refreshed after sleep
* Unable to sleep because of racing thoughts
* Feeling tired and drowsy during the day
* Falling asleep during the day
This could be caused by …
* Alcohol influencing your sleeping pattern for many years. It can take the body a bit of time to adjust to a normal sleep cycle that is not chemically induced.
* You may have some symptoms of withdrawal. These can be uncomfortable and may keep you awake at night.
* Not getting enough exercise during the day.
* You have begun to feel worry, feelings that booze may have blocked out. (I get quite anxious halfway to falling asleep and sort of have to start again.)
What you can do …
* Develop a sleeping schedule and stick to it. This means deciding on an appropriate time to go to bed and to wake up. You can record your plans on Club Soda.
* It is not a good idea to spend hours lying awake in bed, because the brain begins to associate being in bed with being awake. If you find that they are unable to sleep, the best idea is to get out of the bed and do something relaxing like reading a book.
* Avoid all caffeinated drinks from the late afternoon onwards – it really does make a difference!
* No tech or TV 1hr before bed – mentally reinforce the idea that going to bed is about going to sleep.
* It is not a good idea to eat a large meal in the couple of hours before going to bed.
* Avoid day time napping.
* Create a relaxing environment prior to going to bed, putting you in the right mood for sleep. This could mean dimming the lights and listening to relaxing music.
* Hot milk or chamomile tea before going to bed helps some people sleep better (if nothing else it helps reinforce a nightime regime).
* Learn to manage stress- reducing that anxiety will help you sleep better at night.
* Relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga can help people sleep better at night. We like Headspace!
* It might be worth buying a fitbit, or another wearable device, or downloading an app to monitor your sleep.