Not being able to sleep during and after a detox can be one of the worst parts of it all. People always get enough sleep to survive, but it doesn’t always feel like it; and sleep doesn’t always come when you want it.
Getting yourself into a sleep routine is probably the most important part of learning to sleep without drugs. For most people a normal night’s sleep is between 7 and 9 hours, but many people get by on 5 or 6 hours’ sleep. Learning how much sleep you can realistically expect will be an important part of getting into a routine.
Other things you can do to help include:
- forcing yourself to get up at the same time every morning (whether you have slept well or not);
- be active during the day as this can help you sleep at night;
- if you are awake in the night for more than half an hour, get out of bed;
- don’t sleep in a chair;
- take a clock, pen and paper to bed and write down the time every 15 minutes – you will probably be surprised at how long you were asleep when you see how many times you missed during the night (doing this regularly can also help you chart improvements in your sleep pattern);
- avoid tea and coffee in the evening;
- practice relaxation techniques; and
- count your breaths in and out up to ten and backwards to zero.
Using opiates to help with sleeping is one of the commonest reasons for giving up on a detox: if you want to stay off, be prepared to deal with poor sleep.
A short course of sleeping tablets from your doctor may help, but many doctors refuse to prescribe them because it is so easy to get dependent on them and because they can easily put people in the frame of mind to relapse (especially if they take too many in desperation to get to sleep).
Some drug services offer auricular (ear) acupuncture, which can help relaxation and sleep.