The intricate nature of sleep during addiction treatment

addiction treatment sleep waves can become fairly balanced; yet anxieties, often associated with the future, not only affect a patient’s sleep patterns but may also affect recovery.

The highly-structured settings found in most addiction treatment facilities often don’t allow for anxiety-free sleep for several reasons mentioned in the study.

Some patients highlighted that they were not allowed to nap at all — which, the research suggests, is the case in many rehab centers that look to regularize the process of balance. Other patients recalled having trouble sleeping since they were children. Some reported feelings of seclusion in the inpatient treatment facility and one patient stated that he’d only be able to have “some kind of life” if he stayed sober, which he believed would allow him to be able to sleep similarly to “normal people.”    

“It’s important to recognize that many factors influence sleep beyond substances,” Meadows explained. “Sleeping problems can be compounded by substances, but they may also pre-exist substance use. It’s very common for people to experience difficulties with sleeping beyond the initial phases of detox and recovery, and they may need reassurances that this is common and support with pre-existing sleep problems.”

Meadows also stated that “we need to take sleep much more seriously,” but highlighted that what constitutes normal biological rhythms of sleep is socially constructed.

“It’s important that we recognize that ‘better’ sleep is subjective and personal,” he added. “It can be unhelpful to become overly anxious or hung up about sleeping ‘well.’ It doesn’t necessarily matter if you don’t get 6 to 8 hours of solid sleep. There can be other ways of sleeping.”