Sleep can impact how you feel, act, and think. Proper sleep is critical to mental health both during and after attending a rehabilitation program. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a healthy adult requires a minimum of seven hours of uninterrupted quality sleep each night.
To get the best rest possible, the CDC recommends that you do the following:
- Create a nightly routine and stick to it
- Avoid taking electronics to bed with you
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid using tobacco products
- Avoid caffeinated beverages before bed
- Keep your room dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature
The United States Department of Health and Human Services insists that the number of hours you sleep is less important than the quality of rest you get. “It’s also important to get good-quality sleep on a regular schedule, so you feel rested when you wake up.”
How Much Sleep Should You Be Getting?
The amount of sleep you need changes throughout your life. Adolescents, adults, and seniors require different amounts. In addition, certain sleep disorders, mental health diagnoses, and medications can affect how much sleep you need each night to feel recharged the next day. Below is the general rule for minimum rest necessary each night per age group.
- Adolescents: 8 to 10 hours
- Adults: 7 to 9 hours
- Adults (aged 65+): 7 to 8 hours
Why Is a Healthy Sleep Schedule Important?
A good sleep schedule gives your brain and body a chance to reset and heal. The health benefits of being well-rested include:
- Getting sick less and experiencing fewer symptoms when sick
- Lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other health conditions
- Lower levels of stress
- More balanced moods
- Better focus and decision making
According to current research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “insomnia and insufficient sleep may also be a factor raising the risk of drug use and addiction.” You can reduce the danger of relapse and cope better with life stressors when your body and mind feel fully rested at the start of each day.
Mental Health and Sleep
Many people with substance use disorders have co-occurring conditions, including mood disorders. Getting enough quality sleep every night is known to help decrease instances of mood instability. Sometimes medications used to treat mental health disorders have side effects like insomnia. If you find yourself suffering from sleep disturbances, reach out to your doctor.
How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep
A good night’s sleep usually involves making a routine and removing distractions that might keep you awake. Gadgets with lights, sounds, and alert features are more likely to cause disruptions to your sleep schedule. Below are five quick and easy tips for getting a better night’s sleep.
#1. Make a list of last-minute things to check before you head to bed so that you do not lie awake wondering if you forgot something. These lists generally include locking doors, closing windows, feeding pets, and turning off unnecessary lights. Incorporate these last-minute checks into your nightly routine to decrease stress.
#2. Practice breathing and body relaxation techniques to calm your mind and leave you feeling ready to drift off. You can find apps and online video tutorials for both. Breathly is a top-rated breathing exercise app with multiple types of exercises, including ones designed to help you fall asleep.
#3. Listen to hypnosis or guided meditation audio to get into a relaxed and serene headspace. If you often have nightmares or sleep disturbances throughout the night, falling asleep to these types of audio can help decrease them. White noise machines can also be helpful if you live in a noisy neighborhood.
#4. Eating healthy meals, regularly exercising, and not drinking caffeine in the evening can improve sleep patterns. Speak with a doctor or nutritionist to learn more about what foods and drinks to avoid in the evening.
#5. Get comfortable. Wear clothes that are not too restrictive and use bedding that keeps you at an even temperature all night. If you often wake up because of temperature, uncomfortable sleeping positions, or chronic pain, work to find solutions. For example, use more pillows to keep you comfortable or use a hot water bottle to relax aching joints right before bed.
Spending Time in Nature to Improve Sleep
Research has shown that spending time outdoors in nature comes with many benefits, including:
- Increased physical health
- Boosts immune system
- Better mood and emotion regulation
- More restful sleep
- Decreased stress and anxiety
Learn more about the multiple health advantages of outdoor activities and how to find groups in your area by visiting our page on Nature Time. Enjoy longer, deeper sleep after spending a day out in nature.
Sleep is vital to your emotional, physical, and mental health. Science cannot wholly explain why sleep is so important, but we know that you cannot function properly without it. Sleep deprivation causes a number of health issues. Recovering from addiction requires changing the way you manage your body. The treatment you receive at White House Recovery and Detox includes strict schedules so you can become familiar with a healthy sleep/waking routine before you return to your home. Overcoming past habits and maladaptive behaviors is easier when you feel well-rested and calm. In addition, research proves that getting enough rest can benefit the immune system, which is often left vulnerable after long periods of substance abuse. Sleeping a minimum of seven hours a night will improve your overall health. Learn more about White House Recovery and Detox and how we can help you create new routines by calling us today at (800) 510-5393.