Everyone struggles with sleep from time to time. It can become more of an issue for people in recovery from addiction. With any cognitive impacts of sleep deprivation, most people don’t realize how severely chronic lack of sleep can impact a person’s life and relationships. Learn more about some tips to combat sleep deprivation and find ways to boost emotional health.
There are many times when not getting enough sleep can make a person reactive to certain situations. Whether it is snapping at a co-worker, getting into a fight, or losing your cool with kids, not getting enough sleep increases the chances of getting into an impulsive situation emotionally. Emotional reactivity goes beyond being cranky. It is also about the feeling of being critical of oneself for not being better able to manage emotions. One night of sleep that is missed can add up to several hours and even days of missed snoozing time over a period of days and weeks. The amygdala controls the emotional rapid response center of the brain. This part of the brain controls immediate emotional reactions. When a person is sleep deprived, they are more reactive across the whole spectrum of emotions, both positive and negative. When a person does not get enough sleep, this part of the brain does not do its job well and people become impulsive and overly emotional.
When the brain’s emotional center is impacted by lack of sleep, it is not difficult to imagine how sleep deprivation can contribute to a more negative mindset. Poor sleep makes people focus on the negative and increases what psychologists call repetitive negative thinking. When this happens, the mind is stuck in a negative place, going over frustrated thoughts again and again. Repetitive thoughts are intrusive, difficult to control, and has a major impact on how a person functions. People cannot stop ruminating when their brain is sleep deprived and cycling through negative thoughts. The following can also happen:
- Worrying about the future
- Feeling afraid of the future
- Anxiety disorders
- Feeling less connected in relationship
Reconnecting to Positive Energy
The lack of sleep can really impact a person’s overall life, including work, relationships, healing in recovery, and staying clear of triggers which may push a person to use drugs and alcohol. The purpose of sleep is not to keep us from doing things we want (or need) to get done, but to let the mind and body rejuvenate themselves. To get more sleep, and better quality, it helps to have the right medication where needed, a team of people assisting in recovery from addiction, a set schedule that is followed everyday, and a healthy boundary with activities. The challenge is over-scheduling and not putting sleep at the forefront. To maintain better overall health, it is important to make sure sleep is also on the schedule each and every day.
The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.