“You are the biggest enemy of your own sleep.”
– Pawan Mishra
You all know how Google search is so rude about finishing your sentences for you, right? Well, when I started searching for articles about why drinking and sleep patterns and typed in, “W-h-y-c-a-n…it popped up with “Why can I sleep when I stop drinking?”
Now, it knows me well enough to know that I google a lot of articles about drinking, my husband accuses me of being obsessed on the subject matter, but the Google Team must still be working on their mind reading spyware. Because, what I was planning on typing into their search was, “Why Can’t I Friggin’ Sleep When I Quit Drinking?”
Sleep is a big deal to me. I’m one of those people who tallies sleep minutes like health-minded people tally their “steps.” So, when I miss a minute or two, I know it, and everybody around me is going to know it!
The thing I hate most about Dryuary?
“Sleep has a reputation among the recovering community of being one of the last things that fall back into place for an individual,” says David Hodgins, professor of psychology at the University of Calgary. “It’s also recognized as a potential precipitant of relapse.”
“How Insomnia Happens With Recovering Addicts,” VeryWellMind.com
I don’t consider myself an alcoholic, not at all, but when you take away my wine bottle pacifier at night, I get pretty darn cranky. And, after listening to other Dryuary participants through the years, I know I’m not the only baby squalling in the Dryuary Nursery.
I’m lucky. My sleep pattern usually smooths out after the first week of Dryuary, but I know for others, the struggle to sleep continues longer and, for some, it kills their dream of achieving a Dryuary Gold Medal. No one can go without sleep for an entire month.
Over the years, other participants have shared their tips for a good night’s sleep:
Meditation: Whether they use an established meditation practice or listen to meditations through an app such as Insight Timer, meditation seems to be the number one practice for those unable to fall asleep.
Exercise: Exercise does a sleep pattern good. Regular exercise, even as little as 10 minutes of walking, will improve sleep. Some people find that exercising too closely to bedtime revs them up instead of relaxing them, but others find the opposite. It doesn’t matter what time you do it, just do it.
Routine: An established bedtime routine sends a signal to the brain that it is time to sleep. Same time every night, same routine. It may take a while to kick in, but it is very effective, in fact, you might find yourself falling asleep before your routine is finished.
Natural Sleep Remedies: Past Dryuarians have tried a variety of natural sleep remedies through the years. Melatonin seems to be the front runner. But, please, check with your doctor before taking any medication, even the natural kind.
Sleep Restriction: “What?” I know. When I’m desperate for sleep, I’ll be go to hell if I’m going to deprive myself of what little I’m getting. In fact, I’m laying around every spare minute trying to catch a minute or two. Bad! Very bad! I know this to be true. The one thing that has worked for me when I am caught in a cycle of sleepless nights is to make myself stay up as long as possible and then wake up at my normal time. According to the article quoted above:
“The idea behind sleep restriction is that by limiting the amount of time you allow yourself to sleep and stay in bed, you’ll increase your desire to sleep (called sleep drive) and sleep less fitfully and more efficiently.”
So, there’s few tried-and-true’s. Do you have your own? If so, please share. Just want to bitch and moan a little bit? You’re welcome to do that, too. Sleep deprivation is misery and misery loves company, you are not alone. The good news is that most past Dryuary participants report that by the end of the first week or week and a half, they are catching the best Z’s of their life since childhood. Maybe Google was right.
By Sleepless in Dryuary