Sleep is one of the most under discussed factors in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. During sleep, the body is able to rest in more ways than how we think about rest. Sleep is when the body heals. Restoration, growth, and healing takes place mostly during sleeping hours. Physically the body heals during sleep. Psychologically, the brain has time to fully take into consideration all of the unattended to thoughts and ideas throughout the day. Dreams occur as a result of the quiet brain processing all of the unprocessed information.

Ritual is not often associated with sleep. Sleep happens when we feel like it, as we want it to go. Redundancy and repetition feel like imprisonments for addicts and alcoholics. Many people feel that the late night hours before bedtime is their only personal time where they get to be and do for themselves. Self-care is a way to maximize how beneficial taking personal time can be. Creating a sleep ritual is a form of self-care and helps maximize the benefits of sleep.


Creating a sleep ritual makes sleep easier

When we start to get ready for bed at the same time every night, the body and the brain become equipped for the process. Around our pre-bedtime, we experience an onset of drowsiness. Internally, we have human mechanisms that help us know when to go to sleep. Our circadian rhythm and our production of melatonin signals our brain to start becoming sleepy and shut down. Late night routines like staying awake, binge watching streaming TV shows, or mindlessly scrolling through social media news feeds stimulate the brain. Behind the screens of devices is a blue light that is designed to imitate daylight. Variation in sleep time caused by interaction with technological devices makes the sleep process more difficult. Ritualizing sleep by removing devices and getting ready for bed at the same time each night makes it easier.


Sleep rituals are a form of discipline

Recovery is a discipline we create in life. A discipline is defined as “the practice of training people to obey a rule or a code of behavior”. Sleep is a way to practice training the brain to obey certain rules and behaviors, like staying sober every day and working on recovery. Every part of the recovery lifestyle emphasizes the penultimate point of living without drugs and alcohol.

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