People recovering from alcohol or drug abuse or addiction may not return to normal sleep patterns for 6 months or longer. However, the initial few days of drug withdrawal can be particularly troubling, and sleep deprivation only makes the experience more uncomfortable.
The more disciplined you are in following guidelines for good sleep hygiene, the quicker your withdrawal insomnia will disappear, and your sleep patterns will return to normal.
Your withdrawal insomnia may be eased if you:
- Try to avoid self-medicating with other drugs such as over-the-counter medications, marijuana, or alcohol while you are going through withdrawal.
- Talk to your physician about whether short term use of prescribed medications may help you sleep for the first few days. Some medications are also helpful in easing some other withdrawal symptoms, but these are very specific to the drug you are withdrawing from, and the drug you are prescribed. Follow your physician's instructions to the letter, and under no circumstances take more than prescribed, or for longer than prescribed. You may become ill or simply develop a substitute addiction.
- Expose your eyes, without sunglasses, to the outdoor daylight early in the day to help re-establish your circadian rhythms -- that is, your natural sleep cycle. Do not look directly at the sun.