Giving up alcohol after years of regular drinking is going to be difficult, thanks in large part to the physical symptoms it involves. Trouble sleeping is a prime example.
Alcohol withdrawal and sleep problems go hand-in-hand. Still, knowing what to expect can help you better cope with the challenges ahead.
Here are the four main ways you can expect that alcohol withdrawal will affect your sleep patterns.
Even if your drinking problem would be considered less severe than most, alcohol withdrawal is still probably going to impact your sleeping patterns to some degree. If nothing else, the anxiety about moving forward without the use of alcohol will keep you up at night, at least at the beginning of your recovery process.
That said, what alcohol withdrawal does to your sleep patterns is unique to everyone. Any combination of the following may occur when going through alcohol withdrawal:
Obviously, these symptoms can compound one another, too.
Alcohol withdrawal usually affects cognition, as well. Early on, recovering alcoholics will often have trouble focusing and even articulating their thoughts.
Without getting a good night’s rest, these problems intensify. So when you’re first becoming sober, be patient with yourself. Expect some mental fog.
Drinking alcohol triggers greater amounts of dopamine, which leads to benefits related to the drug like confidence and self-assurance. Unfortunately, too much drinking may lead the brain to quit producing dopamine because it expects that alcohol will always be there to trigger its production.
This leads to depression. Insomnia can cause depression, too. When both factors are present, depression is almost inevitable.
The above may paint a pretty dreary picture, but its purpose is to convince you how important it is to make sleep a priority when getting sober.
These can also help with anxiety and depression, especially (NAC), which helps produce serotonin.
Sleep is essential, but alcohol withdrawals can last for months. So it’s important to seek assistance from medical professionals who can ensure you get restorative rest during the recovery process. This will go a long way toward helping you with the rest of your journey.