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If you’re sluggish in the mornings, crashing in the afternoons, and dragging yourself through the day…
…there are some things you can do to help you get the vital, rejuvenating sleep you need to thrive in recovery.
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11 Tips for a Better Night Life
- Make Your Bedroom a Dark, Quiet, Uncluttered Place
Your bed is best used for two things: sleep and (ahem) sex. Watching TV, scrolling through your news feed, working, or other non-restorative activities are best performed elsewhere. Once exception: reading. Also, dim the lights on alarm clocks and other electronics in your bedroom.
- Let Your Body Wake You Up, Not Your Alarm
You’ll wake up on your own when your body is fully rested and restored. Arrange your schedule so that you wake up one your own, before your alarm goes off. And that means, go to bed earlier.
- Get 8-9 Hours of Sleep Nightly…Consistently
It’s not enough to slog through the week on 6-7 hours of sleep, fueling yourself on caffeine. Studies show that trying to make up for lost sleep on the weekends might be more harmful than helpful. Put yourself of on a consistent schedule and stick to it as best as you can. Since you won’t be out clubbing on the weekends, it’ll be easier to get to bed at a consistent hour, yes?
- Don’t Drink Alcohol (No Matter What)
When you first quit drinking, it might be harder to get to sleep than when you passed out from over-imbibing. This restlessness is temporary. Ride it out. The beauty of not drinking before bed is that you won’t wake up at 3am with the DTs! You’ll find some helpful tips below to help you nod off. Mind/body exercises (see #10 below) can be particularly helpful when you’re not feeling sleepy.
- Get Fresh Air & Exercise During the Day
Movement is one of your 7 super powers to battle addiction & relapse. It also helps you get to sleep at night. You don’t have to run a marathon during the say to get to sleep at night. You’ll find, however, if you incorporate exercise and fresh air during your day, your body – and your brain – will cooperate better under the sheets at night.
- Quit the Caffeine 6 Hours Before Bedtime
While caffeine gives you a nice kick-start in the morning, it isn’t doing you any favors in the evening. Switch to decaf if you must have your drink of choice or try herbal tea. You can even find tea that aids in sleep, typically infused with camomile and peppermint. It’s not a cup of Joe, but still … yum.
- Get Off Social Media & Nix Electronic Devices 2 Hours Before Nighty-Night
Nothing like the opinions of others to get you riles up just before bed. Social media doesn’t help you unwind before bed. Shut it down. You’ll also be well-served to shut off the TV, power down the computer, and close the lid of your tablet. All light messes you up when you’re trying to sleep – suppressing the secretion of melatonin – but the blue light from your devises is the worst.
- Final Foods of the Day: 2-4 Hours Before Lights Out
Make sure your last big meal of the day is four hours before you hit the sheets. If you need a snack, have something light and small two hours prior.
- Nix Liquids 2 Hours Before Beddy-bye.
Unless you want to be up peeing in the middle of the night, cut out liquids well before bedtime. You might be able to drop back off instantly, or you might toss and turn, thinking about everything you ever did wrong in your life. Just sayin’.
- Read Uplifting, Inspirational Literature Before Bed
Pick up a book. Remember, you’ve put your tablet, phone, and laptop away 2 hours before bedtime? Find something uplifting, including the Big Book of AA, the 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions, or any number of other uplifting material. What you don’t want to do, for sure, is watch violent television programming, and then crawl into bed. Yikes.
- Body/Mind Exercise
Find a restorative pre-bedtime ritual that relaxes both your mind and your body. Yoga Nidra is a fantastic choice, as is a restorative yoga practice, called “Legs Up the Wall.” Do some Googling. These tools are just too easy … and they work miraculously. It’s also really good to do a bit of stretching before bed.
These tools take some discipline at first, but you’ll soon fall into dreamy routines that become bedrock in a “night life” that super-charges your recovery.
Your brain restores & revitalizes itself in vital ways while you sleep.
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