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How do addictive drugs mess up my sleep and how can I control it?

Hey everybody, this week I have a guest post about substance abuse and how you can control the struggles of addiction.  Sleep is easily one of the most important aspects of your life and health and drugs will mess it up very easily. I know quite well for instance that alcohol is a drug and as such those drugs mess up my sleep for sure!

drugs mess up my sleep alcohol

Via https://pixabay.com/en/alcohol-bar-2275837/

Are you or your loved one going through a detox from addiction to any drug?

One of the struggles of this process is insomnia, so here are some ways to manage the problem.

If you have been through an addiction to any kind of drug, or you are trying to take care of a friend or loved one who is going through addiction, you are very knowledgeable on the negative results that it inflicts on many lives. It makes the affected person hold off on all aspects of their lives, especially sleep – which is never an exception.

The problem is actually more common than you may think – in fact, an estimate from a study reveals that people suffering from addiction have five to ten times higher chances of going through sleep disorders of various types.

Drug addiction and sleep habits are closely linked, as many people use drugs or alcohol to assist them deal with their sleeping problems, and they accidentally become addicted from their effort. Regardless of whether someone had problems with their sleep before their addiction or they did not, the physical structure of the brain changes significantly due to long term substance and alcohol abuse, and that will adversely affect your sleep quality. The more you continue using the substance, the more you cannot sleep properly – and things will only become worse when you are in the recovery stage.

However, the good news is there is hope for dealing with sleep problems and drug addiction – the better you sleep, the less chances you have of relapsing. Read on to understand the effects of different addictions on sleep and how you can manage them better.

How different drugs drugs mess up my sleep:

Marijuana and alcohol

To start off with alcohol, many people think it is a depressant and they think it is a sleep aid. In fact, statistics show that about 30 percent of Americans who have issues with insomnia tend to turn to alcohol to help them sleep.

This might be true to some extent, as alcohol does help you sleep – but you need to remember that alcohol-induced sleep is not the same as actual restful sleep. Individuals that sleep after a night of drinking or binge drinking increase the risk of going through sleep apnea, snoring, nightmares, night sweats and bedwetting.

All of these effects are due to the effects of alcohol on your body temperature, and your temperature plays a major role in determining if you will fall asleep or you do not. Melatonin is the hormone that the brain releases to help you fall asleep, but your body temperature drops as the hormone levels build up. Alcohol will mimic these effects, as it will drop your body temperature, and this helps you fall asleep – but it soon wears off, and the body increases its temperature, leading to night sweats and insomnia.

In addition, alcohol leads to the brain spending less time in REM sleep, which is the time when you dream, process all the events of your day and put them in memory. This will ultimately affect your performance during the day, including your mental performance and creativity. For more information on that, click here.

Similar to alcohol, many people use marijuana as a sleeping aid. Even though it does not make you wake up early, it interferes with your sleep quality because of shortening REM sleep. This continues for quite some time, and the user can have odd dreams afterwards for many months.

Hallucinogens, cocaine, amphetamines and other stimulants

All of these are energizing drugs, so it is not difficult to know their effects on your sleep. The user will become addicted to the high these drugs create, since they flood the brain with dopamine. Because of this, they go through insomnia all because it becomes very difficult to fall asleep due to the high levels of energy, and then going through withdrawal periods of hypersomnia.

The chronic use of ecstasy and cocaine reduce the time your brain spends in REM sleep, leading to sleep deprivation that affects your daytime performance negatively, even if you take them in low doses. On the other hand, MDMA has a unique effect on the brain because it eats away at your levels of serotonin, which is an important part of the melatonin making process.

A user of ecstasy in particular, will have sleep deprivation symptoms on a sooner level compared to users of other stimulants, especially in their impulsivity and cognitive performance.

Opioid drugs

It is only human to avoid pain as much as possible, which is why prescription medication such as hydrocodone, methadone and oxycodone exists – it helps you deal with the pain, as your body cannot handle it on its own. The drugs work by attaching to the dopamine receptors in the brain, which enables the brain to handle pain better.

However, when these drugs are not used correctly, they create euphoric effects that are similar to cocaine, because of how they interact with the dopamine receptors. The user becomes more reliant on them to deal with less pain, resulting in addiction.

Similar to other drugs, the user will experience less REM sleep, and even the deep sleep stages are affected – both of them are cut in half. These are very important stages of sleep because it is when the body repairs damaged tissue and commits events to memory. That means that an opioid user will spend more of their time in light sleep, which is less restorative and leads to sleep deprivation and increasing risk of sleep apnea.

All these effects will combine to lead to negative effects during the day, both mentally and physically, and this worsens memory while reducing the tolerance for pain. This leads to fatigue due to the interference with your sleep architecture. In addition, opioid users are at risk of getting RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) because withdrawals are very intense – more intense than that of other drugs.

Final thoughts on how drugs mess up my sleep:

Drug addiction has many effects on your health, but it has a major effect on your sleep as well. Whether you use them actively or trying to detox from them, it can become very uncomfortable when attempting to let go of their use.

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About Yossif

Hey, I'm Yossif. I get angry about health and food. I think I know what I'm talking about, but I dunno. Most people can't drop 100 lbs by accident, right? I want to try and helps others get healthy and fit. There's a lot of lies and crappy info out there, I'm trying to shovel it out of the way. Sign up for my newsletter here!

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