Sexual Addiction Program: Getting Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do in your sexual addiction program. The average adult needs approximately 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Children and some adults need slightly more. If you’re getting enough sleep, it can negatively affect your ability to stay sober and you probably are feeling sluggish, tired most of the day and your thinking is slower and with less clarity. It’s no wonder that a lack of sleep is often the cause of many auto accidents and reduced ability to make quick decisions. Lack of sleep can lead to feeling depressed and anxious. Both moods are often warning signs for a sex addict.
No amount of caffeine can make up for the sleep you missed the night before. In fact, caffeine, alcohol, and other drugs can interfere with your ability to sleep at night. Your body needs a proper amount of rest because it uses the time when you are asleep to repair itself. If you’re not sleeping, your body can’t heal itself properly.
If you wake up many times throughout the night, if you snore excessively, grind your teeth, or if you wake up gasping for breath, these can all be signs of sleep disorders, and you should talk to a medical professional. Our marriage counseling therapists have found that a lack of sleep can be a major distraction to a healthy relationship.
Do your best to develop proper sleep habits in order to get the rest that you need. I often recommend that a recovering sex addict add proper sleep habits as an essential part of an addict’s recovery program. Here are some suggestions to help if you are struggling to either fall asleep or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep:
- Avoid caffeine for at least 6 hours prior to going to bed.
- Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and especially illegal drugs prior to going to sleep and throughout the night.
- Avoid bright lights, television, or computer screen light before going to sleep. Research has show that light can act as a natural stimulant.
- Don’t eat heavily within a few hours of going to bed.
- Don’t exercise a few hours before going to bed.
- Avoid naps during the day because it will make you less tired at night.
- Keep your bedroom temperature a cool, comfortable level and eliminate as much light as possible. Dark is better. Reduce any noise and make your room a safe place to sleep.
- Don’t read scary books, work, or any stimulating articles (i.e., news, sports, etc.). Try to only use your bed for sleeping. Avoid TV in bed.
- Try to set a regular pattern for getting ready for bed. Go to bed at the same time each night. Use self-soothing exercises, meditation music, prayer, focus on things that make you happy, and buy a comfortable mattress.
- Some take a hot shower or bath prior to going to bed and find that it calms the body and mind.