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The Importance of Sleep in Recovery

Sleep is an often under tracked activity. People will often feel tired in the mornings, but look at the clock, and might think “I was in bed for 8 hours – surely I got enough sleep.” If you are in recovery, this single factor is the most common universal warning sign of relapse – a lack of sleep leads to bad decisions, as those with any impulse control issues find their normal problems magnified.

Constantly feeling tired or a “cloudy” mind are signs that not enough useful sleep is being received, and this is one area where the “proof is in the pudding.” Exactly why this is has never been resolved, but there is something useful involved after 2-3 hours of solid sleep, where Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is observed. Actually tracking REM sleep does require a sleep lab, so that isn’t something most people have easy access to.

Fitness trackers are pretty easy to get, and most pedometers have a sleep function. It is something many knock – off brands do not include good coding for, so if you get a fitness tracker, pay attention that it does more than record steps. Pay attention to reputable companies too: the new Fitbit Flex, the most affordable Fitbit by far, has to be manually put into sleep mode. This may be too annoying to do, or sometimes people may simply forget.

Sometimes the best solution to sleep problems is look at the symptoms, and think about why, proactively solving clear problems. For example, a common sleep issue for those on swing shifts or constantly traveling is trouble sleeping. Solutions like artificial light glasses are available, but the true medical value is in debate. However, if look at each issue as a proof – based exercise – spend a little money, use a product – then you get better sleep, clearly it works for you.

 

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