Connections between Sleep and Substance Use Disorders

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Sleep and substance use disorders (SUDs) are intricately linked in various ways. Over the last few decades, it has been shown that people who suffer from SUDs are more likely to have trouble sleeping, which can negatively impact their performance during the day and increase the chance of relapse. In fact, chronic relapse is closely tied to a disrupted sleep schedule, which often comes as a consequence of heavy drug consumption. That’s why understanding the connections between sleep and substance use disorders is important in order to help struggling individuals break from the addiction cycle.

If you’re looking for addiction recovery rehab, feel free to contact us at Bright Futures Boynton Beach at your earliest convenience. We have the resources and experience to help you or your loved one succeed in overcoming addiction. In addition, our rehab center is staffed by experts in addiction recovery who know what it takes to help patients succeed. We offer a variety of programs that will help you recover from your addiction, and our staff is available to help you every step of the way. If you’re looking for a treatment center that can help you overcome your addiction, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Why is sleep important

Sleep helps the brain and body recover and restore, which is why it’s essential for our health and overall well-being. Studies show that the immune system is the most active during sleep, which can help prevent diseases. Furthermore, sleep requires a number of different beneficial bodily functions to take place. The brain needs to be chemically cleaned, and rejuvenated, while the nervous system is on hold while we’re sleeping. Also,  the eyes, ears, and other sensory organs need to rest. The body needs to repair and build muscle tissue, and to recharge for the next day.

sleeping woman
Good sleep is important for your overall health.

When a person has a healthy sleep schedule, the following benefits occur:

  • Reduced stress levels.
  • More energy for the next day.
  • Conscious emotional responses.
  • Improved cognitive processes.
  • Clear speech.

On the other hand, lack of sleep causes a myriad of problems like fatigue, mood swings, and a decrease in productivity. It can also increase the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases associated with disrupted sleep. In cases of severe addictions, there are either problems with too little or too much sleep.

How is disrupted sleep associated with SUD

Sleep deprivation and chronic sleepiness are all signs of poor sleep quality. When a person, in addition, has addiction problems, those problems become more prominent. This comes to light, especially in cases of self-withdrawal, where an addict attempts to become drug-free on their own. However, one of the symptoms happens to be insomnia. On the other hand, poor sleep quality is linked to a higher risk of further engaging in drug abuse. When the brain doesn’t get the regular dose it’s been used to for months (or years),  it enters the state of adaptation. That being said, the entire biochemistry turns into a mess. That’s why physical and emotional pain paired with the inability to fall asleep pushes the struggling individual into a relapse to ease the unpleasant sensations. This is why sleep regulation s important in addiction recovery.

dizzy girl
The connections between sleep and substance use disorders are important to understand.

The scientists agree on the link between sleep and SUDs

Researchers have investigated connections between sleep disturbances and various substance use disorders. They have found that sleep disturbances could be a risk factor for developing a SUD, as well as a potential marker of the severity of existing SUDs. For example, one study looked at people with alcohol use disorders who were in a recovery program. This study found that the severity of sleep disturbances was associated with the severity of alcohol use disorders. Another study found that people addicted to hard drugs who reported poor sleep quality had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The research exploring the link between sleep and SUDs suggests that sleep disturbances may be an important factor to consider when assessing the severity of substance use disorders in patients. In addition, it’s essential when designing individual rehab programs.

Ways substances cause sleep disturbances

Substance abuse can severely impact the quality of sleep. Alcohol, drugs, and other substances can alter the natural sleep cycle and interfere with the normal functioning of the sleep center in the brain. Moreover, substance abuse can also create vivid and disturbing dreams, which can lead to anxiety and restless sleep. In addition, substances can cause physical withdrawal symptoms, such as tremors, sweating, and headache, which can further disrupt sleep.


Cocaine affects sleep in a number of ways. For one, it causes an increase in energy levels. This can make it difficult to fall asleep, and it can also lead to restless nights. It also suppresses the appetite and causes euphoria, which can make it difficult to sleep. Due to its negative impact on sleep, cocaine can lead to fatigue and decreased productivity. Disruptions in the sleep cycle, even insomnia, are especially associated with cocaine abuse. It can also increase the risk of developing sleep apnea, a condition in which people stop breathing at night. In addition, cocaine use can increase the risk of having abnormal dreams and nightmares due to disruption of the natural sleep cycle.

Prescription stimulants

Prescription drug abuse and sleep disruptions have a complex relationship. Abusing prescription drugs, especially sedatives, painkillers, and stimulants, can lead to sleep disruptions and insomnia. These drugs can interfere with the normal functioning of the brain and disrupt the sleep-wake cycle, making it difficult for individuals to fall or stay asleep. Additionally, withdrawal from prescription drugs can also cause sleep disturbances, leading to further insomnia and other sleep disorders.

On the other hand, sleep disruptions can also lead to prescription drug abuse. People who suffer from sleep disturbances may seek relief by using prescription drugs, leading to a vicious cycle of sleep disruptions and drug abuse. Furthermore, the use of prescription drugs as a sleep aid can quickly lead to dependence and abuse, especially if the drugs are used over an extended period. Thanks to Florida prescription drugs addiction treatment, this problem can be tackled.

assorted substances on a table
Each harmful substance disrupts sleep in a different way.


Alcohol is a depressant that makes you feel physically and mentally relaxed. When you drink alcohol it affects the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain that are involved in feelings of pleasure and relaxation (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine). As alcohol also depresses your appetite, you will probably have less desire to eat, making it harder for you to get the nutrients your brain needs for a good night’s sleep. It also has the side effect of suppressing your immune system, making you more susceptible to viruses, bacteria, etc. People who tend to be more sensitive to these external stimuli may be more likely to become sick or have an accident when they are sleep-deprived.


The THC in marijuana (the ingredient that causes the feelings of “high”) then binds to specific receptors in the brain, altering your perception of time and space, and making you feel as if you are awake even when you are asleep. Due to the fact that THC affects the same parts of the brain that are involved in regulating sleep, you are more likely to have sleep disturbances when you use marijuana. Apart from interfering with sleep, marijuana may also impact depression, anxiety, and psychotic disorders. Research has shown that people who use frequently abuse marijuana are more likely to suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD), a condition that causes impulsive behavior, difficulty focusing on one thing at a time, and various other associated symptoms.

Reasons why sleep problems negatively affect addiction recovery

In addition to increasing the risk of substance use disorders and health issues, poor sleep quality is also associated with lower rates of success in substance use disorder treatment. Neuroscientists agree that sleep disturbances are largely unrecognized barriers to complete addiction recovery. This is why many modern rehab centers began to consider the effects of poor sleep in the assessment and treatment planning for incoming patients. Addressing sleep disturbances during the recovery process increases the success rate for patients with SUDs.

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Disrupted sleep has a negative impact on physical and mental health.

Impulsivity is common among individuals with addiction problems

Lack of sleep is one of the most common outcomes of substance addiction. For alcohol and drug addicts, lack of sleep can also lead to impulsiveness and an inability to regulate emotions. Sudden reactions without thinking things through first are more frequent than not. As previously mentioned, sleep disturbances affect physiological processes at large and put a lot of stress on the entire body.

Lack of sleep has a negative impact on cognitive performance

Other negative impacts of addiction and lack of sleep are impaired memory, poor decision-making, and chronic fatigue. Also, pre-existing mental health problems arise as a result. Paranoia, aggressive behavior, and hallucinations become exacerbated. Hence why it’s difficult to convince a struggling individual to go into rehab.

Treat sleep disorders and substance abuse disorders at one of the renowned rehab centers

The best way to overcome the cluster of problems tied to addiction disorder and sleep disturbances is to contact a professional drug and alcohol rehab Florida center. Inquire about their treatments and admission process. The rehab center you choose must offer all in one place for a successful recovery:

  • Medical detox
  • Various types of psychotherapy
  • Post-rehab treatments
  • Comfortable facilities
  • Sober living homes
  • Qualified staff

Rehab begins with a medical detox

Before the detoxification, the patient is evaluated upon arrival at the treatment center. The patient undergoes general analyzes for the presence of drugs, coexisting physical conditions, or mental illnesses. . Since it’s done at the treatment center, the clinicians will be able to help the patient throughout the detoxification process.

patient therapists explaining connections between sleep and substance use disorders
Various therapies represent integral part of every rehab program.

Stabilization is the longest phase and in cases of detoxification from hard drugs, it can take up to 10 weeks. Special medication is involved to reduce the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms. Therapy sessions are also conducted so the patient can persist in the detox. The final stage of detoxification is the mental preparation of the patient for the upcoming recovery treatments (Adderall addiction treatment, cocaine rehab program, etc.).

The advantages of inpatient rehab

Intensive inpatient rehab offers several advantages for individuals seeking treatment for substance abuse and addiction:

  • 24/7 Supervision: Inpatient rehab provides round-the-clock supervision and support, which can help individuals avoid triggers and temptations that may lead to relapse.
  • Structured Environment: An inpatient rehab setting provides a structured environment, which can help individuals establish healthy routines and habits.
  • Specific treatments: Inpatient rehab provides a comprehensive treatment that addresses not just substance abuse but also underlying mental health conditions that may contribute to addiction.
  • Medical detox: Inpatient rehab provides medical supervision during the detox process, which can be especially beneficial for individuals addicted to alcohol or drugs with severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Various types of psychotherapy: Inpatient rehab provides access to a wide range of evidence-based therapies, including individual and group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and holistic therapies like yoga and meditation.
  • Reduced risk of relapse: The controlled environment of inpatient rehab can reduce the risk of relapse by removing individuals from their regular environment, where they may be exposed to triggers and temptations.
  • Non-judgemental surrounding: Inpatient rehab provides a safe, structured, and supportive environment.

Rest assured you can find an inpatient rehab Palm Beach center where you can restore your health and learn how to maintain long-term sobriety.

Outpatient rehab is also an option

Intensive outpatient rehab (IOP) is an excellent option for those seeking treatment for substance abuse and addiction. The flexibility of this treatment allows individuals to continue with their daily activities, such as work or school while receiving treatment. This means they aren’t obligated to take a prolonged break from their daily lives. Furthermore, they can maintain a sense of normalcy and stability, and learn to manage their rehab with daily life.

redhead woman meditating
Various techniques taught at rehab center will help you restore a normal sleep schedule.

Outpatient rehab is also a cost-effective option as it is often less expensive than inpatient rehab. Additionally, outpatient rehab provides a familiar and supportive environment, allowing individuals to maintain contact with their friends and close family members. Also, each patient gets customized treatment plans that can be tailored to meet the specific needs and circumstances of each individual. Continuity of care is also possible with outpatient rehab, making it a great option for those who have completed inpatient treatment and want to maintain their sobriety and prevent relapse. Overall, IOP Palm Beach offers a flexible, cost-effective, and personalized approach to treating substance abuse and addiction. It’s as effective as inpatient treatment, with a difference in duration. Usually, outpatient rehab lasts longer.

Dual Diagnosis treatment

The combination of addiction issues and sleep disturbances is difficult to manage, and it can be very challenging to get the right treatment for both conditions. That’s why many rehab centers deploy Dual Diagnosis to help people who are struggling with both mental health and addiction issues. Dual Diagnosis patients often have trouble coping with stress, anxiety, and addiction. But with the right set of treatments, they can learn how to manage these issues and progress toward recovery.

Psychotherapy is a vital part of rehab

Psychotherapy plays a vital role in addiction recovery. Patients must address the underlying psychological and emotional factors that contribute to their substance abuse. Through psychotherapy, patients learn to identify and manage their triggers, overcome negative thoughts and behaviors, and develop healthy coping skills. They work with a trained mental health professional to explore their experiences, thoughts, and feelings related to their addiction. During specific behavioral therapies, they also learn new ways of thinking and behaving that support their recovery. In addition, they gain insight into their personal motivations and patterns and develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationships.

focused woman writing about connections between sleep and substance use disordersconnections between sleep and substance use disorders
Once the connections between sleep and substance use disorders are established, it’s easier to curate a rehab plan.

Moreover, psychotherapy provides a safe and supportive environment for individuals to discuss their struggles and receive guidance and encouragement. It’s also a big part of couples rehab in Florida.

Aftercare and sleep management

Effective sleep management is crucial for those in aftercare rehab treatment. Poor sleep can contribute to stress, anxiety, and depression, all of which can trigger a relapse. On the other hand, good sleep helps to improve mental and physical health, increase focus and productivity, and boost overall well-being. Aftercare rehab programs offer a range of sleep management techniques to help individuals achieve and maintain healthy sleep habits. These may include:

  • sleep hygiene education
  • stress management techniques
  • yoga
  • meditation

Additionally, aftercare programs provide ongoing support to individuals in order to help them navigate the challenges and triggers that may arise during the recovery process. This may include individual therapy, support groups, and access to medical and psychiatric services as needed. By offering a comprehensive approach to sleep management and aftercare, rehab programs help individuals achieve and maintain long-term recovery from substance abuse and addiction.

woman doing yoga
Yoga and other supplementary activities can help with sleep.

Learn more about insurance coverage options

Most insurance plans do cover some or all of the cost of alcohol rehab. However, the extent of coverage depends on several factors, which is why it’s best to check with your insurance provider to understand your specific coverage. So, before you ask whether AmeriHealth covers drug rehab, find out if you are an eligible candidate.

The same goes for any other insurance plan you choose. For example, if you want to apply for Cigna, ask if Cigna covers drug rehab, and what treatments it includes. Then, check if you tick everything from their list of requirements.

Insurance coverage and alcohol rehab

The majority of insurance plans cover the cost of medically-supervised detox and residential alcohol rehab program. It’s important to check with your insurance provider to understand your specific coverage for alcohol rehab. The question is does insurance cover alcohol rehab at a rehab facility you choose? So, make sure to contact the staff for more information.

calm man outdoors
Rehab is the chance for a healthier, drug-free life.

Research multiple insurance plans to find the suitable ones

So, does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover rehab? To what extent? Do you qualify for it? These are two crucial questions to ask when researching any insurance plan. That’s why it’s good to know about multiple insurance options you can apply for.

Let’s say that, for some reason, your proposal gets rejected. In that case, you can simply check does Aetna cover rehab, for example, and make another proposal. You can ask the staff at rehab centers for more information about other plans they accept. Moreover, they often offer help with paperwork.

What about rehab for veterans?

If you are a veteran or related to one, you can apply for Tricare insurance coverage. Just check does Tricare cover drug rehab at a few rehab centers. After that, decide where will you start rehab.


Sleep problems are linked to higher impulsivity and cognitive performance. They also make it harder for people to filter out distractions and make good decisions. When people don’t get enough sleep, they may also be more likely to engage in further substance use and risky behaviors. Studies have also found connections between sleep and substance use disorders, and how these two issues intertwine. That being said, both problems must be treated simultaneously. Only that way a patient can restore biochemistry, cope with daily challenges, and stay drug-free long-term. It’s important that treatments take place in specialized centers staffed with experts. Bright Futures Treatment Center is the place that has the staff, equipment, and experience required. Don’t hesitate to contact us and make the first steps toward recovery!

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