Is this normal?

Old 02-20-2010, 02:54 AM
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Is this normal?

It's Saturday, I went to bed around midnight, and at 5:30 this morning... I was wide awake with my brain spinning and no hope of going back to sleep. I have heard that when one quits drinking completely, sleep disorders are common. How long does this last? Doesn't matter if I exercise for an hour or so and tire myself out, I seem unable to sleep a full night.
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Old 02-20-2010, 03:03 AM
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Worn out by booze
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I believe it depends on how long you have been drinking and hopw old you are.
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Old 02-20-2010, 03:16 AM
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Well that just sucks! I am 50 and have been drinking for years! :-(
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Old 02-20-2010, 03:39 AM
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Worn out by booze
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Your brain has spent years being sedated in the evening before bed. The alcohol was what, after a while, was making you sleep. Therefore the brain has to get used to feeling tired itself.

It will get easier with time.
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Old 02-20-2010, 04:43 AM
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Hello Chrome, I don't know how long you have stopped drinking, but insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns are very frequent in early sobriety and it will get better with time. To what extent it will improve and how long it will take is individual, so noone can majke predictions on it. I know this sucks, but eventually your will get tired enought to fall asleep.

In the end it is worth the trouble- even just a few hours of sober sleep are way healthier and more restoring for your body and mind than falling asleep intoxicated for the whole night.

I think for many, there are several factors that are involved. Some of it is messed up brain chemistry, some of it can also be mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal related anxiety,and your body and mind just being used to be "knocked out" by alcohol in the evening. And last but not least, getting sober involves that unprocessed thoughts and feelings that were supressed by alcohol are now emerging when you lie in bed at night and want to rest.
Hang in there, even if exercise doesn't help as much as you hope for, it is definitely beneficial. Trying to find a new evening routine can help, like going to bed regularly around the same time, introducing a "before bedtime" routine to wind down f.e. Some people take a bath, some have a chamomille tea, some listen to relaxing music etc.

You have been drinking for years, and it needs time to recover, but it is not impossible and it has been a good decision to quit drinking. So even if the lack of sleep is particularly frustrating at the moment, give it time and hang in there. It's worth it. Hope you can find better sleep soon
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Old 02-20-2010, 04:51 AM
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I agree with littlestranger, Mike - it's very common and in most cases it seems to usually rights itself - but if it doesn't, or you feel at all concerned now, a dr is always a good call - of course be sure to be honest about your recovery if you do that


Last edited by Dee74; 02-20-2010 at 05:09 AM.
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Old 02-20-2010, 05:04 AM
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Hey there,

I am 52 and quit drinking after 40 years or so about 17 months ago. I know very well of what you speak about the spinning thoughts.

It gets better, though maybe not as quickly as you'd like. By about 3-4 months I was sleeping very well. The spinning thoughts gradually went away and I wake up, most mornings, in peace.

Yes, early on, it just does suck!

Keep up with the exercise, avoid caffiene, nicotine, read before bed, listen to mellow music (there are some good meditation/relaxation CD's, which helped me alot...)... Some people like to take melatonin or valerian, though that doesn't help with the spinning thoughts so much.

See your doctor. If you trust him/her, tell him what you're up to. Maybe they can help with getting your wake-sleep cycles normalized... just for the short term, and avoid the habit forming stuff if possible, you could just get dependent on that... but if your honest and open with the doctor, they should understand that already.

Welcome to SR!

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