How to manage sleep with a prescribed drug addiction

How to manage sleep with a prescribed drug addiction

Prescribed Drug AddictionSleep problems and drug addiction go hand-in-hand. Many people find themselves addicted to prescription drugs because of sleep problems while many people find themselves experiencing sleep problems because they are addicted to prescription drugs. This cyclical system of addiction and sleep disruption has led doctors to study the links between the two, and try to find solutions for those who are struggling.


Sleep problems, such as insomnia, are 5-10 times higher in people addicted to substances than in the general population. These people have trouble falling and staying asleep. People have been known to relapse and have trouble continuing with their recovery because of their inability to have restful sleep. This is not a sustainable way to live.


People who deal with insomnia are often willing to try anything to get a good night’s sleep, including turning to drugs. Insomnia can even create psychological disorders that eventually require the help of sleep aids. The problem is that some of the sleep-inducing prescription medications are addictive: people begin to rely on them for sleep on a regular basis, over the long term.

Alcohol and Sleep

Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, meaning that it has a calming effect on the body, which often leads people to feel drowsy and sleepy. Some people use alcohol to help lull themselves to sleep; some of them even become addicted to doing so. Alcohol, however, can create and exacerbate sleep apnea. When mixed with prescription CNS depressant drugs, alcohol can become a very dangerous substance because the two substances will boost each other’s depressant properties and cause the person to slip into a coma, or for their organs to slow to a halt. It is very important that people who are taking prescription drugs, and especially those who are addicted to them, do not drink alcohol.

Sleep Aids

There are prescription drugs that will help with sleep-associated problems. The key is to not become addicted to them, as many people who need sleep aids need them because of addiction issues. There are some antidepressants that are prescribed to aid in achieving a good night’s sleep. They should be taken only with a doctor’s supervision, and for short periods of time. Doctors are working on creating non-addictive sleep aids so that addiction and sleep disruptions need no longer be linked.

What Can I Do To Help Myself Fall Asleep?

There are natural alternatives to sleep aids that are non-addictive and completely safe, and they are worth integrating into your sleep practices, even if you take prescription medications for your sleep issues. They include:


  • avoid caffeine, especially after lunch time
  • don’t exercise in the evenings; get a good workout in the morning – by evening, you should be tired
  • meditate
  • eliminate electronics from your bedroom: take the TV out of your room, leave your cell phone and tablets out as well. The blue lights from screens make it hard for our eyes to rest, and the brain activity induced by electronics is hard to calm down and shut off
  • listen to calming sounds, or get a white noise machine
  • practice relaxing techniques to slow your breathing and calm yourself naturally
  • get cognitive therapy which realigns your relationship with sleep and your belief about sleep


If you suffer from prescription drug-related sleep issues, talk to your doctor and make sure they are aware of your issues and your substance dependency history so they can offer the right solutions for your particular problems.

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