Insomnia is the inability to sleep. Sleep is extremely important to overall health and well-being, so not having enough sleep may lead to many problems.

When recovering from substance use disorders, having sleep difficulties is common in early recovery, and may even contribute to relapse. Furthermore, insufficient sleep is linked to hallucinations and psychosis. 

The Effect of Sleeplessness on One’s Psychological Health

Not sleeping for extended periods may produce an array of negative experiences, such as hallucinations and psychosis. Hallucinations include sounds, sensations, or images that seem very real when they are not there.

Symptoms of psychosis, which are delusional or disturbed thinking detached from reality, have a positive relationship with sleeplessness meaning that they increase with the amount of time that someone is awake. The psychosis begins with minor hallucinations and then develops into acute psychosis. However, these experiences usually resolve after a period of healthy sleep. 

The Relationship Between Sleep Issues and Substance Use

Insomnia-type symptoms are present among about one-third of the U.S. population. Substance use is linked to intensifying sleep problems, which in turn presents a risk factor for subsequent substance use disorders (SUDs) or relapses.

Types of sleep issues vary due to the substance used, and include:

  • Sleep latency, which is the time it takes one to fall asleep
  • Hypersomnia, or excessive sleepiness in the daytime
  • Insomnia, or inability to sleep
  • Disturbances in sleep cycles, or being unable to stay asleep

Many individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) experience insomnia before developing alcoholism. Therefore, some individuals in recovery from AUD may continue having sleep issues, including insomnia, for weeks or even years after stopping their substance use.

Unfortunately, sleep issues persist among individuals battling SUDs related to drugs as well, such as opioids or cocaine. 

How to Maintain Healthy Sleep Patterns: Entering Treatment May Be the Answer

The best natural ways to obtain healthy sleep patterns include cultivating a calm and relaxing environment to sleep in, journaling your thoughts, and exercising regularly. However, these methods may not always be enough, and alternative methods such as therapy may be necessary to help with sleep issues, particularly following recovery from SUDs.

The recognized association between insomnia and substance use or relapse calls for treatment that addresses insomnia during recovery. It is also imperative to address other psychological, social, and medical problems that may contribute to insomnia.


At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.