Tag Archive: Sleep

  1. How Sleep Can Help Your Teen Improve Their Mental Health

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    How Sleep Can Help Your Teen Improve Their Mental Health

    As a parent of a teen who struggles with mental health and addiction, there are many ways you can help them heal and thrive. One aspect of their life that is significantly beneficial is sleep. Getting enough quality sleep can help teens learn new things, recover from trauma, and maintain good mental health.

    Although it will likely take time, ideally, your teen will begin to self-manage their sleep and prioritize it. As a parent, you can help them learn how to build self-care practices into their lives that will benefit their physical and mental health throughout their lives.

    The Importance of Sleep for Mental Health

    Sleep can help your teen improve their mental health in many ways. As a parent, you likely have seen changes in their mood and behavior when they do not get enough sleep. By improving their sleep, your teen can decrease the risk and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, sleep helps them to improve their cognitive abilities, attention, and emotional regulation, all of which are important in recovery.

    Anxiety and Depression

    There are many ways to help your teen manage anxiety and depression. A unique combination of factors will impact these specific mental health challenges. Research has found that sleep is often a contributing factor in developing anxiety and depression. Teens whose sleep is disrupted or who are not getting enough are more likely to experience symptoms of both disorders.

    The connection between sleep and mental health symptoms is a result of changes that occur in the brain when sleep is disrupted, or from a lack of sleep. When your teen does not get adequate sleep, their adrenaline and cortisol rise. These changes affect how they feel.

    Cognitive Abilities and Attention

    Your teen’s ability to think clearly and focus is important for addiction recovery, success in school, and learning new skills. However, these abilities can be negatively impacted if they are not getting the proper amount and quality of sleep that they need.

    Research studies have also found that a lack of sleep decreases an individual’s mental health by decreasing attention, logical reasoning, and short-term memory. Therefore, by getting enough sleep, your teen will be more capable in school and at home to learn new things and face challenges.

    Emotional Regulation

    As a parent, you know that emotional regulation is a skill that teens are in the process of learning. It takes time for them to manage their emotions. While part of the challenge is due to their developmental stage, sleep can also play a role. When teens do not get an adequate amount of sleep, their ability to regulate emotions is greatly diminished. Therefore, by helping them to improve their sleep, they will be more capable to work through emotional challenges.

    Mental Health and Addiction

    Many teens with mental health challenges also struggle with addiction. As a parent, you want the best for your teen. One way of doing so is to help support them in building a good foundation of mental health. This is generally a combination of self-care practices, professional assistance, medication, and other things.

    By helping your teen improve their mental health, you are also decreasing their risk of substance misuse and developing addiction. Mental health disorders can cause symptoms that make teens reach for substances to manage. Additionally, the changes in the brain due to mental health disorders can put your teen at a higher risk for addiction. Therefore, improving sleep can help manage their mental health and decrease their risk of addiction and/or relapse.

    Helping Your Teen Build Self-Care Practices for Mental Health

    Providing a foundation of support for your teen can be difficult. However, your support in helping them learn and build self-care skills will have lasting effects. The first step to helping your teen build better self-care practices is to open up communication. Talk with them about the value and importance of self-care. Depending on the situation, some of these conversations can be had with a mental health care professional who helps you navigate.

    The next step is to help your teen create new patterns and behaviors that improve their self-care. To improve sleep, this might include creating a sleep or bedtime routine, improving exercise habits, and talking about electronic use. All of these things play a role in your teen’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. These changes are not easy to make, and your teen will likely struggle with one or many of them. However, you can help them make a plan, and, with practice, their skills will improve.

    It is important to remember that you are working with your teen. This means helping them take responsibility for their actions. Your assistance and support are invaluable for their success; however, they need to put in the work and believe in the plan for it to be successful.

    Getting an adequate amount of sleep is extremely important for healing from mental health challenges and addiction. It will help your teen build and maintain good mental health. When your teen struggles with mental health or addiction, sleep is particularly important. At Sustain Recovery, we believe that, in treatment, teens need to learn skills that help them heal and maintain their mental health throughout their lives. Therefore, we help them to improve self-care routines that they can take home. However, as a parent, you can help them manage and adjust these routines over time. To learn more about our programs and services designed to help your child succeed, call us today at (949) 407-9052.

  2. How Addiction Impacts Sleep for Adolescents

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    How Addiction Impacts Sleep for Adolescents

    Substance use disorder (SUD) in adolescents affects their lives in many negative ways, including impacting their sleep. However, simultaneously, poor sleep can put adolescents at risk for substance use, addiction, and other mental health challenges. Improving sleep helps with symptoms of addiction in adolescents and is important to help them heal.

    Helping adolescents get better sleep is challenging. However, with practice, adolescents can form new routines and a structure that supports their sleep goals. When adolescents understand the value of better sleep, they are more likely to prioritize the changes that help.

    Impact of Addiction on Sleep

    When adolescents use substances and struggle with addiction, their lives are disrupted. In particular, the circadian rhythm — the 24-hour clock that cues the body when to sleep, eat, be alert, and more — is affected. However, the impact on the circadian rhythm varies depending on the substance that is used. For example, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and opioids all have varying impacts on sleep. However, regardless of the substance, adolescents who are struggling with addiction of any kind are likely to have an altered sleep schedule as a result.


    The category of stimulants covers a large range of drugs. This varies from commonly used substances like caffeine to highly addictive substances like cocaine. When an adolescent is using stimulants of any kind, they are jolting their body and brain awake. Due to the substance waking the body and brain up, stimulants used later in the day, even as simple as a coffee or energy drink, can disrupt an adolescent’s sleep that night.

    Additionally, addiction to stimulants can create a pattern that fully disrupts sleep and adds to the difficulty of quitting. When an adolescent has used stimulants for a long time, one of the withdrawal symptoms that can cause continued use is sleepiness. Fortunately, with abstinence and improved sleep patterns, an adolescent can regain their natural circadian rhythm, and, over time, these withdrawal symptoms will fade.

    Depressants and Sedatives

    Some of the most commonly used depressants and sedatives are alcohol and marijuana. While it is known that both can help an adolescent fall asleep, the quality of sleep over time can suffer.

    A research study published in 2019 considered the impact of both alcohol and marijuana as sleep aids on college students. Their findings indicate that alcohol, while being perceived by some as a substance that can help with sleep, had little to no difference. Additionally, individuals using marijuana as a sleep aid were able to improve sleep duration, but the quality of sleep was lower, increasing fatigue the following day.

    While more research is needed to better understand these effects, depressants and sedatives are both addictive substances that can negatively impact an adolescent’s sleep.


    As a primary drug used for pain management, opioids are a highly addictive class of drugs. Adolescents who struggle with opioid addiction will struggle with many difficulties that come with opioid use, including disrupted sleep. Opioids disrupt sleep by not allowing the brain to access rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. In turn, this impacts an adolescent’s natural processing that needs to occur during REM sleep. Additionally, the lack of natural sleep patterns can create ongoing sleepiness and fatigue for adolescents.

    How Sleep Impacts Addiction Recovery

    In addition to addiction impacting sleep, sleep also impacts addiction and recovery in multiple ways. Therefore, by improving sleep, adolescents can manage their risk of relapse and overall mental health, making improved sleep an important part of treatment and recovery for adolescents.

    Risk of Relapse and Future Addiction Difficulties

    When an adolescent is struggling with addiction, treatment needs to include lifestyle changes that will stave off relapse in the future. Having an effective strategy surrounding sleep is one of these skills.

    It is common and normal for an adolescent’s sleep to become disrupted by addiction. During treatment, they are likely to have disrupted sleep due to cravings and withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol. However, according to research, poor sleep quality makes it more difficult for adolescents to learn new coping and regulation skills that are vital in managing their risk of relapse. Therefore, by improving sleep, adolescents have a better chance of learning the necessary skills for a successful recovery.

    Mental Health

    Managing mental health is a primary necessity for adolescents who are struggling with addiction. Many practices help mental health, and getting an adequate amount of quality sleep is one of them, helping adolescents to decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and more. Therefore, by getting enough sleep, adolescents are more likely to feel alert, awake, and ready for their day.

    While they may have ups and downs, getting good sleep helps to maintain their mood and process challenges that occur in their lives without feeling the need to reach for substances to cope.

    Substance use in adolescents has many negative ramifications, such as disrupting their sleep. Fortunately, when adolescents improve their sleep hygiene, it can help them to stay sober, care for their needs as adolescents, and develop healthy routines into adulthood. At Sustain Recovery, we use evidence-based treatments that integrate holistic modalities with clinical interventions. We understand that healing from addiction and mental health disorders is not a one-step process. As a result, along with other treatment modalities, we help adolescents build skills to improve sleep and overall quality of life. To learn more about our levels of care, treatment programs, and facility, call us today at (949) 407-9052 to speak with a staff member.

  3. The Value of Sleep For Adolescents Healing From Trauma

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    The Value of Sleep For Adolescents Healing From Trauma

    Many adolescents experience some sort of trauma in their lives. While trauma can include physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, adolescents can also experience trauma by witnessing events that cause distress. Frequently, these traumatic experiences can cause issues falling asleep and staying asleep. However, for adolescents to heal from trauma, they need to get adequate sleep on a regular basis. Getting a sufficient amount of quality sleep helps adolescents to process memories and improve overall mental health. By working with health care professionals, adolescents can improve their sleep by undergoing trauma treatment, working on mental health issues, and creating new routines around sleep.

    Effect of Trauma on Sleep

    When an adolescent experiences trauma, they are impacted in many ways. This often leads to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep due to nightmares or frequent wake-ups. However, each adolescent will have their own experience and will face different challenges depending on multiple variables such as age, type of trauma, and predisposition.

    Falling Asleep

    Experiencing trauma causes physiological changes in individuals of all ages, including adolescents. These changes are a response to trauma. In a survival sense, this is very helpful because it cues the brain and body to be prepared for danger. However, after the event has passed, ideally, the body and mind will be able to shift back to feeling safe.

    When the physical arousal does not diminish, it becomes very hard to relax as the body does not feel safe. However, sleep is naturally consolidated into times and places when a person feels safe. Therefore, the physiological reaction to trauma causes changes that make it difficult for adolescents to fall asleep. This leads to many sleepless nights that create fatigue, lack of focus, and many other mental and physical health challenges.

    Staying Asleep

    Sleeping enough entails being able to fall asleep and stay asleep. However, after adolescents experience trauma, having nightmares and waking up regularly through the night becomes more common. While this experience will be unique for each individual, these disruptions change the type of sleep they are getting.

    One theory that helps shine a light on these sleep disturbances is the “threat simulation theory” regarding dreaming. According to this theory, after events that are or feel threatening, the part of the brain that assesses and manages threats increases its activation. According to research, this is one reason why many adolescents who experience trauma struggle to stay asleep, as this activation increases their chances of nightmares which they may or may not remember. These nightmares commonly cause them to suddenly wake up.

    Importance of Sleep in Healing From Trauma

    When an adolescent is struggling with trauma, they experience symptoms of ongoing distress like anxiety or fear. Additionally, unprocessed trauma can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which leads to intrusive thoughts, triggers, and memories associated with the traumatic event. Therefore, when an adolescent is healing from trauma, they need to both process their memories and decrease their feelings of distress. Sleep can help with both.

    Consolidation of Memories

    The consolidation of memories can be thought of as memories or experiences being organized and woven into a person’s understanding of life. Adolescents, and individuals of all ages, process memories in several ways, one of which is sleep. Research has found that during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, individuals consolidate emotionally toned memories. These are the memories that have emotions attached to them. Therefore, during sleeping hours, these memories are processed and separated from their emotional tone. This results in decreased reactivity to the memory.

    Decrease Distress

    Experiencing consistent distress is exhausting. While distress is a natural and healthy response during dangerous situations, for many adolescents, it is persistent after trauma. Therefore, an important part of healing is finding ways to decrease distress.

    Sleep is one way that helps adolescents heal from the distress caused by trauma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an inadequate amount of sleep increases an individual’s risk of frequent distress. Therefore, when adolescents improve their sleep, they are more likely to feel less distress, which can help them heal from trauma.

    How Adolescents Can Improve Sleep

    Improving sleep quality and quantity can feel daunting, especially for adolescents. However, there are several simple and effective ways that can help. First, getting an adequate amount of exercise helps adolescents to burn off some energy during the day. This helps them to feel more tired and relaxed when they head to bed.

    Additionally, adolescents can begin to build healthy habits by creating a bedtime routine. This will look different for each individual; however, it often includes turning off electronics 30-60 minutes before bed and finding a way to relax. Many adolescents need to try different options until they find a routine that is helpful for them.

    Sleep is often disrupted for adolescents who have experienced trauma that causes insomnia or nightmares. However, improving sleep quality and quantity is necessary for adolescents to heal. For adolescents who have experienced trauma, it is important for them to build new and healthy habits that help them to heal. This includes finding methods that improve their sleep. At Sustain Recovery, we work with adolescents who struggle with trauma, mental health disorders, and addiction. We help our clients create life skills that will help them heal and manage life into adulthood. To learn more about our programs and levels of care, call us today at (949) 407-9052 and speak with a member of our staff.

  4. Carving Out a Routine While the World Feels Chaotic

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    The ramifications of COVID-19 have made daily life anything but routine. Many people have experienced disruptions in their work schedules, loss of jobs, and changes in when and where school occurs. When daily schedules become disrupted through no fault of your own, it can cause stress and resentment. While the beginning of the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine has begun, giving hope that things will return to a more normalized version of life, society still has a ways to go before social distancing rules are relaxed or disappear altogether.

    In the meantime, it’s important to remember that the pandemic need not usurp all of your power over your day-to-day life. Despite restrictions that cannot be avoided, you can still redesign your regular routine and stick to it. Keeping a schedule helps reduce stress, gives a sense of autonomy, and assists in normalizing a topsy-turvy world. Give some thought to what your old schedule was like, how it is now, and how you can make the most of coming up with a new one that feels reliable and helps you accomplish what needs to be done while allowing for downtime. 

    What’s Eating You?

    One of the most common disruptions in a person’s daily life caused by the pandemic takes place in the kitchen. Eating junk food may feel comforting in the moment, but a culmination of poor dietary choices adds up. All-day snacking can also become a habit that robs people of healthy food choices. Make an effort to commit to regular meal times and conscious choices that draw from several food groups. While there is nothing wrong with occasional snacking or high-calorie indulgences, relying on a general practice of eating well and at regular times helps cement a reliable routine.

    Exercise on a Regular Basis

    Regular exercise helps keep your body in good shape and provides a great way to release stress. If you already had an established workout routine, COVID-19 may have impacted it via gym closures, canceled exercise classes, or difficulty social distancing while working out in public. If you’ve avoided exercise, investigate ways to incorporate it into your schedule. The internet offers a plethora of instructional videos that appeal to those who want to work out solo or with a group. Hit your app store for similar offerings and you may be surprised how quickly a good workout can become habitual. 

    Hobbies Offer a Respite From Daily Stressors

    When the initial quarantining began last spring, one of the chief complaints from newly homebound people was boredom. Engaging in hobbies gives the mind something reliable to count on, which helps pass the time and lessens anxiety. If you have neglected an old hobby you used to enjoy, schedule time to start up again. If you are looking for a new hobby, take stock of choices that interest you and pick one. Most needed supplies can be procured via a quick trip to a shop or ordered online and delivered. Youtube has videos that teach just about any skill set, such as playing an instrument, knitting, painting, woodworking, and a host of other choices. 

    In order to ensure that you don’t neglect your hobby time, add it to your calendar so you get reminders. Choose a doable amount of time for each session and how many times per week you want to pursue your hobby and treat that block of time like a work meeting or household chore that must be done. 

    Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule

    Having a job with regular hours or kids who have specific school hours makes it easier to keep a sleep schedule. If you are dealing with unemployment or another reason that your sleep schedule is compromised, make it a priority to address it. Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day helps with your circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. 

    While daily life may not be the same these days, knowing that you can count on getting into and out of bed at the same time every day offers the comfort of a routine and the benefits of regular sleep. If insomnia interrupts your ability to get a good night’s sleep, talk to your doctor about options. Many people find that writing in a journal or doing yoga or meditation before bedtime helps release the day’s stress and empty the mind of worrisome thoughts that keep you from drifting off. Playing white noise such as the sound of rain, waves at the beach, or a desk fan helps many as they lie in bed ready to slumber. Plenty of free apps offer many sound options to help a person drift off.

    One of the most common concerns related to quarantining and other effects stemming from COVID-19 concerns the loss of daily schedules. Schedules offer you continuity and a reliable plan for each day. If you find yourself floundering with a schedule that doesn’t work for you or no schedule at all, look at each aspect of your day and decide how and when to incorporate it so that you have a sense of continuity. Sustain Recovery offers several programs for adolescents struggling with addiction and mental health issues that each contain tried and true schedules. We offer partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, residential, and extended care programs in our Southern California location. We offer multi-faceted options including holistic, 12-Step meetings, and schooling. If your clients have tried other programs but found they weren’t a good fit, call us now at (949) 407-9052 to discuss how we can help.

I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

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