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How long does it take for your body to go back to a proper sleep cycle after using drugs for 5 years?

By February 8, 2013 - 6:17pm
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I was addicted to crack-cocaine and presciption opiates for about 5 years off and on. I've been clean from illegal drug use for 2 years now and I have been on the methadone maintenance program for 2 1/2 years. Not only do I have insomnia, but I was diagnosed with central and obstructive sleep apnea in May 2012. My doctor told me that sleep apnea can sometimes be common in methadone patients, however the insomnia is unrelated. When I was using drugs I would stay awake for days at a time, sometimes up to 6 nights without sleep and I spent years staying up all night and sleeping all day. When I first stopped using drugs I was very tired and I slept a lot. However, after 2 years I still do not feel as though my body is on a normal sleep cycle. I don't get tired until between 2 and 4am and I can't phsycally function unless I sleep until at least 10am, sometimes later if possible. I don't know why I can't fall asleep at 11pm or even midnight at the latest and get up at 8am. I've been dealing with this for over a year, and I've tried many different things, but nothing is working and I don't want to take medication to fall asleep. I took medication for sleep while I was using drugs and for about 8 months after being clean and it was very difficult to stop. My biggest question is I want to know if my drug abuse messed up my bodies sleep cycle so much so that I am still paying the price for it now, or is that long gone and this insomnia is caused by something else? Could it be that taking sleeping pills has permanently messed up my sleep too?

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Hello ashluvzlin,

You must be congratulated on being clean for two years. That cannot be easy.
You know that old saying "Rome wasn't built in a day"? Five years of drug abuse reeked havoc on your body...it is going to take as much time to undo the damage.

Take it one day at a time. Gradually, your body will heal and get back to normal, including a normal sleep pattern. Are you physically active during the day?
Give this a try-- wake up at the same time each day; engage in some degree of physical activity during the day, at least 30 minutes, eat a healthy diet and go to bed at the same time each day. Over time, your body will adjust to this new pattern.

Wishing you only the best,


February 8, 2013 - 6:34pm
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