I have been clean from opiates for over 5 and a half years, but the memory of my insomnia from my opiate withdrawal will haunt me forever. Insomnia was by far my worst symptom. I consider myself a pretty strong-willed guy and I can take a lot of pain, but lack of sleep over a long period of time was very hard for me to overcome. Obviously I was able to do so, but it took some time. Sleep is an extremely important for the body to function properly and the lack of sleep can cause many problems.
People contact me every day from all over the world asking advice for symptoms related to opiate withdrawal. I have spoken to thousands of people and I often hear may of the same issues. One symptom that most opiates addicts in recovery face is the lack of sleep or insomnia. When your body is unable to sleep, it affects all functions of the body. The first thing that starts to change is obviously your energy and mood. People begin to feel extremely fatigued and restless. I remember laying down being so tired, but unable to sleep. I could hardly keep my eyes closed because I couldn't lay still or keep my head from spinning with thoughts. I remember punching pillows and screaming because I was so tired and was unable to sleep. The frustration from the lack of sleep is very real.
It's important to understand that you have done damage to your brain chemicals from abusing opiates. The damage you have done is not permanent and your brain will heal. Make sure when you start withdrawal that you are ready to go into battle with your symptoms. Due to lack of sleep, you may be very agitated and not pleasant to be around. People who are near you will let you know when you are being too much. It is best to hunker down and try to get as comfortable as possible for the first 72 hours. Surround yourself with good movies or television shows that can distract your attention from time to time. Many people watch full seasons of shows because it keeps them engaged and something to look forward to. Just keep in mind that after your withdrawals are over, you may never be able to watch those shows again because it will automatically trigger your brain to think about the terrible withdrawals and how badly you felt.
Keep a positive attitude the best you can. The lack of sleep can break down the strongest people. If you make the decision to do get clean, take the lack of sleep as a lesson well learned. It is a great idea to write down your emotions and how uncomfortable you are in as much detail as possible. It is a great tool to go back to and read if you ever have a weak moment in recovery. Sleep may not be normal now, but soon enough you will be able to sleep all night with no worries of getting high tomorrow.