disturbed sleep
Disturbed sleep addressed in our virtual walking group

See Lindsey and Leslie Gold talk disturbed sleep and join the virtual walking group on Wednesday

Disturbed sleep is on people’s minds right now. A friend of mine who is in recovery posted this question to Facebook: “Anyone else’s sleep all messed up during this quarantine?”  Within a few hours, he had dozens of comments, and not a single one said “no”.  Some people were laying awake worrying, others were sleeping too much, and many were having difficulty motivated to get out of bed to face their now completely disrupted schedule. 

Strides in Recovery, Phoenix House, CA, and ROR are walking and talking on Wednesday afternoons. This week group leader Leslie Gold will talk cures for disturbed sleep

Not knowing when a vaccine will be developed, when the Stay at Home orders will be responsibly lifted, or when you will feel safe being in a crowd again generates the type of anxiety that can keep you up at night. 

For those who thrive on being with friends and family, and engaging in lots of community activities, the relative social isolation can be emotionally draining.  Losing the part of your life that recharges you can cause the depression that makes one want to curl up and hibernate.

Even if all of the COVID-19 changes to your lifestyle aren’t leaving you feeling anxious or depressed enough to disrupt your sleep, it may still be tough to get out of bed. If much of your daily routine has been cancelled, it’s tempting to stay snuggled up in a warm bed.

How can you snap out of fear and anxiety

If you’ve been reading this column for a while, you’re probably thinking I’m going to say “exercise”. Of course that helps, but if you’re not up to it, here’s a baby step to get you started.  Step out into the sunshine. If it’s cloudy, step outside anyway. The outdoor light even on a cloudy day is much stronger and more therapeutic than indoor light.

Sunlight is one cure for disturbed sleep

Sunlight not only elevates mood and strengthens the immune system, it also helps regulate sleep. Without it, you can feel like you are in a persistent state of jet lag. Sunlight helps set our internal clock, which in turn regulates sleep and waking. Without sunlight, says Dr. Marianna Figueiro, Director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. our immune function is suppressed, and our overall health may deteriorate, and we get more easily irritated and depressed.

This is exactly what we don’t need in recovery or during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, if you’re having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, getting up, or getting out of bed, build some more outdoor time into your schedule.  

And, if you need someone to keep you motivated to stick to a schedule, we can help. Join one of our virtual walking/running groups. 

Check it out. Invite your friends.

Wednesdays at 5:30 EST / 5:30 PST

When (click on the session for your Zoom link)
  • Session 1: Wednesdays 2:30pm Pacific / 5:30 pm Eastern
  • Session 2: Wednesdays 5:30pm Pacific / 8:30 pm Eastern

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Leslie Gold

Leslie Gold, Founder and Executive Director of Strides in Recovery Leslie is an RRCA-certified running coach who specializes in training the newly sober. As a volunteer at a residential addiction treatment program, she has coached hundreds of people in early recovery across the finish line of the Los Angeles Marathon, more than any other coach in the country. Years later, many of the participants still credit the group training and life lessons learned as critical to their long-term sobriety. Inspired by these success stories and numerous testimonials about the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits of training for a challenging endurance event with the support of a team, Leslie started Strides in Recovery. The mission of this non-profit is threefold: 1) Bring running/walking-based relapse prevention programs to more recovery communities 2) Strengthen and grow the community of sober runners/walkers 3) Educate addiction treatment providers about the healing power of goal-oriented group training Prior to starting Strides in Recovery in 2018, Leslie spent three decades leading clinical and financial performance improvement projects, implementing decision support solutions, and generating analytics for hospitals and health systems across the US. She holds an MBA from UCLA and a BA from the University of Virginia. She regularly runs 40-50+ miles/week and has joyfully completed a 50K, 9 marathons, and numerous shorter distance events. She is also an avid cyclist.

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