I have seen this in my brother’s recovery (opiate specific, not cocaine). He has always experienced hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness or excessive time spent sleeping), getting him up to go to school when we were younger living at our parents was always a HUGE family struggle/fight. Even pouring ice on him wouldn’t get him out of bed. Before he started abusing drugs and alcohol he suffered from depression, and this oversleeping is both a symptom of depression and can cause feelings of depression. So when he would wake up after 12 hours of sleep and feel groggy, what some would call a “sleep hangover”, and upset that he slept through the day, he would tell himself “I’ll feel better if I just go back to sleep.” Well, that didn’t work for him! He is almost 3 years off of heroin and fentanyl and can still sleep for 12 hours +. This past week he slept so much he was so late to meet me at 12:30pm because he overslept and it made me mad, and my parents expressed disappointment, which made him feel even worse! I can really relate and it’s hard to not be driven to madness, but I’ve found that ultimately that doesn’t help.
When it comes to those in recovery from cocaine, which like you said @polly “kept him up for days on end”, it can take a long time for the body to recover from the stress and sleep dysregulation experienced when using. However, PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms) tends to dissipate after 6 months to 2 years abstinent, so this may be attributed to PAWS, or perhaps a sleep disorder.
If you haven’t already, maybe try some simple sleep hygiene techniques:
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule: go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every day (keeping a sleep diary can help with this)
- Avoid naps!
- If you don’t fall asleep within 10 minutes due to mind racing get out of bed and sit on the couch or a chair until you feel sleepy. Don’t turn on the TV!
- Don’t watch TV, play on your tablet, or go on your phone in bed. Not only does the light interfere with the ability to sleep, it also creates an association of being in bed and wakefulness. And just to be clear, the bed is meant for two things only: sleep and sex!
- Consider looking into a lamp that acts as an alarm clock, by getting very bright in the morning to help the body wake up.
- Once the alarm goes off, get out of bed immediately.
- Within the first 2 hours of waking up, make sure you get outside for natural sunlight for at least 15 minutes.
These are just a few tips, of course, if nothing helps, I’d recommend seeing a sleep specialist (they exist, I’ve been to one!)