How much and how well you sleep affects virtually all aspects of your recovery from an eating disorder.
It’s no secret that feeling tired can also make you feel cranky. Spend any time with an active toddler and you’ll be convinced! Unfortunately, we don’t grow out of the need for sleep, and when we’re overtired it affects our emotional state.
Sometimes it’s negative thinking that creates negative feelings. Not only do our cognitive abilities suffer from lack of sleep, but it’s easier to give into distorted thinking and convince yourself those thoughts are reality.
When you’re well-rested, you’ll be more clear-headed and open to alternative points of view. As you read, learn and talk about your recovery, you’ll process and remember ideas much better.
When your body hasn’t had time for its proper renewal process overnight, it may complain in a variety of ways, such as headaches, muscle pain, weakness, and lack of energy.
Lightheadedness and feeling like you need a “boost” from food can spark cravings and tempt you to choose foods and behaviors that aren’t part of your food plan. When you’re rested, your body can process and digest food better, helping you feel more balanced and satisfied.
Your sleeping space should be a haven of recovery and rejuvenation, but sadly that isn’t always the case. Here are five things you can do to improve your sleep:
- Relax your senses – Decorate your sleeping space with nice soothing colors and smells. Some like lavender, though others find it too strong at first. Look for scented eye pillows or all-natural room sprays. Make your room as dark as possible, blocking out any light from outdoors or other parts of the house.
- Create a calming routine – For a couple of hours before bedtime, stay away from electronics or anything stimulating like caffeine. Wind down with light reading, yoga stretches, breathing exercises, or relaxing music. You’ll sleep better overall if you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Tuck yourself into the right bed – Since sleep is so important, invest in high-quality, soft comfortable materials for your bed and bedroom. Some sheets are specially made to reduce dust or regulate your body temperature.
- Nap – If you haven’t gotten a good sleep, consider taking a nap during the day to catch up on what you missed. There’s been a lot of research into the effectiveness of naps.
- Track your findings – Notice and record your own patterns to discover how much sleep you need to feel your best, and how your food and other routines are affecting your sleep. Sometimes going to bed too early can actually make it harder to sleep, and sleeping too long can cause different problems.
Start today with one small change from this list, and commit to giving your mood, mind and body a boost by getting a better sleep.