Don’t Skip SleepWhen you struggle with restlessness or insomnia, the very thought of laying in bed, tossing and turning and trying to fall to sleep, can be maddening. It’s enough to make you want to get up, turn on the coffee, and just move on with your life—but that would be very dangerous indeed. Your body needs sleep. Forgoing it can have a disastrous impact on your health—and for that matter, on your eating disorder recovery. Sleep provides the body and mind with needed opportunities to heal and to recharge. The consequences of missing sleep can include irritability, lethargy, poor concentration, a diminished attention span and even hallucinations. A good night’s sleep is imperative for your overall health and well-being, but what can you do to get to sleep at night when rest proves so elusive?
- Start by adjusting your intake of stimulants, especially caffeine; try to cut out the caffeine after noon, if at all possible. Cut out alcohol before bedtime, too.
- Get into a routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Staying up late or sleeping in can really throw you off. Allow your body to fall into a pattern.
- Allow yourself some time to really relax before bedtime. Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, pleasure reading, a hot bath—all of these are fine ways to prepare for bed.
- Ensure the room you’re sleeping in is a cool, comfortable environment. Make it as dark as you can, investing in thick curtains if need be.
- Turn off your electronic devices two hours before bed. The blue light from your phone, laptop, and tablet can actually interfere with your body’s natural rhythms.