Let me ask you a question – did you get enough sleep last night?
Sleep plays a vital role in promoting physical health, longevity, and emotional well-being and we all know that getting a good nights sleep helps us to wake up feeling refreshed, revitalized and energized. But when it comes to bulimia recovery there can be even more benefits.
Researchers from the University of Berkley found that when we get enough sleep the reactivity in the amygdala (the part of the brain that processes emotion) is reduced, resulting in an increase in our ability to deal with highly emotional situations in more rational ways the following day.
When we apply these findings to recovery they suggest that when we get enough sleep we’ll be far less likely to become triggered to the point of relapse the following day.
But what can you do if you find it hard to get enough sleep?
Struggling to sleep can be a common problem in recovery, so if you’re struggling with lack of sleep or insomnia then take a look at these 6 simple strategies that can help you to normalize your sleeping behaviours an start getting all of those wonderful sleep-related benefits.
1. Create a new routine for the hour leading up to bedtime
You can start to prepare your body for a restful night's sleep by following a similar routine each night. This may include things like taking a hot bath, drinking a herbal tea, putting on your pyjamas, reading a book and generally taking some “down time”. When we rush around right up until bedtime our brains can take hours to wind down.
2. Create a bedroom environment that promotes relaxation
A bedroom without distraction will really help you to get the restful nights sleep that you deserve. That means no TV, no computer, no bright lights, just a peaceful, quiet, comfortable and warm environment that will help you to relax.
3. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can really help you to establish a regular sleeping schedule. That may mean no more sleeping in at the weekend but it’s a small price to pay for falling asleep with ease each night.
4. Make sleep a priority
We live in a society that tends to emphasise the importance of getting things done, a world that tells us working long hours is more important than sleep. Some people even think it’s “weak” or “lazy” to sleep more than a few hours each night, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Making sleep a priority will allow you to excel in your life, rather than simply slumping along due to exhaustion and fatigue.
5. Exercise earlier in the day
While exercise can help you to fall to sleep more naturally at night time, try to avoid any 2-3 hours before bed.
6. Include some sleep inducing foods in your final snack of the day
Foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan have a calming effect on the brain and help you to fall (and stay) asleep. Your body takes tryptophan and uses it to synthesise the hormones serotonin and melatonin, both of which have a calming and sleep inducing effect.
To reap the benefits of tryptophan eat a snack that combines foods containing protein, complex carbohydrates and calcium. If you’re not sure what to eat think of combining foods like whole grain cereal, peanut butter, granola, milk, yoghurt, cheese, nuts an oatmeal.
If you’ve found a strategy that helps you to get to sleep at night I’d love to hear about it! Members of Bulimia Help are free to post in the comments section below.
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The information provided in this website is for information purposes only. The information on this website is NOT a substitute for proper diagnosis, treatment or the provision of advice by an appropriate health professional. Please refer to the full disclaimer and copyright. If you do think you might suffer from an eating disorder, it is important that you talk to your General Practitioner, as there are many physical complications that can arise from being at an unhealthily low weight or from losing weight very quickly, or from purging. We advise you to seek professional help with working on an eating disorder.
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