Not being able to sleep is so frustrating. It’s 3 am and you have been tossing and turning for hours unable to get your mind to switch off. You have tried all the usual advice but still nothing seems to help.
I have never really been a good sleeper, as a child I just thought sleep was a bit pointless. I couldn’t wait to get up and for it to be the morning. But also because I was a really big worrier and people pleaser. A mix of anxiety and fear would stop me sleeping. I think lately my sleeping has gotten a lot worse and I cant remember the last time I slept through the night. I thought gaining to a healthy weight would help as it has in the past but this time it has not been the case.
I have been trying to figure out why I cannot still sleep.Having an eating disorder definitely did not help. There are many factors as to why someone may not be able to sleep. For me a few were/have been;
Not being able to sleep because you are thinking of food or are hungry. Obsessive thoughts and also anxiety over the intake of the day and the next day and the day after that. This can continue even when you are eating enough.I would think “I am in recovery,eating well so why on earth am I unable to stop obsessing about food?”I guesss because rebuilding and restoring the body takes a lot of energy so your body is screaming for more calories to make up what is has missed in the past. Also it’s not just physical hunger but also mental due to restrictions placed on certain foods or amounts.Even now when I come home from work and am not physically hungry I cannot sleep without eating. It does not matter if it is 1 am or 2 am in the night. Since reaching a healthy weight the obsessive thoughts have died down a lot, but I still find myself waking early in the morning for breakfast or eating in the night.
2)Anxiety or negative emotions
Bottling up feelings or holding onto guilt can keep you awake in the night. I know if I was stressed or anxious the only thing that was helping was purging away the feelings. It didn’t make them go away completely but it gave me a break from them. Purging exhausts you physically too so its easier to fall asleep. I think that’s maybe why I struggle to sleep now when not purging anymore. I know there are other things which can help like drawing, talking e.t.c but anyone who has struggled with purging probably knows its not quite the same effect. A bit of a taboo topic which carries a lot of shame but self harm is something which can come to replace ED behaviours as it provides a similar relief as well as the feeling of control.
Exams,deadlines.work e.t.c and feeling the pressure of reaching your high standards and failing. That B in chemistry haunted me for a long time haha.Not even wanting to be perfect just good enough. But then ask yourself for who?For who do you need to be good enough for?Your family and friends will probably love you regardless.
4)Fear of sleeping. I don’t know, this is a weird one and hard to explain,theres lots of things that can cause it.
5)Thinking about mistakes or worrying you offended someone. Yesterday I did something which wasn’t exactly adult or mature But I was pissed off at always getting the short end of the stick and then blatantly being ignored and I hardly get to a point like that. I hate how when someone just sucks things up and doesn’t complain they get taken advantage off. I have seen it before, peoples kindness or hard work being taken as weakness. I am not sure what will happen now but If I have learnt anything over the past three months is to start sticking up for what you think is right. Have an opinion. There’s a difference between being helpful and hardworking and letting people walk all over you. I always try and take the peaceful route and just agree to everything and please people but there is no point if someone doesn’t give a damn.
Sorry If this post comes across as whiney and pathetic but that’s 4 am thoughts for you.