why you can't sleep when you are undereating in recovery


One of the most important parts of recovery is rest. Rest, rest, and then rest some more. You need to give your body time and space to heal and repair itself, both on the outside and the inside.

Sleep is when your body does that more than any other time. And usually, in recovery, we are so exhausted and tired, that sleep comes pretty easily. When I was anorexic, my sleep was absolutely awful so finally being able to get the rest I needed in recovery was such a relief. 

But what if it doesn't? Why are you still having trouble sleeping? And why is insomnia so linked to eating disorders?

Not being able to sleep is a sign that you are not eating enough or still not at your body's healthy weight. It means you gotta eat more!

The science behind why this happens is actually really cool (or at least it is to me, maybe I'm just a nerd :)). 

You can't sleep because your body recognizes you need food. Like ASAP. And it knows that if you're asleep, it has zero chance of getting that food.

So it keeps you awake. It pumps adrenaline through you in hopes of you finding food. It's a basic survival response. And if you do happen to fall asleep, you probably don't sleep restfully or for very long because your body wakes up shouting FOOD FOOD FOOD.

I know there's a super science-y explanation about hormones and your brain and all that but to put it simply, you can't sleep because you're hungry. Because your body doesn't want to starve anymore.

It's not cool that you are harming yourself by not eating but it IS cool how smart our bodies are. So start listening to yours! If you're finding that you can't fall asleep or stay asleep during recovery, try upping your minimums and eat more.