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Should You Head for Bed After a Breakup?

FEB 23 featured image.jpgBREAKUPS COME IN all shapes and sizes. Whether yours is a dish-smashing doozy or a Gwyneth-approved “conscious uncoupling,” it still hurts. In fact, you might feel ready to crawl into bed and not come out for the next week or two. Is this normal? And is it a good idea?

The Physical Pain of Breaking Up

A breakup can be physically painful. Losing your romantic partner can feel a lot like a death, since they have suddenly and permanently left your life. This can be incredibly stressful, and that stress causes all kinds of very real physical symptoms: chest pain, muscle tension, fatigue and stomach pain. You might feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, and that’s exhausting. Your urge to crawl into bed might just be your body’s way of telling you that you need to recover from all the stress. Sleep is restorative for both mind and body, so getting extra while you mend your broken heart is usually a good idea.

This Is Your Brain on Love

In addition to physical pain, a breakup can really mess with your brain chemistry. Being in love can feel like being on a wonderful drug: It targets all the same pleasure receptors in your brain. That’s all great until you break up, though. Then withdrawal sets in, and the symptoms are pretty miserable. You can feel anxious or depressed, and you may even be tempted to replace your love fix with something else: food, alcohol and cigarettes usually top the list. In this case, catching some extra Zs can be a healthier alternative to indulging in another vice. As long as you’re still eating nutritious foods and getting adequate exercise, a little extra sleep can make you feel better.

When to Worry About Excess Sleep

heartbroken in bed.jpgThere’s a big difference between heading to bed for a few days to nurse a broken heart, and feeling like you’re actually incapable of getting out of bed. Too much sleep can be a sign of depression, especially if it’s accompanied by a feeling that you just don’t care about life. If you feel like you can’t get up to face the day after a couple weeks, it’s probably time to see a professional to make sure you get the help you need getting past your breakup.

How to Recover From a Breakup

If you’re reeling from a breakup, try these self-care tips to ease the pain and stay healthy while you recover:

    • Stock up on tissues and let yourself cry — it’s a great stress reliever.
    • Take to your bed for extra sleep to help your body recover from the stress.
    • Stick to healthy foods. One ice cream sundae is fine, but you don’t want to stress-eat your way to added pounds.
    • Get plenty of fresh air and exercise to keep your body feeling strong.
    • Talk to a trusted friend about your feelings, whether you’re angry or sad.
    • Queue up some comedies on Netflix — laughter sometimes really is the best medicine!
    • When you’re ready, start putting away mementos of your time with your ex. Being surrounded by photos will be an obstacle as you work to move on.

Breakups are hard, but when you treat yourself with kindness, your heart will eventually heal. After a day or two in bed, you’ll be ready to face the world again.

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