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Finding Sleep Following the Loss of Someone You Love - by Sara Bailey

When night falls, the loss of your loved one can be most poignant. It can seem like your mind just keeps touching the wound. However, you can learn to sleep without your partner beside you. Here are some suggestions and devices for re-framing your sleep habits so you can have peaceful slumber.

Know you’re normal. Everyone grieves differently, but sleeplessness associated with grief is common. It can take weeks or months to resume your normal sleep patterns. It’s important to find ways to calm your mind and body to help promote restful sleep. Sometimes changes to your sleeping environment can help, and altering your daytime habits can also affect slumber. While sleep requirements vary somewhat, some research indicates most adults fall into the realm of needing seven or more hours of quality sleep each night. With less, your mental and physical health can suffer.

Clear your mind. Adding a stress-management routine can quiet your mind and adjust your perspective when you lay down to sleep at night. Writing things out can help process what’s bothering you, so Curlaser suggests making a list of the things on your mind. Doing some deep-breathing exercises can also help to settle your thoughts and relax your body.

Improve air quality. Many people talk about getting a breath of fresh air to adjust their outlook. Adding an air purifier to your bedroom can provide the same sort of refreshment while ridding the air of bacteria, allergens, and other contaminants. Some studies show indoor air is actually more polluted than the air outside. The quiet hum of the purifier can function in the same manner as a white noise machine as well, providing soft sound to soothe your mind and block out any mildly disturbing noises that could be keeping you awake. Another way to improve your air quality is to bring in a humidifier. Dry air can affect your breathing, which in turn can affect your sleep. Just makes sure to routinely change your humidifier’s filters so it’s operating at peak efficiency.

Bump up workouts. Being physically active can help you sleep better in important ways. Some experts feel exercising helps to improve sleep quality because it burns energy and lowers stress levels. It’s also a constructive outlet for negative emotions. Keep your workouts early in the day and avoid strenuous physical activity within a few hours of going to bed.

Rearrange the room. There are a couple things about your bed that could be keeping you awake. If your mattress doesn’t suit your sleeping position or is worn out, it may be time to invest in a new one. Sometimes it can help to just switch positions, especially if you are still sleeping in the same spot you always did when your loved one was laying next to you. Consider rearranging your bedroom, or at least your position in the bed.

Improve environment. A cool, dark room can be a key to helping you sleep better. Consider adding a sleep mask to block out any residual light that could be inhibiting your sleep. These days you can even find “smart” sleep masks that analyze what’s happening when you’re trying to sleep, helping to get to the bottom of your insomnia. There are several other gadgets that you can try to improve your sleep such as an alarm clock with integrated lights and sounds to help promote sleep quality and mattress pads that make adjustments to your sleep habits and body rhythms.

Choose foods carefully. Certain foods can make you feel drowsier than others. According to HealthPrep, dairy products, bananas, and almonds are all foods that can cause sleepiness. However, it’s important not to eat too much right before bedtime, and if you’re inclined to have an evening snack, choose carefully and avoid overindulging.

Things to avoid. Sometimes we think surfing the web or watching late-night TV will help us sleep, but the blue light from those electronic gadgets can actually make you more alert. Also steer clear of stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine in the last few hours leading up to bedtime.

Losing your loved one can make sleep feel impossible. Look for ways to improve your habits and sleep environment. With a few adjustments, you can find healthful slumber again.

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