It’s not uncommon for people to have trouble sleeping after losing a loved one. Nighttime can be a particularly difficult and lonely time, especially if you have lost a spouse. Trying to fall asleep can be a challenging task when your mind can’t stop trying to process your grief, which leads to short, restless nights and exhausting days.
However, the effects of lack of sleep go well beyond making you tired. Sleep is essential for good mental health, and the less you sleep, the more susceptible you are to depression, anxiety, and negative thought patterns. This toxic cycle is terrible for your well-being and needs to be broken. The easiest way to do this is to improve sleep through a regimen of self-care.
Creating a Sleep Schedule
Your life has just been turned upside down, so it is only natural that the regular schedules of your day might be off. However, you should make an effort to introduce a regular sleep routine that can become a consistent and reliable habit.
There are a few simple techniques you can use to build a regular sleeping pattern, including setting a nightly bedtime and banishing all electronics (smartphone, tablet, etc.) from the bedroom. Avoid activities and food that can keep you from sleeping well in the hours leading up to your bedtime. Also, make sure you are getting plenty of exercise during the day, as a lack of exercise can have a direct effect on your quality of sleep.
Calming Body and Mind
For many people, this is where the trouble starts. Once they get in bed, obsessive thoughts and feelings of sadness, guilt, and anxiety take over, making it impossible to fall asleep. The best way to prevent this is to make sure your nightly routine includes ways to soothe your mind and relax your body. Yoga, hot baths, and listening to music are all good options, but you can go for anything that makes you feel relaxed. The important part is to stick to the routine you create.
Changing Your Environment
If you have lost a spouse, your bedroom is likely to be an emotionally charged place, which makes it extremely difficult for anyone to fall asleep peacefully. Making some changes to your sleep environment can make your bedroom feel less painfully familiar and could make a big difference. However, if you are scared of making big changes, this article by What’s Your Grief can help guide you through the decision-making process.
For example, changing your wall paint color is a quick and easy way to make the room look entirely different. The color of your walls can impact your mood, so choose carefully to find something that will soothe you. Neutral, earthy colors help you sleep better, while bright colors can make it harder to drift off.
Making Sleep More Comfortable
It’s not just grieving spouses who can benefit from some changes around the bedroom. Investing in a high-quality mattress could be a good way to improve your sleep, especially if you have had yours for a while. This handy guide by 2 Brothers Mattress can help you find the right one based on your sleeping position.
Of course, your problem may not be the mattress. Whether it’s the lighting, noise, or air quality in the room that is keeping you up, chances are there is a high-tech
that can help you. However, always make sure you are buying something with great online reviews since there are also a lot of gimmicks on the market that won’t do much to help you.
Self-care is crucial in the weeks and months following a loss. Getting enough sleep may not seem like a priority at the moment, but it most definitely should be. Your sleep is the support your body and mind need to function — you can’t neglect it. If you do, you will make it harder to process your grief, deal with your emotions, and move on to a place of acceptance.
Check out Sara Bailey's site, http://thewidow.net/ for other helpful resources.