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Ways To Get Better Sleep While You’re Grieving


Bereavement Relief

Posted On: Sep 30, 2016

Ways To Get Better Sleep While You’re Grieving

Obviously, getting a good night’s sleep is crucial regardless of whether you are grieving or not. But consider all the other ways your body and mind are betraying you, or trying to betray you, when you’re bereaved. You’re probably not eating right. You probably don’t have the mental capacity to even think about exercise. You’re probably still pretty checked out, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

That’s why it’s even more important to try to get a good night’s sleep. Besides being good for you, sleep can frankly be a respite from the pain of loss. So let’s look at some ways to accomplish that.

Turn it all off - the TV, your computer, your phone

I know how tempting it is to keep the tube on in the background, play Candy Crush, or listen to your favorite podcast as you try to sleep. This can seem especially alluring when, left to its own devices, your brain is sending you some pretty sad and depressing thoughts.

But all these gizmos send your brain one clear message - I’m still awake, I’m still doing things. This obviously is not the way to get yourself to slumberland. So while it may be a chore for awhile, get used to creating a sleeping environment that is entirely about darkness. Soon, you’ll be falling asleep very quickly in such an environment, and who doesn’t want that?

Silence will also help most sleepers, but not everyone, and silence is not possible in all situations. If that’s the case with you, and you do not with to futz around with earplugs, then a white noise machine may help soothe you. Check them out, they’re available all over the internet and in many stores.

Set a bedtime and stick to it

This is another task that is, without a doubt, a chore at first. Many of us are used to going to bed when simply when we feel like it, and not a moment before. We aren’t kids after all, are we? Bedtimes are for children.

But the trick to restful and easy sleep is routine, and this is part and parcel of that. It’s easy to understand. If you go to bed at midnight every night, without fail, then after a couple of weeks your body will adjust in a big way. This means less lying awake, less tiredness during the day, and less bad, moody feelings a lack of sleep brings that only compound your grief.

Humans are diurnal, and we have circadian rhythms that, boiled down, mean our bodies want and expect to sleep at night and be active during the day. Even if you work an overnight shift, you can calm your circadian rhythms and sort of “fool” your diurnal tendencies by always, always, always going to bed at the same time. It may be hard at first, but stick with it.

Talk to your doctor

Are the above tricks just not adequate, or flat-out not working? Then it may be time to bring in the expert: your doctor.

A lot of people tend to be naturally reluctant to fully tell their doctors everything that is going on with them. They are afraid of being judged or coming across as undisciplined or otherwise flawed.

Don’t fall into that trap! Tell your doctor not only that you’re not sleeping well, but why. Tell him or her about the grief. Be detailed. Give your doctor a full, complete picture so they can give you a full, complete diagnosis and prescribe to you a full, complete treatment plan.

Such a treatment plan may involve exercises and hacks not mentioned here, and/or it may involve drugs. Sleeping pills can have a scary connotation, and many of them are highly addictive. That’s why it’s of tantamount importance that you take your medicine exactly as prescribed. Don’t underdo it, and certainly don’t overdo it. If you have questions about your sleep aids, don’t be shy in asking your doctor or pharmacist.