4 Things You Can Do to Sleep Better After Losing a Loved One
When someone close to you dies, looking after yourself becomes one of the most important
elements of healing. As you have probably discovered, the stress of losing a loved one takes a
huge toll on your body and mind. Sleep deprivation is a particularly common experience and
can really compromise your ability to make difficult decisions and cope with troubling emotions.
Fortunately, the following sleep-enhancing strategies may help you rest more soundly and feel a
little better during the day.
1. Use Relaxation Techniques to Ease Your Mind
First of all, try to make it your goal to relax rather than to sleep. Participating in a nightly sleep
ritual can help to cue your body to slip into sleep more easily. Generally, an effective bedtime
routine involves relaxing activities that make you feel calm and content. This could involve quiet
meditation, gentle yoga, a hot bath, or sipping tea while reading a good book. During this time,
avoid stimulating activities like exercising, watching TV, or getting work done.
Sleep technology can make it easier to reach a state of deep relaxation before bed. For
example, some alarm clocks emit calming lights and sounds to induce sleep, while smart beds
can be programmed to keep you cool and comfortable. Sleep trackers can help you discover
behavioral patterns preventing you from getting quality sleep. However, sleep tracking and
brainwave-sensing gadgets tend to be slightly inaccurate and may be more gimmick than
helpful. Simply keeping track of your bedtime habits on a piece of paper, and noting how you
feel each morning, might be just as effective.
2. Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep Haven
After the loss of a spouse, being in the bedroom can worsen feelings of sadness and loneliness.
The Adventurous Writer recommends rearranging the furniture in your bedroom and
redecorating to add pleasant objects that make you feel calm. Even the colors of your bedroom
walls can influence how you sleep. Try repainting these with calming earth tones and muted
shades of blue. Just make sure you avoid bright colors, since these can make you feel
stimulated. Also, if your bed is over 10 years old, it might be time to invest in a new mattress for
greater comfort. While mattress shopping, focus on support and proper spinal alignment to
prevent long-term back problems.
3. Try to Exercise Every Day
Getting moving during the day is one of the best ways to promote better quality sleep at night.
According to CP Slippers, exercise combats stress and burns energy, reducing feelings of
restlessness and decreasing the time it takes to fall asleep. Plus, physical activity can help you
cope with grief during the day, thanks to its role in assisting mood control. Try different
exercises until you find one that makes you feel good. This could mean sweating out some of
your anger through a long run or tapping into a meditative state at a yoga class.
4. Avoid Nighttime Snacking
Even if we think we are ready for sleep, our bodies really have the final say. The body is
particularly sensitive to what's going on in the stomach—which is why our nighttime food
choices can impact how quickly we get to sleep and how restorative that sleep is. Try to avoid
snackinglate into the evening. Foods high in fat, sugar, and carbs are particularly detrimental to
a healthy sleep. Dark chocolate, spicy foods, and coffee have stimulating effects that prevent
the body from winding down, while alcohol stops your body from reaching restorative levels of
deep sleep. If you tend to get hungry before bed, just eat some fresh fruit.
The trauma of loss comes with many complex emotions. No one can prepare you for how your
own body will react or which actions you can take to feel better. This is something you must
discover for yourself. Hopefully, these tips can provide some sense of relief from sleeplessness
so you can manage your grief a little bit easier.