6 Tips to Get a Good Night’s Sleep After the Loss of a Spouse
Losing a loved one is hard, but when the person you lived with for years is suddenly gone and you are left with an empty bed, the grief can seem unbearable. Grief manifests itself in many ways, and it is common for sleep patterns to be impacted. A common reaction to grief is stress, which can interfere not only with your daily routine, but with your ability to fall asleep at night. Managing that stress is possible, however, by following some tried-and-true techniques.
Learning how to cope with all these feelings is vital since a lack of shuteye can lead to irritability, anger, and a weakened immune system. Grief doesn’t have a timeline, but you can follow these six steps from Jamhuri Healthcare Services to take back control of your sleep.
1. Make Your Bedroom Comfortable
This doesn’t necessarily mean getting a softer mattress. Your bedroom should be conducive to sleep, so this means blocking out light and noise with curtains, sleep masks, and a soothing sound machine. Even the color of your bedroom has a direct impact on your sleep, so opt for earth tones, light blues, and soft colors as opposed to bright colors that can over-stimulate you.
If you still find that you are tossing and turning at night, it might be time to consider a new mattress that syncs up with your sleep position, preferred soft/firmness, and overall preferences. A lumbar pillow can also help to provide support when you’re in different sleeping positions if you use it like a body pillow.
2. Create a Sleep Routine
Routines might not be your thing, but when it comes to sleep, your body relies on it in order to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Make your own sleep routine by doing pre-bedtime rituals to signal it’s time to start winding down, such as a warm bath, a good yoga session, and lights off. Set a sleep and wake time, and give your body time to adjust.
3. Watch Out for Bad Habits
A cup of tea, a yummy snack, or a game of solitaire on your phone before bed might not seem like a big deal, but it can be what is keeping you from getting a good night’s rest. Caffeine and alcohol both prevent you from drifting off to sleep and disturb your natural sleep-wake cycle.
There are several foods to avoid too such as ice cream, chocolate, pizza, pasta, and even chicken. As for that bedtime phone browsing, the blue light signals to your brain that it’s daytime and time to get up, when, in fact, you should be winding down.
4. Sweat It Out to Sleep
Exercise does more for you than just keeping your heart healthy and physique trim. Exercise works as a sleep aid by using up your energy, leaving you feeling tired and sleepy at the end of the day. You’ll find that you not only experience deeper sleep, but you’ll also sleep for a longer period of time with fewer wake-ups.
Regular exercise is a natural stress reliever as well, releasing dopamine to leave you feeling relaxed and calm. Whichever type of exercise you choose, find a fitness routine that you really enjoy so that it’s sustainable.
5. Sort Through Bedroom Items
Your spouse may have passed away, but they left behind all of their things. If every time you enter the bedroom you are filled with sadness at the sight of the watch on the bedside table, framed photos on the wall, or the closet full of clothes, it might be time to sort through your loved one’s belongings. You might not be ready to sort and purge completely, but at least store them out of sight until you are ready to take the next step.
6. Know When to Seek Help
Grief is a complicated experience, and sometimes you just need outside help. If in addition to persistent sleep problems you experience intense grief symptoms such as uncontrollable crying, suicidal thoughts, depression, panic attacks, avoidance, loss of identity, or the general feeling that you are stuck, it’s time to talk with a professional, such as a grief therapist. If you’d prefer to talk to someone remotely, seek out the best online therapy options to get back on the road to wellness.
Find Your Way Back to Healthy Sleep
To get your sleep schedule back on track, create a comfy bedroom and sleep routine, and opt for healthy sleep aids such as exercise, as opposed to unhealthy snacks and caffeine. Remove any items that stir up memories (at least for the time being), but also know when to reach out for help. It might not seem like it now, but things will slowly get a little bit easier.
If you are in need of in-home care or transportation services, contact Jamhuri Healthcare Services.
Author: Michael Longsdon
Photo Credit: RDNE Stock Project via Pexels