By Daniel Sherwin
You’ve recently lost a loved one. After the service, you were grateful for everyone’s shared memories, but now grief has set in. As a result, you’re having trouble sleeping. Grief is emotionally taxing and takes a toll on the body. As a result, many bereaved individuals experience restless sleep or insomnia. With grief already impacting the appetite, mind, and immune system, the added strain of sleep deprivation makes things even harder. So if you’re struggling with losing a loved one and unable to sleep, consider these tips to help you get the rest you need.
Physical activity is one of the best things you can do to promote restful sleep. Exercise not only provides a more robust, leaner body and improves your circulation, but it also affects your mood. Make sure you’re not physically active too close to bedtime because your mind and body need time to cool off. According to Nuvanna, if you exercise early in the day, you will get that mood boost, release stress, and tire out your body enough to promote a restful night of sleep.
Take the time to hit the gym, pool, or walking track several times a week. You may find that not only are you sleeping better, but the quality of your life is improving as well. If you want to get some stretching in before bed, there are yoga poses that, according to the Cleveland Clinic, are beneficial to falling asleep.
Talk to a Therapist
Although it may sound cliche, talking to a therapist is a great way to help you navigate the grieving process. A mental health professional can equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to take back control of your life — and your sleep. Fortunately, you can speak to a therapist online if getting to an in-person visit seems too overwhelming at the moment. In addition to being easy on your schedule, virtual counseling options tend to be less expensive than traditional office visits. Online therapy is also a great way to connect with a professional who specializes in grief.
Change Your Diet
Having a healthy body is mostly based on what you consume. In the evenings, you are better off avoiding foods that interfere with sleep. These include foods with caffeine content and high acidity foods that take too long to digest. Also, avoid food that increases your body temperature, preventing restorative sleep. Some foods actually help with getting a better night’s sleep so substitute these instead of the ones that may interfere with rest. Nutrition is key to your energy and well-being throughout the day, but it also affects how well your mind and body recover at night.
Use the Right Sleep Gadgets
The experts at the Sleep Foundation recommend that to enrich your sleep, you should turn off all your electronic devices at least one hour before bed. The blue light that these screens give off creates alertness, whereas a dark room is conducive to rest. However, certain devices are made to help you fall asleep quicker, stay asleep longer, and promote those much-needed ZZZs.
Some devices vibrate, others provide soothing light and sound, and others will track your sleep patterns and provide insight into how you can improve your rest. If you opt to try sleep tech, look at reviews from multiple sources, ask your doctor, and ask people you know and trust for recommendations on which sleep gadget might be suitable for you.
Address Your Stress
Stress can come from any number of causes in your life, not just bereavement. But being overwhelmed by stress during a grieving period is an excellent opportunity to focus on other areas of your life that could contribute to your stress. For example, decluttering your home, bringing in more light, and adding some plant life can all work to relieve stress. If you are overwhelmed at the moment, use deep breathing to calm your body. Focusing on actionable tasks can draw your attention from your grief and help you find more peace.
Change Up Your Bedroom
If you have lost your spouse, your bedroom can be a devastating reminder of what once was. Sometimes, a drastic change such as a complete renovation is needed. Other times, all you need is a small change, such as finding the right mattress for where you are in life. Examine your living space, consider your specific sleep needs, and talk to an expert about getting the best mattress to help you achieve a good night’s sleep.
Grief is exhausting and can affect your whole life, including your sleep. However, hope for a good night’s rest is not lost. There are steps you can take to fall asleep and stay asleep. By exercising, watching your diet, speaking to a therapist, utilizing helpful technology, working on stress management, and changing your sleeping space, you may get more profound, more extended rest and are better able to tackle the day.
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