Guest Blogger: Hazel Bridges
Photo via Pixabay by Keresi72
Getting good sleep after a loved one passes is often very difficult. You may have trouble staying in the same room you shared with a partner, or you may be overwhelmed with grief, anxiety, or symptoms of depression. Working through these feelings can seem like a never-ending journey, which can contribute to your grief because it promotes hopelessness. However, there are many things you can do to try to get back to a schedule that makes you feel better. The first step is to realize that you’re worth it and that your mental health is tied into your physical health.
Fortunately, science has been able to help us find great ways to help our bodies get better rest without causing any undue stress. You might figure out a bedtime routine that helps you relax, or start seeing a counselor in order to sort out your emotions. Or, you might start exercising every day, which is a great way to help your body and mind feel tired at the end of the day and prepare for a good night’s sleep. Finally, you can make changes to your bedroom for maximum comfort, which will help you put the day behind you and rest easy.
Keep reading to find out how you can get better sleep after losing a loved one.
Watch Your Diet Carefully
Everything you eat and drink can have a major effect on your body and mind, meaning your sleep cycle can take a big hit if you aren’t careful. Stay away from chocolate, meats, and starchy foods, as these contain caffeine, are harder to digest, and can cause heartburn, respectively. If you have a lot of trouble getting back to sleep after waking, make sure you cut off all liquids at least a couple of hours before bed to avoid having to get up to use the bathroom.
Turn Off the Television
Watching television before bed may be comforting to some, but in fact, devices that emit blue light — your television, smartphone, and computer, for instance — can interrupt your sleep cycle and make it harder for you to doze off. Turn off those devices at least an hour before you go to bed, and consider removing the television from your bedroom altogether.
It’s imperative to make sure you’re comfortable at night so your body can relax, so look for a new mattress if yours is more than 10 years old, and buy soft bedding that will allow you to sink in and forget about the day you’re leaving behind. It’s also a good idea to buy soft, tag-free pajamas that will keep your body temperature regulated, as that’s an issue for many sleepers.
Having a humidifier can also help you sleep better, especially in the wintertime, as it can help moisturize dry skin and clear nasal passages for easier rest. To keep your humidifier working in optimal condition, make sure to replace your filters regularly.
Talk to Someone
Even if you feel you’re handling your grief well, it can be extremely helpful to talk to someone about your feelings surrounding the loss. Sometimes we compartmentalize the way we’re feeling and those emotions can come out in a different way, such as anger or anxiety. Talking to a counselor or therapist can help you sort out those feelings and cope with them in a healthy way, meaning you’ll be able to shut off your thoughts when it’s time to sleep.
Getting good sleep is crucial because it benefits both your physical and mental health. When you are unable to rest, many aspects of your life can be affected, from your ability to perform at work or school to your relationships. Talk to someone about your feelings and take care of yourself as much as possible. With a little self-care, you can start sleeping better in no time.
About the author:
Hazel Bridges is the creator of AgingWellness.org, a website that aims to provide health and wellness resources for aging seniors. She’s a breast cancer survivor. She challenges herself to live life to the fullest and inspire others to do so as well.