One of the most common symptoms of mourning is the loss of quality sleep. However, this symptom only causes a negative feedback loop that stalls the grieving process. When you experience fatigue due to loss of sleep for an extended period of time, you can get more depressed, feel more overwhelmed, experience more trouble handling emotions, and have a more negative outlook. Therefore, a better night of sleep can help your body to approach the healing process and find hope where there is darkness. Here are six ways to cope with sleep loss due to grief.
Reorganize your space
If you have lost someone who lived with you, you may find it difficult to sleep in the bed or home that you shared together. Try sleeping in another room of the house or moving around the furniture to help usher in a transition and mimic a new environment. If your budget permits, maybe even purchase a new bed.
Stick to a routine
Losing a loved one is a dramatic change that can cause some serious disturbances to your routine. However, it is important to maintain your nighttime routine to prepare your brain for sleep and remind it to wind down. This will allow you to minimize some of those racing, grieving thoughts before bed and encourage your body to follow its natural cycle.
Write in a grief journal
This is a way to get your painful thoughts on paper, which can help relieve some of the mental duress that you are under and prepare your mind for rest. Try incorporating it into your sleep routine, and sit down for a few minutes to visualize moving the thoughts from your brain to the page. Keep the journal near your bed for any time you are kept awake or are woken up by any thoughts.
Get a sleeping buddy
Sleeping alone for the first time in years can be a difficult change to become accustomed to. Having a presence in the bed with you can be very comforting. Perhaps let your pet sleep in your bed with you or get a body pillow to snuggle while you try to fall asleep.
Treat yourself to small pleasures
It is important to remind your body of pleasurable sensations throughout the grieving process. It needs nurturing and comfort while the mind endures such deep discomfort. For example, have a cup of warm tea or cuddle with your furry friend before bed to soothe your body.
Relaxation before bed
A relaxation activity can be very helpful for those who struggle with racing and repetitive thoughts that keep them from proper sleep. To clear your mind, try practicing with guided meditations and affirmations, simple yoga, and progressive relaxation techniques.
When you are grieving, it may seem impossible to adjust to the pain; sleep appears to be the least of your problems. While the pain and grief will not magically disappear, an enhanced night of sleep has the potential to improve your mindset so that you can live more comfortably with the loss. It takes great strength and courage to realize that you need some attention and to address your vital needs.