Thursday 13 June 2019


Grief is part of the caregiving experience and when a loved one passes away, unbearable sadness and loneliness can overwhelm. Today, I am happy to host this guest post by writer and widow, Sara Bailey who offers some strategies to help you sleep if you are grieving. 

If you are dealing with the death of a loved one, you know that grief can touch every aspect of your life. Grief can rob you of hunger, leave you feeling numb, and even steal away sleep at night. While there’s no quick cure for grief, there are some ways to at least improve your sleep.

Add Touches of Comfort to Your Bedroom

Loss can have so many effects on your body and mind. The death of a spouse can be especially impactful, and your grief may wash over you in waves throughout the day and night. You may feel less comfortable in your bedroom, where you once shared your lives, and this is completely normal. If it helps you to get rest, sleep elsewhere for a while but work your way back into feeling relaxed in your bedroom. Soothing wall colors like blues and greens can help ease the transition and improve your sleep, so reflect on whether painting your room in earthy colors will help. Aromatherapy can also aid relaxation and help you process your emotions. Several essential oils have been shown to have a calming influence on your body and ease the feeling of stress in your mind. Add hints of lavender, jasmine, or ylang-ylang to soothe yourself into a restful slumber.

Find Support for Your Grief and Your Sleep

When you lose someone you love, you need support to work through your grief, and you definitely need support to get some healing sleep. You should also consider whether you are sleeping on a mattress that provides that support, especially if you are experiencing any unexplained aches or pains. The right mattress for you will depend on several core factors, such as your age and preferred sleep positions.

Another method for supporting better sleep habits is to add some sleep technology that will truly help you, such as light therapy alarms and sleep monitors. For times when emotional support is really what you need, look to loved ones, family members, and support groups for relief. Pets can ease pain as well, so spend more time with your furry family member or, if you do not already have one, think about adopting or fostering a homeless animal.

Find Gentle Ways to Keep Your Body Moving

What you do during the day can impact your sleeping habits as well. For example, if you are not getting any physical activity throughout the day, you are less likely to get a good night’s sleep. A sedentary routine is one of the leading causes of insomnia and poor sleep hygiene among adults. You need regular exercise in order to prepare your body for sleep, but exercise can also help you feel better. When you work out, your brain produces chemicals that improve your mood, such as serotonin. These feel-good chemicals cannot help you completely overcome your grief, but they can prevent your grief from shifting into a more permanent depression. Look for effective mood-boosting workouts that are gentle on your body, such as swimming or yoga.

Take Care of Yourself in Other Ways Too

Exercise alone will not remedy your lack of quality sleep. You need to build a routine around other sleep-improving habits as well. No matter how busy your day gets, schedule enough hours at night to get the sleep you need. Most people need between seven to eight hours to feel truly rested and refreshed, but your needs can be very different. Your diet can have a major role in your sleep habits as well. Maintaining a balanced diet of whole foods, lean proteins, and essential fats can help you overcome the mental fog that is keeping you from feeling relaxed. Also, take care with what you eat before bed. Spicy meals and snacks, or those that contain a lot of fat and grease, may help you feel more comforted as you eat them. However, these foods can cause discomfort as your body digests them, and can make it difficult to fall asleep.

You need to rest in order to properly process your grief, so take steps to provide yourself with more comfort, extra care, and better quality sleep at night. Your mind, body, and soul deserve it.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Before you go... check out The Unexpected Journey of Caring: The Transformation From Loved One to Caregiver by Dr. Zachary and ME, Donna Thomson! 5* on Amazon and available now from all major online booksellers. 

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