Guest Blog: Emma Grace Brown: How to Deal with Sleep Problems During Grief

© Copyright 2019 Grief Probate Journey Blog

We are honoured to be publishing our second guest blog from Emma Grace Brown. We first worked with Emma last year when she reached out to us with a topic that related to the times we are now living in due to the current worldwide pandemic, it was very well received by our readers, we are sure this will be too.

Emma Grace Brown Bio:

Emma Grace Brown lives her life by her rules; and it works! When she’s not snuggling puppies, Emma promotes female empowerment through her website. Her mission is to help those who live with self-doubt to realize they don’t have to mold themselves to conventionality.  

Photo via Pexels

How to Deal with Sleep Problems During Grief

Disruptions in sleep are common after losing a loved one. No matter how tired you feel during the day, it can still seem impossible to fall asleep at night. This just worsens feelings of sadness and makes it even more difficult to cope with the loss. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to remedy sleep issues so you can get the sleep you need to heal properly.

Try to Exercise Even if You Don’t Feel Like It

Although easier said than done, practicing self-care is more important than ever when you’re grieving. When you take care of your mind and body, you can better handle difficult emotions when they come up. So, nurture yourself by getting your body moving. Exercising increases both the duration and the quality of sleep while helping to reduce levels of stress hormones that keep you feeling anxious. And, if you exercise a couple of hours before bed, your body will experience a post-exercise drop in temperature that can trigger sleep. Try signing up for a spin class after work or taking your dog on a brisk walk after dinner. Find what feels good for you!

Set Up a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Participating in a regular bedtime routine will tell your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Try to allocate at least 30 minutes at the end of your day for this. Your routine should include activities that you find calming and enjoyable such as reading, meditation, or light yoga. Listening to some soothing music can help as well. Enhance your listening experience by picking up a pair of noise-cancelling headphones with immersive sound.

You can take this time to jot down any worries or things you need to get done so you can put them out of your mind for the night. If you tend to be hungry before bed, a light snack of fruit or yogurt is perfectly fine. Just avoid anything high in fat or sugar because these foods can keep you awake.

Avoid Stimulation in the Evening

Many things that we do in the afternoon and evening can negatively affect our sleep. For example, drinking coffee too late in the day can keep you awake longer and reduce your sleep quality. Similarly, drinking alcohol in the evenings results in poorer sleep quality even though it makes us feel tired. Try to avoid watching TV or playing games on your phone at least half an hour before bed because the light from these screens can confuse your internal clock. Finally, don’t exercise within a few hours of your bedtime or your body will be too stimulated to relax.

Refresh Your Bedroom Environment

When you lose a spouse, the bedroom can be a source of sadness. So it might be helpful to take their possessions out of the room and redo it with décor that makes you feel good. Cornell Memorial recommends surrounding yourself with bright, happy things so you can combat feelings of loneliness as you fall asleep. Design your bedroom for sleep by keeping it dark, quiet, and cool. A white noise machine and blackout curtains can help you achieve this. While you’re at it, get a new mattress to improve your sleep quality by looking at the best beds for your sleep position.

Try Out Some Fun Sleep Gadgets

Sleep technology is getting fairly advanced, allowing us to track out sleep quality and wake up more naturally. These gadgets can monitor air quality, regulate our body temperature, and alert us to possible health issues we experience during the night. Smart beds and smart alarm clocks may be the most useful, helping to control our comfort during the night and wake us up gently in the mornings. However, be wary of spending your money on expensive gimmicky products. According to The Verge, many sleep gadgets are based on little research and tend to be pricey pieces of technology that simply tell us to get more sleep. Although it can be tempting to pop a sleeping pill and drift off to sleep when you’re facing thoughts of sadness or regret, try to avoid this. Sleep medication is highly addictive and can reduce your body’s ability to fall asleep naturally. Instead, try to implement some of the strategies mentioned here to improve your sleep, no matter how impossible it seems.

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