10 ways to cope with sleeplessness when grieving

August 27, 2019

Coping with grief is always extremely difficult and it affects people differently. One of the more common ways that it can affect people is by causing insomnia and making it difficult to sleep. This is extremely frustrating, as the more tired you are the more emotional you can feel, and you can end up not being able to undertake day to day tasks as you are exhausted.

Insomnia and difficulty sleeping should never be ignored, as not getting sufficient sleep can impact your mood and your immune system. Here are some methods which can aid and hopefully promote sleep.

  1. Exercise

It is understandable that you may not be feeling up to exercising, especially if you are lacking sleep, however it will genuinely help. You do not need to do anything that is too high impact as this could cause you to feel worse. Start with a walk and build up from there. The natural light from a walk can help contribute to a healthy sleep cycle. If a walk or hike is not something you fancy, then yoga or stretches before bed are great alternatives as they are effective but low impact. Try not to exercise heavily after 7pm as this can adversely affect your sleep instead of helping.

  1. Visit a spa

Having a massage or acupuncture can really aid relaxation and in turn help you feel sleepy. Get someone to drive you so you don’t have to worry about being too tired to drive home and you can truly embrace the relaxing experience.

  1. Listen to soothing sounds

This isn’t for everyone, but there are a range of soundtracks available for the specific purpose of helping you fall asleep. This can range from sounds of the ocean to peaceful piano pieces.

  1. Write down your feelings

Sometimes you can be so overwhelmed with emotion that it may be a good idea to write these feelings down. Once your thoughts are down on paper, you may feel like your mind is less full and you can stop constantly thinking about certain things.

It is completely understandable that you will have a lot to think about after the loss of a loved one. Whether this be memories you have shared, worries about the future or financial stress, writing them down allows you to stop thinking about it constantly and allow you to address it another time.

Writing down any stories or your feelings can also be therapeutic. If you wake up in the middle of the night with something urgent to remember and this causes you to struggle to fall back to sleep, jotting it down can really help.

  1. Avoid screens

The unnatural light that is emitted from TVs and phones can really hinder your sleep. The light tricks your brain into believing it is still the middle of the day and this can impact your ability to fall asleep, or make you restless. Try avoiding screens at least an hour before you go to bed and see if you notice a difference.

  1. Avoid caffeine and alcohol from mid afternoon

Caffeine is an obvious one to avoid. It stimulates the brain and combats tiredness by making you feel more awake. Although this is good in the morning, it should be avoided from about 3pm to stop it impacting your sleep. It is commonly thought that alcohol can help induce sleep. Although this is partly true, you should still avoid it from mid to late afternoon. Alcohol indeed can help you fall asleep initially, but it negatively affects the second part of your sleep as your body starts to metabolise the alcohol. It can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night or make you sleep restlessly. Drinking plenty of water during the day can benefit your health in many ways but avoid drinking any liquids too late.

  1. Relax before bed

Creating as much of a relaxing area in your bedroom as possible can help. Try to not have TVs in your bedroom as they are tempting to then watch late into the night. Make sure your room is at a comfortable temperature, have relaxing pictures on the walls, have nice scents in the room and comfortable bedding to make sleep as inviting as possible. 20 minutes before bed should be when you completely relax. Use this time to read, meditate and generally unwind. If you rush around the house doing jobs then go straight to bed expecting to sleep, you are likely to end up fidgeting.

  1. Warm water can help

Run yourself a bath or drink a hot herbal or fruit tea. Both of these can promote sleep. Try using natural sleep remedies as well. Drops of lavender oil in the bath or lavender sleep spray for your pillow can promote relaxation. Chamomile tea also has a mild sedative that can aid sleep.

  1. Try meditation

This may not be for everybody, but some people swear by it. There are a lot of free resources online now which provide guided meditation tutorials. They help teach you how to focus your breathing and help you prepare yourself for sleep.

  1. Have a routine

Creating a routine before you go to bed can help. If you do a certain number of tasks in a particular order, your body will learn that you are preparing yourself to go to sleep. Try and stick to doing the tasks at the same time each day wherever possible.

  1. Stop trying too hard

Sometimes trying to go to sleep too much can be counter effective. If you can’t fall asleep, get up and do something for 10 minutes (but not watching TV or going on your phone). Read or do stretches or breathing exercises then go back to bed and try again.

Hopefully these tips will help ease your ability to sleep. If you or someone you know is still suffering from sleeplessness and insomnia despite these efforts to promote sleep, then consider a visit to a medical professional. Long lasting insomnia can result in more serious health problems, so it is best to seek doctor’s advice just in case.

We hope you find this article useful. If you – or someone you know – has recently lost someone close and you have concerns about aspects of planning a funeral, please contact Cravens Funerals. Our compassionate and professional team have years of experience creating funerals that are completely unique to the individual and respectful of the circumstances involved. For help and advice please contact us on 0151 228 3900 or leave us a message through our contact us page by clicking here.