Mourning the loss of a loved one can negatively impact our sleeping habits. Here are our top 5 tips on how to improve your sleeping schedule which grieving.
Read Time: 3 Mins
Grief affects us in many different ways; one of the most prominent changes we experience when grieving is a lack of sleep or changing sleeping habits. For this reason, we have created a Sleep Well guide that can help you feel less exhausted and be a stepping stone towards improved mental and physical health.
Why is sleep so important?
Lack of sleep affects our mood, appetite and attention span as we run on empty. Experiencing a lack of sleep while grieving isn’t uncommon with many people finding it difficult to rest while in a state of emotional distress.
Here are our 5 top tips on how to experience better quality, more restful sleep:
1) Create a calm space – Your bedroom can be one of the most peaceful and calming rooms in your house. Creating an atmosphere that encourages rest through cosy blankets, blackout curtains and a no-screen-rule will help you feel more peaceful and ready for sleep when night time comes. Try to avoid using your phone while in bed and restricting TV/laptop time to other rooms.
Tip – If your work life is screen focused, invest in some blue-light filter glasses that reduce eye strain and can help improve your sleep pattern.
2) Avoid or reduce your caffeine intake – One of the oldest tricks in the book for achieving better sleep is reducing your caffeine intake. Though this is primarily concentrating on coffee-focused drinks, caffeine can also exist in some teas and many fizzy drinks. Knowing which drinks have caffeine in will help you start cutting them out or reducing your intake as night time draws in. Many health care professionals recommend reducing your overall caffeine intake around 2 pm as it takes time for the effects to work through your system.
3) Keep a notebook close – The loss of a loved one usually leads to many other arrangements or activities that begin, such as financial changes, funeral arrangements and more. These activities can be highly stressful and negatively impact our sleep schedule as we find it difficult to switch off. Keeping a notebook close to your bed provides you with a place to write down all of your concerns or arrangements that need to take place. Transferring these thoughts out of our minds and onto paper helps improve sleep, as you no longer have to worry about forgetting something important. Using a notebook also means you don’t have to look at your phone!
4) Consistency – Going to bed at roughly the same time every day, with a minimum of 6 hours sleep until you need to wake up helps your body clock get into a healthy sleeping pattern. Most people make the mistake of only having a consistent sleep routine during the week and forgetting about the weekend. This change of sleeping pattern during the weekend can negatively affect your sleep as you break the routine your body clock is used to. We advise keeping to a consistent sleeping routine throughout the week.
5) Stretching/yoga – When we sleep it’s not just our mind that needs to rest it’s also our body. Calmly stretching or performing slow yoga that puts your body into an improved state of relaxation helps your overall quality of sleep. It’s important to focus on working out the kinks our body picks up throughout the day while stretching and maintaining a slow, calm breathing pattern. Doing this eases muscle tension that can hold you back when trying to rest.
We spend around 26 years of our lives sleeping. Restful sleep helps ease mood changes, makes us feel more energetic, allows us to make more critical decisions and most importantly improves our overall mental and physical health. Sleeping or a consistent routine is not always a priority whilst mourning the loss of a loved one, but these small steps can help ease the process of grieving in the long term.
Visit our Helpful Websites page for links to helplines and other centres. There’s no shame in asking for help.