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Guest Blogger Suzie Wilson: What You Should Know About Grief, Loss, and Sleep

12 Sep

If you’ve lost someone you love, you know that grief can come crashing in like waves. You feel normal one minute and then completely lost the next. Grief is such a complicated process that can take time to fully process. However, if your grief is causing you to miss out on all-important sleep, it’s time to start asking yourself some serious questions.


Is It Time for a Change in Your Bedroom?

Losing a loved one can make it feel as though time is standing still, especially when you lose a spouse. Immediately after your loss, you may not feel up to making any big changes around your home. But in time, think about whether altering your bedroom could help you get more restful sleep. You can start with small touches such as adding quality sleep gear to help improve your bedtime routines. New smart sleep technology, like the FitSleep or Nox Smart Sleep Light, use lights and sounds to help you fall asleep faster. A white-noise machine can also be helpful (you can find one for under $20).

When you are ready for a bigger change, you can also add more relaxing colors to your bedroom walls. Calming earth tones like blue, gray, and brown can help relax your senses when you are in your room and help you get more restful sleep as you work through the grieving process. Try to avoid any bright colors or limit any vibrant shades to an accent wall or trim.

 

Are You Taking Time for Real Self-Care?

 Mourning the death of someone you loved and lived with can make even mundane tasks seem like a lot of effort. Self-care tends to fall to the wayside when you are experiencing immense grief, but if you are not sleeping, that lack of self-care could be an issue. For one, regular exercise, as difficult as it may be right now, is absolutely critical in maintaining healthy sleep habits. This is especially true for times when stress is the source of your sleeplessness. Exercise helps reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, in addition to burning any excess energy that is making it difficult to relax. So, try to get a brisk morning workout in a few times a week, or find another physical activity that helps take some of that stress and worry away.

You can also hire help around the house to give you some relief, such as lawn-mowing or cleaning services. If you’re going to hire anyone, make sure you can manage the expense. For example, the average cost of hiring a lawn-mowing service is $49 – $219.

Finding other ways to relieve stress and worry, like journaling, can also help you improve your sleep quality. Finally, pay special attention to what you eat. Comfort foods such as pizza, ice cream, and chocolate can soothe your emotions but when you eat certain foods before bed, you could actually be disrupting your sleep quality.

 

Has Your Grief Reached Unhealthy Limits?

 When you have tried changing your bedroom and you still cannot get enough sleep, it may be time for more help. While everyone experiences grief in their own way, some people may find themselves slipping quickly from normal stages of grief to complicated grief. This intense form of mourning can mimic depressive disorders, but it’s important to note that these conditions are quite different. You still need to seek medical care in order to process complicated grief, but chances are you will be able to recover at some point.

To help make your grieving process a bit easier, try to avoid activities that affect your sleep and can lead to unhealthy habits. For instance, having a drink or glass of wine before bed may seem relaxing, but alcohol actually prevents restful sleep and can develop into an addiction when used as an emotional crutch over extended periods of time.

 The truth is that you may never fully heal from your grief, but that’s okay. We can mourn the ones we’ve deeply loved and lost for a lifetime, in our own way, so long as we learn to live our lives outside of grief. That means practicing self-care, getting enough sleep, and gathering enough strength to pick up those scattered pieces and carry on with our lives again.

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2019 in Health

 

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