Sleeping after a tragedy can be difficult. Loss – whether through death or divorce – is one of the most stressful experiences in life and can take a toll on your sleep, even causing insomnia.
After loss, your racing mind can keep you awake with thoughts and memories. However, it’s important to remember that sleeplessness during the grieving process is normal. There is no clear answer for how long you may experience sleeplessness, but there are ways to cope with lack of sleep in the short term.
Those experiencing any sleeplessness should stay away from caffeine and alcohol. Relaxation, such as meditation or breathing techniques, can also be helpful. Other experts recommend taking a hot bath or going for a walk to clear your mind and calm your body.
However, different techniques may work for different people. Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors magazine had survivors share their advice for sleep after their sudden loss of their loved ones. One woman found sipping tea helpful, while another found comfort in her loved one’s sweatshirt.
Children may also be unable to sleep after a loss or during a grieving process. Bedtime routines are key, according to experts. After a traumatic event, children may need extra attention and support. Children may want to sleep with a light on or with parents. In the short term, these can be helpful.
While techniques for falling asleep may differ from person to person, tracking your sleep can be beneficial to anyone experiencing difficulty sleeping and can help identify insomnia that may be brought on by grief. Sleep tracking can help you determine how long it’s taking you to fall asleep and how restful your sleep is through the night – through a FitBit or other wearable devices. For example, the MobileSleepDoc app can determine if you show signs of a sleep disorder and helps you to seek treatment, if necessary. By tracking your sleep, you are able to share data with your doctor to better help you get a good night’s sleep. The Plex® Sleep Scanner will provide accurate data and insights into breathing patterns, pulse, and oxygen levels while you sleep. The Plex will collect data and transmit detailed reports to your MobileSleepDoc account and will be accessible by computer. Our scoring methodology can help you to identify and get treatment for various sleep issues.
If sleeplessness continues longer than six weeks, go see your doctor.