Monday, August 27, 2018

Tips for Better Sleep

I seldom link to other sites, but sleep is such a common problem for widows and others who grieve, and this website, "Tuck" has the latest and greatest research on sleep. They gave me permission to briefly summarize their 10 tips, but please visit the website for the full article and even more helps. They offer links to a TON of resources. They're all secular and of course I'm not giving them a blanket  endorsement, but it's good to educate yourself and recognize various symptoms you might experience. Once you can identify problems you can ask God for His grace and help to deal with them. đź’—ferree   

The evidence is strong that good sleep hastens recovery toward “successful” bereavement...

1. Consider cognitive-behavioral therapy. (CBT) If your symptoms and sleeplessness have persisted for 12 weeks or more, it may be time to get professional help. 
(Sleep problems are very normal during grief but they can become a vicious cycle of worrying about not sleeping and not sleeping because you’re worrying. Don’t hesitate to see your family physician and find some referrals for counsellors and types of therapies. Choose a counsellor or therapist as carefully as you do a physician. Talk to a biblical counsellor; they might be able to help you with sleep problems too). f.h.

2. Follow a regular sleep schedule.  . . . avoid napping for more than 20 or 30 minutes.

3. Spend time with friends and family. Find people who will allow you to share your stories, your grief, and your tears without judgment, but who will also know when to help distract you by doing an activity together. 

4. Avoid self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, or sleeping aids. While they may help you fall asleep initially, many of these substances actually disrupt the quality of your sleep – and they can lead to addiction and permanent changes in your sleep architecture when abused.

5. Keep up a healthy exercise routine. Exercise gets your endorphins going and helps you feel physically better. It provides a distraction from the pain you are going through, and it also helps you sleep. By physically tiring your body, you will fall asleep more easily by bedtime.

6. Eat well.Do your best to eat healthy foods and avoid overly sugary, junky, or fatty foods. The same foods that don’t make you feel great emotionally or physically also disrupt your sleep. . . Also, even though caffeine is fine for some people, limit your intake past the afternoon and overall. It activates your nervous system, keeping you alert and potentially anxious.

7. Develop a calming bedtime routine. Creating a bedtime routine is helpful for anyone who wants to fall asleep faster, but for those in grieving, it gives you something to focus on besides your grief.

8. Try journaling. If you wake up during the night, don’t stress. Disrupted sleep is a common part of grief. If you can’t fall back asleep after 10 minutes or so, get out of bed and go into another room. This part is key – you don’t want your mind to start viewing your bed as a place where you lie awake and frustrated.

9. Avoid electronics at night. (Let me insert a memo here: Get off Facebook! f.h.)  Electronics like our smartphone flood our eyes with strong bluelight. Our brain perceives this as sunlight, and accordingly tries to keep us up and awake.

Beyond the physical reaction, electronics often provide stressors of their own. . . Avoiding electronics in the 60 minutes before you go to bed helps you mentally break away from these distressing reminders, while avoiding confusing your brain about what time of day it is.

10. Reframe your bedroom. It’s possible you have items that remind you of the loss in your bedroom . . . It may be easier for you to cope if you remove reminders of that person from your room – at least temporarily. . . You may take this time to redecorate your room, giving you something to focus on that provides hope. Choose calming, relaxing colors and clear your bedroom of clutter. A calmer bedroom environment makes for a calmer mind, more conducive to sleep.
Counting sheep never works for me... but talking to The Shepherd helps!

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