Good Sleep Hygeine
Grief - particularly traumatic grief - can interfere with our sleep. In addition, this state of sleeplessness or in some cases oversleeping, can become a chronic condition. The lack of sleep can incite hallucinations, confusion, and cognitive impairment. And, it makes it harder to cope with our emotions when we are badly sleep deprived.
Here are some good sleep hygiene tips:
1. Focus on getting between 7-8 hours a night and ideally being asleep by 10pm.
2. Limit your caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulant intake after 3pm.
3. Limit television in the evening. Instead, read a book.
4. Abstain from drugs, alcohol, and processed sugar consumption.
5. Abstain from large meals after 7pm.
6. Sweat! Commit to a daily exercise regimen of at least 30 mins.
7. Avoid day naps longer than 15 minutes.
8. Ensure you get 20 mins a day of sunlight.
9. Try Hatha yoga in evening to help you relax.
10. Take a hot bath 1-2 hours before bedtime at 104-109 degrees (Haghayegh, et al, 2019).
11. Try a highly skilled acupuncturist to help promote more restful sleep.
12. Turn off all lights, radio, or television. Keep the room as dark as possible.
13. If you awaken to use the restroom, minimize light exposure by using a flashlight.
15. To fall asleep, or to go back to sleep if you've awoken, you can also try progressive relaxation and autogenic techniques. Once you've learned them (practice during the day), abandon the guided audio.
Sleep is absolutely essential to our emotional, social, cognitive, and physical well-being. And while good sleep hygiene will not alleviate grief, of course, it will help us to cope with the effects of trauma and grief.