There is a lot made of the symptoms of grief, both by medical professionals and well-meaning friends and family. They all seem to subscribe to the “it’s been 48 hours, aren’t you over it yet?” school of amateur psychology. I say amateur and include medical professionals because the ones I have encountered who have not yet had an intimate loss strike me as utterly without a clue. My mother’s geriatrician actually told her she was grieving too long at six months. I managed not to slug him and showed him the door.
Symptoms of grief often include fatigue, inability to focus, irritability, memory problems, weight gain or loss, and anxiety. Guess what? Those are the same symptoms of insufficient sleep! Many, if not most grievers have trouble sleeping enough and sleeping well. Doesn’t it stand to reason that the symptoms of grief could very well be mitigated by finding ways to sleep better? I know for sure that even before my loss if I didn’t get enough sleep I sure wasn’t at my best. My decisions were often not good, I made more mistakes, my memory was off and I felt like a slug.
I’ve been a little disappointed in the medical field for their widespread ignorance and absence of research about the effects of grief. They don’t seem to be connecting the dots very well, at least in my opinion. I think it’s pretty obvious to conclude that if we can improve the sleep of the grieving, we can probably also improve their grief healing. Doesn’t that make sense to you too? I sure think it’s a good and healthy place to start.
A great many of the widows and widowers, again probably most, have used prescription sleep aids. I did for a time, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep at all without them after my husband’s sudden death. If you have to, you have to, but they aren’t a good solution long term. So let’s take a look at some healthier alternatives, starting with what constitutes good sleep hygiene, or habits. For starters try:
More tips here, in these two articles:
Between these suggestions above and prescription drugs are some other steps to take that are healthier. They can include:
Here are two body pillow choices:
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All through the tough times of my life, all the challenges at home or at work, I’ve always said, if I could get my sleep, I could handle anything. I still think that’s true. Grieving is hard work, it’s important to get our rest. Here’s hoping some of these suggestions help you. I’m wishing you all “Sweet Dreams!” ZzzzZZZzzzzZZZzzzz!
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