Here’s a great article written by written by Sara Bailey of thewidow.net
It’s hard to sleep after losing a loved one. Those first few minutes after you lay down in bed are when the memories come crashing back, along with feelings of sadness and anger at what death has taken from you. Sometimes, it seems there’s nothing you can do to drift off with so much going on in your head, and no way to make it go away.
But you need a solution. The effects of insomnia include fatigue, anxiety, and depression, a deadly combination that could keep you from moving on and finding the happiness you deserve. Fortunately, there’s an answer: self-care.
Self-care is a series of practices that focus on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being so you can find freedom from discomfort, stress, and negative thoughts. It could help you reach a state of calm and get some sleep despite all that’s happened. Here are a few tips taken from this life philosophy that will help.
Redo Your Bedroom
Now’s the time to create an environment perfect for slumber based on your own needs and desires. The most important element is the mattress, which should match your sleep position, though you would also benefit from a white noise machine to drown out those sounds that jar you awake just when you’re drifting off.
Revamp Your Diet
This is the cornerstone of good health and sleep. Prepare a variety of meals from fresh veggies, whole grains, and lean meats—saving tryptophan-rich foods like turkey or chicken for dinner so you’re drowsy when bedtime rolls around. Stay away from greasy items like pizza to prevent indigestion.
Lack of exercise has been strongly linked to poor sleep. According to one survey, only 11 percent of respondents who don’t work out said they get enough shut-eye. What you do for exercise depends on your preferences. Jogging in the morning, walking the dog after lunch, or spinning in the evening are just a few fun activities that get your body moving.
Cut Out the Coffee
It’s fine in the morning, of course, but the effects of caffeine last longer than you may think. Make sure that last cup of joe comes no later than the early afternoon; otherwise, your mind may be racing when it’s time to wind down. For similar reasons, sugary desserts are another no-no.
Train Your Mind
Your mind could be racing for reasons other than caffeine, so learn to shut that off through effective stress management. It’s a set of techniques that help you sort through negative thoughts and put them in perspective. Often that’s enough to reach a state of relaxation before laying your head down on the pillow.
This could also be considered a stress management technique, though it goes deeper than that. Breathing rhythmically, and considering each emotion that passes through your mind, shuts off the “fight-or-flight” response, engaging your parasympathetic nervous system, says the Mission, which calms you down.
Take a Warm Bath
It raises your body temperature, which then begins to drop when you walk into your cooler bedroom, signaling to your brain that it’s now night and time to sleep. You’ll get the greatest effect if your soak comes 60 to 90 minutes before hitting the pillow.
Drink an Infusion
As mentioned before, coffee’s a poor choice of beverage for the evening, but herbal infusions are definitely on the menu. According to the sleep experts at Tuck, chamomile and valerian are among the best choices for soothing your mind and body before laying down in bed.
Make It All Routine
Take that dinner rich in tryptophan, follow it up with stress management practices, a session of meditation, a hot herbal infusion, and a warm bath: You’ve got yourself a regular routine that ensures you get to bed on time, every night. Just remember to stick to those hours, even on the weekends.
A good night’s sleep means waking up refreshed and ready for the day ahead. That’s what you really need as you’ve got a lot more living to do.
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