Canada is dealing with unbelievable heartbreak and grief after the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash. It’s a tragedy that has hit every corner of our country and beyond. As a part of the community, Sleepwell Consulting wanted to do a small part to help those who are dealing with grief to manage through this troubling time by sharing our best tips for getting the sleep needed to begin healing mentally, physically and emotionally.
With so many people affected by this tragedy – family, friends, first responders, doctors, nurses – sleep may be hard to come by. However, it is during times like this that sleep is most essential. Sleep not only helps you from a physical standpoint but it also helps you emotionally and mentally.
A 2010 Study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine shows the relationship between sleep disturbances and bereavement. The study found that treating sleep disturbances can help people recover and heal and that sleep, or lack thereof, can impact us physically as well as emotionally.
To help facilitate getting some much-needed rest and sleep during a difficult time like this, we are offering some useful tips you can easily implement.
6 Tips to Help Get Much Needed Sleep When Dealing with Grief
Naps Are Okay – But With Limits
Naps are okay to take during the day but make sure they are no longer than 20 minutes and do not nap after 3 pm. We want our body to build up sleep pressure to allow for a longer, more restorative sleep during the night.
Avoid Caffeine After 2 p.m.
Avoid any caffeinated beverages past 2 pm. This includes coffee and any soda that contains caffeine. Caffeine has a significant half-life (often 6-8 hours) and can greatly affect your ability to fall asleep.
Avoid Alcohol Before Bed
While alcohol is a sleep inducer, you are going to want to avoid it before bedtime. Alcohol has a negative effect once our body starts to metabolize it, which causes a lighter stage of sleep and can even promote wakefulness.
Create the Perfect Sleep Environment
To promote great sleep, you need to ensure that you have the optimal sleep environment. To do this, make sure your sleep environment is dark – cave-like dark. You’ll also want to make sure it’s cool. Between 18-22 degrees C is the desired target temperature. You may also want to consider using white noise to drown out any environmental noises that may possibly wake you.
Put Your Thoughts on Paper
One reason many have trouble sleeping during times of grief is that they cannot seem to ‘turn their brain’ off and purge the thoughts running through their head. To combat this, before bedtime find a journal or notebook and write down your thoughts. When we get our thoughts down on paper, there is a better chance of falling asleep without these thoughts spinning around our head.
Ask for Help
If you are finding it hard to sleep and function, reach out for help and support. Going through a tragedy is hard and you shouldn’t go it alone. Talk to a friend, a counselor, doctor. Build a support team around you, so you are not navigating through your grief alone.
Over the past few days, we have seen the fantastic ways community, our province and a nation come together to mourn the beautiful souls lost and injured in this tragedy. The support and love of people coming together is nothing short of amazing.
We will always be #HumboldtStrong.