Guest Article: Learning to Sleep Alone. The Difficulty of Losing a Spouse

By: Sara Bailey

There is nothing as devastating as losing a loved one. It changes you in ways you could never have imagined. There are reminders everywhere of them, and things you used to do together become impossible to do alone -- including sleeping.

Learning Calm Again

The last thing you may be able to imagine yourself doing is investing in yourself right now. However, things are difficult enough. To get even a modicum of relief, you need to practice some self-care, whatever it is you can muster during this impossible time. Maybe you can’t imagine leaving the house, but you should try, especially since exercise can help us sleep at night. Going for a run in the morning, walking your dog around the park during lunch, or even going to an aerobics class after work, anything to get outside and active can help you feel better physically. Talk through your emotions to a friend, family member, or even to your mirror. You will be more likely to process things if you try and talk about them. This can help you, especially at night, to get out of your head and to relax for sleep.

Changing the Bedroom

Your certainties have changed. To deal with how your life has altered, it may be wise to make some changes to your bedroom. This could be as simple as replacing your mattress, to not feel the space where your spouse used to be. Find something comfortable and supportive, something that allows you to at least be physically well during the night. Try different materials such as latex, springs, foam or even an airbed to see what really feels best. If you think you’re ready for a bigger change, consider using Feng Shui to revamp your bedroom layout to create a more balanced space that can help you get the rest you need. 

Eating for Sleep

What you eat can affect how well you sleep at night. Start by thinking about any late-night snacks. Eating a small bite before bed may help you sleep, but be sure that what you eat won’t cause problems when you lie down.Highly acidic foods should be avoided, as these can cause heartburn. Additionally, meals that have lots of fats or even protein can take a long time to digest, which can cause you to sleep uneasily. Carb-laden snacks such as pasta or sugary foods also can give you a burst of energy and make your body store fats, as you won’t be using that energy, but lying down. Rather, have something calming. Dairy, such as yogurt or cheese, and nuts are good options to facilitate a night of peaceful rest.

Getting the Right Tech

Most of us know that we shouldn’t be on social media, phones or tablets before we go to bed. If you need a way to distract yourself, try reading a paperback book. Even using a reader can add to sleeplessness thanks to blue light. However, that doesn’t mean all gadgets should be banned. There are now masks that can help analyze your sleep patterns, and let you understand what your sleep really looks like. Don’t expect these to be transformative. Unfortunately, other than telling you how much sleep you got, they are relatively gimmicky, and won’t really help you sleep more. Instead, try something tangible such as mattress toppers that can keep you cool, which in turn helps you stay asleep. There are alarms that have gentle noise settings. If you can stomach making changes right now, add things to your room to help you get the rest you invariably need.

There is no easy fix. You’re going to have moments where you don’t know if you will ever figure out how to live life without your significant other. But just because things are different doesn’t mean you can’t find new ways to move ahead. Give yourself time and, above all, remember that your loved one would want you to take care of yourself.



Helping Others In Recovery by Adam Cook

Support from family and friends is an indispensable component of success in addiction recovery. Alone, those suffering from substance abuse are at risk of relapse, even when appearing to have their addiction under control. Anyone who has someone in their life struggling with addiction recovery may wonder what role they can play in their loved one’s recovery.