Dealing with Insomnia after the Loss of a Pet

Dealing with Insomnia after the Loss of a Pet

May 03, 2020

Grief can take a tremendous toll on a person. And those effects can often manifest in physical ways. One of the biggest ways grief can have a negative impact on a person’s well-being is difficulty sleeping. Sadly, this just adds insult to injury, since lack of adequate sleep can lead to changes in mood, loss of concentration and even a weakened immune system. If you recently said goodbye to a furry family member and are struggling with insomnia, here are a few tips to get your sleep pattern back on track.

Try to be active during the day.

Exercise can work wonders for correcting sleep disturbances. Of course, if you haven’t been sleeping, chances are your body is already pretty tired, so don’t overdo it. Try to choose an activity that is low-intensity, such as yoga. Even just venturing out for a walk around the block can help get your blood flowing and prepare your body for a more restful night. Just be sure to do so before 7pm.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine after 3pm.

Caffeine is an antidote to sleep, so avoiding it altogether while experiencing bouts of insomnia may be the wisest option. If you find that you can’t cut it out completely, you should at least limit your consumption to a time frame of before 3pm. And while consuming alcohol may initially make you feel drowsy, experts warn that once your body begins to metabolize it, your sleep will likely be disrupted.

Turn off electronic devices at least one hour before bed.

Research indicates that the “blue light” associated with electronic devices, such as televisions, smartphones, laptops and tablets, can trigger a sense of alertness in the brain. Watching such devices just prior to going to bed can leave you feeling jittery and make it more difficult to fall asleep. Try to set a cutoff time for these devices of at least one hour before bedtime.

Engage in relaxation rituals.

If you can arrange for a massage, do so. If not, there are other things you can do to relax yourself, body and mind. For instance, try practicing yoga or meditating for a while before heading to bed. If that’s not your thing, take a nice, warm bath or listen to some soothing sounds, like white noise or the recorded sound of ocean waves.

Create a memorial for your Pet

One of the many reasons a person experiences difficulty sleeping following the death of pet is simply the lack of companionship. They miss seeing their furry family member. Finding a way to actively memorialize your pet can help fill this void and ease some of the pain you’re experiencing. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Even just a picture or portrait of your pet that you can look at and spend some time with can help.   

Grieving for a pet can be just as emotional as coping with the loss of a human companion. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, understand that this is completely normal. And give the five suggestions above a try. Over time, you’ll begin to heal and will someday soon find yourself in a much better place




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