Divorce can be stressful.  Sometimes divorce stress causes loss of sleep

Sleep is vital to our physical and emotional wellbeing. Loss of sleep impacts

A recent article in The Guardian revealed that sleep deprivation and loss of sleep can actually shorten a person’s life. 

Lack of sleep can have a detrimental effect on everything from people’s immune system to blood sugar levels to people’s heart health.   And sleep is just as crucial for your mental health.  The same article refers to sleep as a “soothing balm”. 

Deep, quality sleep is therapeutic for the soul and allows us to release bottled-up up emotions.  Because of this, sleep can make tough experiences like divorce easier to bear and help us to heal. 

Sleep deprivation has also been linked to mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, addiction and mood swings in children and adults.

But enough of the heavy talk!

If you are going through a divorce or family law case then there is enough serious talk in your life right now.  Make sure you set aside time to relax and indulge in ‘me time’.  If you are a parent, then you might not remember what ‘me time’ is, but try to think of it as the first step to helping your children.  You are much better equipped to help others if you are calm, balanced and well rested.  The tips below are specially designed to help you overcome stress and learn to relax and sleep.

1. Watch what you eat

Some foods can help you get to sleep at night and others are going to keep you up.  It’s particularly important that you avoid caffeine after mid-afternoon.  Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant that stays in the body up to 8 hours after it is consumed.  So, if you are prone to lying in bed at night with your mind running a thousand miles an hour, then it’s time to give up that late night cuppa.

2. Set aside time to sleep

Experts suggest keeping the same bedtime and waking time every day to get the best sleep possible. 

But let’s face it – this is not always possible in the real world.  Life tends to get in the way of the best laid plans.  So, don’t be too hard on yourself. 

Do what you can to set aside 8 hours for uninterrupted sleep every night.  It won’t always happen, but just scheduling the time shows that sleep is a priority for you and after a while it will become a habit.

3. Turn off the devices to avoid loss of sleep

Mobile phone turned off to reduce stress

We hear it all the time but it is so hard to do. 

Try reading a book or magazine in the hour (or even half an hour) before bed.  If you are not a bookworm then do something you find relaxing, such as yoga, taking a bath or talking about your day with your partner. 

If there are chores that you must do, like folding the washing, then do them in a deliberate, relaxed manner.  Practice focusing completely on the task at hand, whatever it is, and be present in that moment.   

Avoid TV, computers and mobiles while in bed as the blue light from device screens can interfere with your natural body clock.  Put your phone on aeroplane mode while you are asleep to curb the temptation of checking emails and social media.

4. Create a restful environment

Your bedroom should be cool, dark and quiet when you are trying to sleep.  If something is not right in your sleep environment consider trying ear plugs, eye masks, blackout curtains, or a white noise machine

A fan or airconditioner is a good way to keep the room cool, while also providing gentle white noise to help you relax and fall asleep. 

Your mattress and pillows should be comfortable and your bed clothes and bedding should be loose and breathable.  Natural fabrics, such as cotton, are best for this.

5. Stop clock watching

We are all tempted to look at the time as we struggle to sleep at night. 

Do you ever look at the clock at 1am and think in a panic ‘now I only have 5 1/2 hours to sleep’? 

Shockingly, this does not help us relax and get to sleep at all.  Looking at the clock will only stress you out when you need to be winding down. 

Another reason this is not advised is that most of us use our mobiles to tell the time in bed.  Picking up your phone exposes you to wakeful blue light as well as tempting you with notifications and distractions.

6. Try Aromatherapy

Essential oils have been proven to help with relaxation.  Lavender oil is often a primary ingredient in sleep aromatherapy oil blends and candles.  The scent of lavender eases anxiety and insomnia.  Studies have shown that lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, thus inducing a feeling of calm.  So, pop some lavender oil or essential oil sleep blend in a diffuser or dab a little on your pillow to help you rest at night.

7. Breathe

Deep breathing has a calming effect on the body which makes it a great exercise for bed time.  For this reason, you will find deep breathing exercises incorporated into most relaxation techniques for sleep.  Try to focus on controlling and slowing your breathing.  A specific method you can try is called the 4-7-8 breathing technique.  Put simply, you breathe in to the count of 4, hold your breath to the count of 7 and then exhale to the count of 8.  Breath in through your nose and when exhaling put your tongue to the roof of your mouth to obstruct the airway slightly.  Your exhalation should make an audible ‘whoosh’ sound.   Repeat the cycle a total of 4 times.

8. Relaxation Techniques to help with loss of sleep

Unpacking your mind is very common when you get into bed.  There are many different relaxation techniques you can try to stop your mind stressing at night.  Different things work for different people.  You may wish to try guided meditation or hypnotherapy. 

Progressive muscle relaxation is also a good technique to try out.  It involves tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in the body.  It works on your body by focusing on letting muscle tension go and it also helps your mind to focus on your body rather than wandering off on tangents.

If worries about your family law situation are causing you loss of sleep, obtain a free personalised information pack online now, or contact us for an appointment with one of our family law team.

About the Author

Alicia Potts - Sleep Expert
Alicia Potts is founder of the Deep Sleep Co, a directory of businesses that offer products available in Australia that may help you avoid loss of sleep and get a better night’s sleep.

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