Alaska Sleep Education Center

Can’t Sleep During Divorce? What To & What Not To Do

Posted by Tommy Murphy on Jul 20, 2020 2:43:26 PM

Upset woman losing sleep after her divorce.

Since divorce is widely considered the second most stressful event in a person’s life next to the death of a loved one, it's no wonder so many people battle with sleep problems during their divorce. Oftentimes divorce can be complicated. Difficult child custody battles or even disputes over property division can weigh heavily on a person’s mind. These feelings of anxiety and depression coupled with all the stress and emotions associated with divorce can make it nearly impossible to experience a peaceful night’s sleep. If you are in this situation, there are a few things you can do and some things you can avoid to improve your sleep. Apply the following tips and start sleeping through the night again.


What to do to help you sleep

  • See your doctor

Too much stress, no matter the cause, can suppress your immune system and cause you to get sick more easily. And if you are not sleeping during a divorce, it can further suppress your immune system putting your health even more at risk. Before you end up with serious health issues, you should see your doctor to discuss that you are having trouble with insomnia. Your doctor might prescribe a mild sleeping tablet to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.  

If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, your doctor might also prescribe an antidepressant or a mild tranquilizer to help you sleep. Let your doctor know all of your symptoms, especially if you feel helpless.


  • See a psychologist

A psychologist can do wonders for individuals who are having a rough time. By talking to a trusted professional, you can ease your feelings of sadness. A trained professional can also help give you tips on how to handle any negative feelings that you might be experiencing. Oftentimes a psychologist might use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help “rewire” your brain to start having more positive thought patterns.

Speaking about your anxieties and what happened in your marriage may help you to sleep better. Bottling up emotions has been shown to have a negative effect on people’s ability to relax.


  • Create the ideal sleep environment

Before you go to sleep, there are a few things that you can do to help ensure a peaceful night's rest. By creating the ideal sleep environment during your divorce, you might be able to nod off more easily without the need for medical intervention.

For starters, make sure you go to bed at the same time every night. On average, a person needs between 6-8 hours of sleep each night. If you go to bed at the same time every night, your body will get used to this routine. This will reset your circadian rhythm, and you will start to feel tired at the same time each night.

As mentioned above, our bodies need routine. So, create a peaceful bedtime ritual that you can do each evening. A hot shower, bubble bath, or drinking a cup of chamomile tea before you call it a night can ease your anxieties and bring on sleep.

Pay attention to your physical sleep environment too. Make sure that your bedroom is neither too hot nor too cold. The ideal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. A dark room will also help you sleep better.

Before bedtime, ditch your phone and turn off your tv for at least an hour before you sleep. You could try reading a book or using some kind of relaxation technique, like yoga or deep breathing techniques.


●    Drink enough water

Did you know that one of the leading causes of insomnia is dehydration? Make sure to stay hydrated. This means drinking between 6 and 8 glasses of water a day. When your body is dehydrated, it struggles to make Melatonin which is essential for a good night's sleep.


  • Try natural remedies

If you are not a fan of putting chemicals in your body, try natural remedies. CBD oil is taking the world by storm with its incredible health benefits, which include reducing anxiety and helping bring on sleep. Bach Flower Remedies are also great for easing anxiety.

Visit your local health store and ask for something natural that could help you sleep better.


  • Avoid large meals before bed

Try not to eat large or heavy meals before bedtime, as this can also keep you from drifting off soundly. A light snack should be ok though.


  • Exercise

People who exercise during the day, also tend to sleep better at night. If you can, go for a jog. Spending some time outside in nature is a great way to also relax. Going for a walk a few hours before the day ends, might also help to ease anxiety.


What not to do


  • Don’t drink too much caffeine or alcohol

Caffeine can keep you awake at night, so cut out coffee or tea from your diet. If you need to drink coffee or tea, limit it to 2 cups a day maximum. Caffeine is also found in fizzy drinks and chocolates. Experts advise not having anything with alcohol or caffeine in it for at least 3 hours before bedtime. Cut out sugary foods before bedtime too.


  • Don’t use your bed as an office

Your bedroom should only be used for sex and sleep. Don’t put a TV or a laptop in your room. Your mind will associate your bed with these activities, which could keep your mind awake at night. Also avoid doing work before bed, as this could increase anxiety. This is especially true if you receive an email from your spouse’s divorce lawyer before bed.


  • Don’t keep your phone on before bed.

Put your phone on sleep mode before bedtime. For people who are addicted to their phones, this obsession can keep them awake at night. You might end up scrolling through social media when you should be sleeping. Or you could end up checking your phone in the middle of the night and then staying awake to read and reply to messages. If this is difficult for you to avoid, try not to put your phone next to your bed.

  • Don’t take long naps

Taking long naps in the afternoon might also cause insomnia. If you are tired and need a quick power nap, set your alarm for 20min. This will help you doze off easier at night.


Why sleep is important                  Melatonin helps you sleep.

Did you know that sleeping a solid 6-8 hours is incredibly important for your health? Sleep deprivation has even been used as a torture tactic during warfare.

So sleep is vital for our health, as well as our mental wellbeing. Sleep deficiency is linked to many health issues. Heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, mental health disorders, and even strokes. Adults who don’t sleep are at increased risk of injury. For example, you might be more inclined to fall asleep whilst driving, or not focus whilst operating heavy machinery.

If you have tried all the above tips and are still struggling to fall asleep, please seek advice from a professional. A doctor, a psychologist, or even a sleep specialist will be able to help you.


Don’t lose sleep over your divorce

Divorce is heartbreaking for many. It can cause anxiety and a number of health problems, but sleep is something that you can’t afford to lose out on. The above tips should help most people get a good night’s rest, but if you are still finding it hard to sleep soundly, ask for help.

If stress is keeping you awake at night, you may need some CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy) sleep help.Alaska Sleep Clinic is the only sleep lab in the state with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, Dr. Angie Randazzo.

Call us today for your free sleep assessment.

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Topics: stress, sleep deprivation, divorce

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