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October 23, 2019

Sleep and Grief: Learning To Sleep Alone

When you have been used to sleeping next to someone else, it can be difficult getting to sleep by yourself. Whether you’re going through a break up, or you recently lost your significant other. Sleep and grief can go hand in hand and we hope these tips will help you find the rest you need during a difficult time of adjustment.

grief and sleep

Call A Friend:

sleeping through griefGive someone you love a call. A lighthearted conversation with someone you care about is a great way to take your mind off of your troubles, and feel a little less alone.

If you have a chatty friend, try to set up a call right before you are ready to drift to sleep. This way you can talk right up to the point of fall asleep.

If you find this helpful, try to find a friend that could use the talks just as much as you do, then set up a nightly chat. This way you know you always have someone you can talk to.

Change Your Position:

i can't sleep by myselfIf you and your love used to snuggle up, don’t sleep on your side like you would with them. Find a comfortable position that doesn’t remind you that they are not there.

Sleeping on your back is one of the best sleeping positions for your spine and health. Instead of cuddling your pillow, trying laying on your back all tucked in. It may not feel natural at first, however changing up your sleep position is a great way to shift your mind into a different sleeping habit that doesn’t involve snuggling.

Weighted Blankets:

weighted blankets help you sleep aloneGet rid of those anxious thoughts and snuggle under a weighted blanket. The added weight on your bed helps to calm your mind and slow your breathing. If you have not tried the anxiety reducing powers of a weighted blanket yet, then you are in for a real treat.

When you’re missing the presence of a head resting on your shoulder or an arm around you waist, having the pressure of the blanket can be a calming presence. Before weighted blankets came along I stacked pillows on top of a thick quilt looking to get that same feeling. Trust us, a weighted blanket is much better than building a cave of pillows around yourself.

Want a project? Visit our post DIY Weighted Blanket to learn how you can make your own weighted blanket and maybe even save some cash.

Get a Pet:

learning how to sleep by yourselfDon’t want to sleep alone? Well, you don’t have to. Sleep next to your pet. There is very little in this world quite as special as the love and trust of an animal.

If you don’t have a pet, then a dog or cat may be a great addition into your home. Pets are great for the soul and having a warm snugly cat or dog to cuddle with throughout the night may just be the healing source you need.

Having a pet who needs you is also a great tool for dealing with grief and depression. When all you want to do is restlessly stay in bed, it is helpful having a pet urging you out of bed to let them outside or feed them breakfast in the morning.

Want to know more about the potential benefits and downfalls of sleeping nest to your dog? Then you’ll love our blog Sleeping With Your Dog.

Sleep When You Can:

napping is good for griefStill can’t get a full nights rest? That is okay. It is understandable through change and grief that sleep will be hard to hold onto. So instead of trying to force yourself to get a full nights rest, get some sleep whenever it comes naturally.

There may be a few nights you would rather clean your house or read a book. Breath easy knowing that eventually your body will get the rest it needs whether your mind wants it to or not. So allow yourself to take longer naps than usual or a more erratic sleeping schedule than you prefer.

Once life regulates a bit more and you get into a more consistent schedule. Then you can try to get back to your preferred sleeping schedule. For now, give your body the rest it needs whenever you can.

Ready to regulate your sleep schedule already? Read our post How To Fix Your Sleep Schedule to learn how. 

Sleep Alone is Awesome:

sleeping alone is great and here is whyYou may have forgotten, but let us remind you that sleeping by yourself is AWESOME. You get the entire bed to yourself and you can even decorate it exactly how you want. There is no tug of war battles over the blankets.

You get to decide when you go to sleep, what you watch in bed, you can read your favorite book and not have to stop to shut off the lights just as the plot thickens. Everything in life has a silver lining, so don’t forget to look for it.


redecorateIf you had a breakup, get all that stuff from your past relationship OUT. You don’t need it anymore and it is just dragging you down. Take this opportunity to make your bedroom your own space again. Surround yourself with images and things that make you happy. Pictures of friends and family, hang art that you love on the walls, choose bedding in your favorite color. Changing your surroundings can be a refreshing way to make a new start.

If you just lost a loved one, then you may take more comfort out of the things that remind you of that person. Take this time to find the things that bring you comfort and keep those. If there are other things hanging around giving you bad memories, then find a way to say goodbye to those things. Remember that by letting go of upsetting memories, you are not disrespecting the memory of that person. Find your own way to hold onto the things that bring you peace, and let go of the things that only serve to upset you.

Treat Yourself:

treat yourself before bedInstead of dreading the thought of going to bed, make the act of going to bed a real treat. Create a nightly routine in which you treat yourself the whole time.

Nightly routines are a great way to get in the mood to sleep. If you fill this routine with things like, a sweet treat followed by an warm bath full of essential oils, and then a nightly foot rub with your favorite lotion. It will be difficult not to get excited about going to bed.


meditate before bed for a healthier sleepOften it is our wandering minds that make it difficult to fall asleep. This is where meditation practices can help you to teach yourself healthy thinking patterns. Instead of focusing on the negative you will be able to focus on the positive.

If you are new to practicing meditation we suggest finding a guided meditation that you like and using that first. It is a great way to calm you mind and get in the mood for sleep.

Want to learn more? Check out our post Meditation for Sleep, Anxiety, and Healing to get all the details.

Get Help:

seek guidance and therapy when needing help getting restSometimes the changes we attempt to make on our own simply aren’t enough. Some challenges are not meant to be tackled alone. If you need help during this transition, we suggest seeking the help you need. Therapists and councilors really can help you get through tough challenges.

If you have tried one before and you didn’t like it, they were not the right one for you. There are many different types of therapists and therapy out there. Including different versions of therapy, like group meetings and even internet therapy. Don’t be afraid to shop around and figure out what works best for you.

Sleep and Grief: Learning To Sleep Alone

This blog is called “learning to sleep alone” for a reason. Learning takes time and so does adjusting to falling asleep on your own. So give yourself the time it takes to adjust to this life change. We hope these tips give you a place to start and helps you get some much needed rest. Remember, while you are still adjusting that you will eventually get the sleep you need. If you need to rely on inconsistent sleep through naps for a while, that is okay. Simply allow your body to get the rest it needs when it can.

Why do our bodies and minds need rest? Read our blog The Importance of Sleep to find out what happens when we sleep and why we depend on it. 

learn how to sleep alone with grief

Have and questions or comments? You can always reach out to us through our Contact Us page. We would love to talk with you.