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Sleeping Trouble/nightmares


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Hi everyone,

I was wondering how you all managed to sleep at night after your loved one or ones died. My Dad passed a month ago and I can't fall asleep unless I resort to bad behaviors such as drinking too much. If I lie in bed with my mind running in circles and dredging up memories (which is basically what happens) I wind up sobbing all night. Even exhaustion doesn't help - I'll konk out for a while then wake up in tears again. I've been able to keep it together for the most part during the day (although there are daily tearfests) but I've always had trouble sleeping and this had made it much worse. My doctor prescribed the sleeping medication Ambien but that doesn't do me any good either. One night I tried taking two Ambien and two over the counter sleep medications to no avail. Alcohol numbs my mind enough to let me fall asleep and stay asleep through the night, but I know it's a destructive coping mechanism. At this point I'm doing what I can to survive and if that's what I have to do to have a restful night I say to hell with it. But I don't want to keep doing this forever! Meditation, relaxing techniques, etc., are worthless right now because my grief is so new and raw. My Dad was the most important person in my life, the love of my life, and I still am not sure if I've truly accepted he's gone.

I was also wondering if anyone started getting strange nightmares? I've had dreams with Dad in them but they aren't upsetting; however, I've been having very strange surreal nightmares that I can't get out of. This has happened infrequently before but it seems to be recurring more often - had two before I got up this morning.

I hope no one preaches about what I'm doing wrong (I know it's wrong) but I'd be interested in hearing about others' experiences and how they handled the sleep issue.



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Hi Kathy,

I'm so sorry about your dad; please accept my deepest sympathy. I know it doesn't help to hear this, but sleep disturbances are normal and quite common in grief, especially this early in your journey, and they are temporary. I certainly hope others of our members will offer their experiences and share with you what they've found to be helpful; in the meantime I wanted to point you to some additional resources:

Coping with Sleeplessness in Grief

Healthful Sleep: Guided Imagery with Belleruth Naparstek

Looking for Sleep in All the Wrong Places

Above all, Kathy, please be patient with yourself. It's only been a month, and you have just begun your grief journey. Try coming here when you cannot sleep -- this warm and caring place is open all night, every night, and we're all here for you. You are not alone.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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