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Sleeping/Not Sleeping

Editor: Sonya Marvel
Contributors: All Members of My Mom Is A Survivor

At first when you lose a child, sleep is out of the question or you sleep too much! Sleep is short and interrupted. Sometimes you can dream about your child, while others have never dreamed about their child. You are usually on medication to help you through the emotional part of the senseless death of your child. Yet, sleep will not come! Some can sleep, but within minutes wake up with nightmares. Then it's impossible to get back to sleep. Some struggle through it and finally get to sleep for a few hours until morning, when it is then hard to wake. Some turn to aids to help you sleep. This can be dangerous. What are the answers? How do you handle sleeplessness or sleeping too much?

Since we have received lots of responses, we thought we should do a little research for you.

Research on Sleeping/Not Sleeping

In the last two decades, major advances have been made in treating insomnia. Numerous approaches to treating insomnia and its underlying causes exist today. When a cause for the insomnia can be determined, such as sleep apnea, depression or ulcers, treating that problem often improves the insomnia. However, when treatment of the main cause does not improve the insomnia or when there is no apparent underlying cause (as in primary insomnia), other interventions can be undertaken.

Behavioral Therapy
The use of sleeping pills is not recommended as much as it once was. Currently, using relaxation techniques and learning to associate the bed and bedroom with good sleep are commonly recommended treatments. Recent studies show that these measures are as effective as sleeping pills and produce success with sleep for much longer than sleeping pills. The goal of these behavioral techniques is to help someone "learn" how to become a good sleeper. This behavioral treatment should compliment practicing good sleep hygiene using the tips outlined in the wellness section.

Medical Therapy
Numerous medications that are effective at promoting sleep are now available in the United States. Prescribed sleeping medications can be extremely useful in some cases of insomnia, but they should only be used for a short time. After a few weeks, they may lose their effectiveness, which may lead some people to raise the dose. Some people can become physically dependent upon them and experience great difficulty when they attempt to stop taking them. When used properly, they can be the quickest treatment of insomnia. However, there are risks of injurious falls and broken bones when getting out of bed at night to use the bathroom, especially for older individuals.

Over-the-counter medications often complicate insomnia. These medications may help one fall asleep, but the quality of this sleep is usually poor. After taking over-the-counter sleep aids, people feel groggy or "drunken" the following morning. Long-term use of most over-the-counter sleep drugs makes insomnia worse and more difficult to treat. People should use these medications only upon recommendation by a physician.

One aspect of sleep control is melatonin secretion in the evening. Melatonin is a hormone produced by a small part of the brain called the pineal, which is involved in control of the body's internal clock. Despite its widespread use for insomnia, little is actually known about melatonin. While this may be very effective in some patients, the substance is not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration. Many of the melatonin products from health food and supplement stores contain unknown substances. It should be avoided until purified forms of the drug are produced and until doctors understand for whom it is helpful.

Helpful Links

Dr. Koop

From the minute I found out that John died from a gunshot wound, I was on medication. Medication that I needed to make it through such a horrible ordeal. My doctor subscribed Xanex. I was so geared up, that the day of his visitation and the day of his funeral, I had three Xanex tablets, which would have normally sedated a person completely. I was still walking in a zombie-like state. Even being under heavy medication, I would sleep for an hour or so, then I was fully awake. I could not sleep. When I slept, it was only for a hour or so at a time. I lived this way for a long time. I stayed on Xanex for almost 4 years because at that point, I could not sleep without them. I then began to turn to other sleep additives, such as Tylenol PM. Once I go to bed, my mind will not shut down. Thoughts are always racing through my mind to the point that I might fall asleep at 4 or 5 in the morning. I always felt horrible when I woke up. In a few days, it will be 11 years since John died. Now my doctor has me on an antidepressant which is used for pain. I take it a couple of hours before bedtime and sleep through the night. I am just beginning to get the sleep I have needed all of these years. I do not know what to say to help others going through the grieving process to sleep good and soundly, because I don't know how to do it myself.

Mom to John
9/8/69 - 1/20/89

I still can't sleep without sleeping pills every night, and it's been almost 8 months.   Finally I just gave up and changed my work hours (I do office work).  Now I work 11-7 instead of 8-5 (I realize I am VERY fortunate to have a compassionate boss).

Jan Hernandez

I lost my adult child, James Michael Reva on May 6, 1996.   It is hard to suggest to other grieving parents what to do with sleepless nights, weeks and months. It was harder for me to deal with the push from my son's doctors, my doctor, family and friends trying to ply me with pills and other assorted things.  I had dealt with my son's illness for months and had little sleep.  I remain steadfast that I did not want to miss one second of the last days of my sons life.  I continue to remain steadfast that I should be allowed to have all the feelings and emotions of my loss and to not be medicated.  I did not want to not experience the loss of my child, no matter how much I wished it was not happening.  I had the sense that I would have to have the range of experience and since it was happening now I did not want to stuff anything.  As time passed I was able to create my own schedule.  I would clean and cook through the night and cry.  Sometimes I would sleep in the day.  I just let myself have whatever I needed.  Not all can do this, as I work from my home and I have no children at home and I have a dear understanding and tolerant husband.  I could and still do, call my shots.  As the years have passed I have had dream visits from my Jim and I have had nightmares and now I have a good nights sleep periodically all without medication.  The grieving process has so many facets and it seems they all must take place and in time they have and are.  I miss my son with all the Mother intensity.  I love him every single day.   Gosh, I wish he were here.     

Irene Reva-Houston
Mom to James Michael Reva

When Matthew first passed away 3 1/2 years ago, there was no such thing as sleep. I would just toss and turn.  Eventually, exhaustion gave way and I would find some relief.  Now, I still do not sleep through the night.  Almost every single night I find myself awake and wander to the couch, when sleep takes over again.  I always hope that some night my son will visit my in my dreams, but that has not happened yet.  I keep telling myself, if I could just get one good nights sleep, he will come.  I'm sorry I cannot give you words of wisdom to tell you all that sleep is just a night away.  I guess the only ones sleeping peacefully are our angels.

I had a hard time sleeping until my son came to me in a dream and told me he was alright and not to worry about him because he was being taken care of and he was happy.

I have found Benadryl very helpful.  It is an antihistamine, so there aren't any adverse affects.  It does make some people too sleepy however and they feel hung over.  It's been a godsend for me.


I just thought that I would let you know how I have handled the sleep problem.  I took antidepressants early on but had side-effects from that that I could not tolerate.   Finally, I just asked for something to help me sleep.  I have been taking something on and off ever since.  If I don't have to work the next day and don't have to be up with the kids, sometimes I just take the opportunity to stay up and surf the net.  This is the time that I can cry as much as I want without having to worry about upsetting someone else.  There is something peaceful about the middle of the night when you are all alone.  It is a little lonely sometimes, though.  It has been 6 1/2 months and I don't know how long it will be before I get over the insomnia problem.  I haven't dreamed of my baby, but as I am lying there trying to go to sleep, my mind goes in circles.  I keep thinking about what happened.  About all the little details.  From the pregnancy, to the surgery (I was awake the whole time), and at the children's hospital and the funeral.  I have replayed it so many times. I know that I have gone on and on.  I hope this helps.  If I can help in any other way, please let me know.

Karen Loomis--'Claine's Mommy
7-3-99 - 7-6-99

You asked about help ideas with sleeping.  I was having such horrible nightmares, waking and screaming, even though it will be four years on Wednesday the 19th,  that the Doctor gave me some pills to help me sleep.  But the thing that has helped me more than anything, is using essential oils that I either rub on myself, or diffuse in a little pot-much like we did as a kid by putting eucalyptus oil in a pan of boiling water.  I have found that Lavender oil mixed with some blue/German chamomile is excellent for  rubbing behind my knees and especially rubbing on the soles of my feet.  Then, I sprinkle the oil on my pillow case and sleep soundly.

Another thing that works, is to do "belly breathing" which is simply breathing like a baby-making your belly rise instead of your chest.  Just watch a baby sleeping and you will find that the belly (diaphragm) rises when baby takes a deep breath. 

Then, to help relax, diffusing lavender oil in the little diffuser pot helps a lot too-all together, these work as well as pills-at least for me.

Well, hope I am not too far out in left field--at least it works for me!

Debby AKA Cryingheart

I really could not tell you the answer to that question. My son, Ben, died by suicide in May, and I have only dreamed of him once.  I might sleep for 2 to 4 hours at a time. Then I'm up again. Will it always be this way?  No good sleep anymore?  When does it get any better?

Thanks for listening,
Loretta Passmore

After I lost Raphael I took my kiddos and went to our campground and spent most of the summer there (actually only home 8 days from May to Sept.). I had major problems with insomnia and when we came home from the campground, I started grieving his loss (I had sort of hidden from it in camping). I wasn't sleeping, eating, living on coffee and nicotine and finally by February ended up in a psych ward for medication and therapy for the deep major depression I was in over his death. After I started the antidepressant and started facing he was gone forever I was able to start to get through the grief of his death. (NO I am still not there yet totally). The night I admitted myself, the nurse said they used Trazadone for sleep and to please take it whether I felt I needed it or not. She was a very understanding nurse and because she understood grief of losing a child.  I did take it and got "good" sleep. It is an antidepressant that also has sleep properties and is NOT addictive. Now almost a year after Raphael's death my psychiatrist still has me keep it on hand for "those" nights. Now I am able to go to bed and go to sleep and also back to eating and not as much coffee and cigarettes (I had totally quit smoking for 3 months but did start again :( now I must conquer the smoking again. Prayers to you and all.

Sue Tolin

When we lose a child we hear or read that everyone who grieves does it in different ways, for different lengths of time, etc.  But then we hear that whatever it is we do for whatever length of time is "normal".  Loss of sleep, sleeping all the time and still being tired is all a part of the grieving process.  Completely "normal" for the grief one feels.

It took me a long time to find a workable solution.  Under the care of a therapist, and a psychotherapist to administer medications, several trial runs with different medications finally helped with the depression and grief.  But, unfortunately, through the process I had available several sleep aids and other medications, and took them all at once.  Not caring enough to live for my husband and surviving son.  That was a very selfish thing I did.  I thank the Good Lord for helping me to realize that I still have more work in this life and that I am here with the rest of my family.

Hind sight:  This type of medication could be and maybe should be administered each evening by a "third party".  Leaving it up to the spouse only puts added pressure on him/her and that person is also grieving and may also be experiencing depression.  It is important to have family around for an extended time after the death of the child. If a parent is not available, then try a good neighbor who would be willing to stop by each evening and provide the medication, if necessary that evening.

Also, getting out of the house and doing just a little exercise usually helps one sleep.  And getting out of the house in the morning and doing just a little exercise usually helps one wake up!  Even though we have lost one of our children, ask yourself if you want to continue life "as is" or if you would prefer better....then get up and out and do something to improve it.  You do deserve better, and so does your family. (Also, expect relapses.)

With hope that anyone who reads this will find the balance between medication and sleep or lack of sleep.  Medication does help, but so does exercise, family and friends.

Take care of yourself for yourself and the others who love you.
Jackie Lee

Its been 4 years, 2 months and 14 days since we lost Clay.  Sleep was hard at first, especially during the 2 weeks they searched for him and before we had a body to bury.  Our family physician was most helpful, but even then, as you stated, sleep didn't come until 3 or 4 hours before time to get up again.  Several months after Clay's funeral, things began to "level" out.  I still dream about Clay very, very often.  Sometimes almost nightly.  My husband dreams of him only occasionally.  Most of those dreams, for both of us, are very realistic and many times I even wander the house upon arising to search for him, thinking he's returned.  It can be very unsettling, but at the same time satisfying.

I've had one dream that was eerie and turned out to be true!  Right before awakening one morning, I dreamed a friend came to me and told me to go out to the cemetery, that someone had been digging Clay's grave up!  When I awoke, I did not remember the dream right away.  While I was bathing, the dream came back to me and before I knew it, I was in the car on the way to the cemetery.   About half way there I pulled to the side of the road and sat, telling myself that I was nuts, that I had totally lost it.  But, since I was headed that way, I continued my trip.  When I got there, I did indeed find that someone had attempted to dig up his grave!  This was not some animal digging.  The dirt piled at the foot of the grave was definitely piled there by a shovel!  It was quite some time before I could stop shaking and to get rubbery knees to move again before I could get to the funeral home to report this.  I also reported it to the sheriff's office.  Though nothing could be proven as to who had done this, the funeral home sent someone out immediately to repair the damage.  I've still never gotten over the fact that I dreamed this first.  Consequently, I never take it for granted anymore that a dream about Clay is "just a dream".

Jan Yarbrough

If I can't have my child, I don't want to sleep. I tell myself this over and over as I lay my head down and fall gently asleep remembering having my babies in my arms, hearing them cry when I close my eyes. Is it better to not ever fall asleep without hearing that in my head?    Will this ever go away?  Why would I hear them is it because my heart longs to be with them.  Is it guilt that I feel because I will awaken and my child is not?  Or do we simply give in to this and sleep our life away?  What makes me want to get out of bed everyday.  What do I have to look forward to?   Why do I have to deal with this after what I have been through?   The answer might be simple, but is anything ever simple?   I think as grieving goes sleepless nights and then sleeping to much all goes with it but why? I can wake up now with a smile on my face watch my only child left grow and put all my energy into him look to loved ones for that support they are there to help.  The one thing I wanted after I lost my kids and husband was to be held.  Don't ask me if I'm okay, don't tell me everything will be okay.  Don't tell me to call you if I need anything.  Pick me up in your arms and just hold me let me feel that love around me that I have lost .  Many people don't know what to do or say when some one looses a loved one. I know now that the most important thing is to hold them and don't say anything.  Let them speak.  Maybe this comfort we would give one another would help us with the tremendous loss we all have gone through just a thought.


I have just learned to go with it.  I find myself lying awake for 2-3 hours sometimes during the night.  I go to check on my two daughters and make sure they are breathing.  I lie and wonder what my life would be like if Matthew had lived and also the wonderful things that have come out of his short life.   It has been just over two years since my 6-week-old son died due to a congenital heart defect.  I really want to dream about him but have yet been so lucky.  I do have nightmares, however, of my girls going away, they are less frequent now and for that I am thankful.  When I can't sleep.   I just go with it and try not to let the sadness overcome me, but to look at my future and what my beautiful daughters who are here and my wonderful husband need me to be and most of all what Matthew would want for all of us.  Mommy loves you little buddy!

Ruth Nagel

I really don't understand how anybody can sleep when they have killed a CHILD. I know just how it is not getting any sleep at night. It is really hard for me, because I had back surgery in April so when I get real upset my back really gives me fits bad, but I do not take anything for the pain, because I know why I am upset and the only way I can relive the pain is to go to the cemetery and talk to my son. Of course I can go there everyday but I don't, because I just look at the pictures that we have hanging in our living room.  My other two children still have nightmares about Dwight (my son), but when they have the dreams we talk about it and then we talk about how and what Dwight would do if he was here.  What is and was the hardest are the holidays that he enjoyed the most.

Mary Lou Gamez

Hi, it's been two years and five months since my son left this world.  I am still taking Zoloft but I cannot sleep thru the night.  Sleep is so restless and yet I have never ever dreamed of my precious little one.

Mom to Stevie
5-10-90 to 8-20-97

I understand the not sleeping idea.  I would just sit and cry but when I did sleep, I don't think I would wake up with nightmares.  I would suggest praying long and hard until you fall asleep.  Pray that you will have a good night sleep and be refreshed to face a new, beautiful day. 

Love always,
Sherrie Scott

I have had problems with sleeping for five months now. After Elise's death in August, I would not sleep at all.  Nothing worked, not even the Xanax prescribed to me. I once took two Xanax and three Tylenol PM with no results! (Not smart, but who is thinking at that time?)

I now sleep, but if I go to bed before 11, I wake up by midnight and then lay awake for about an hour or more, then back to sleep, only to wake every hour or so until it is time to get up. Even when I feel exhausted, I cannot sleep through to the morning. I wake up at least twice a night. This is sometimes not even when I have had a bad day.  It's like it has become a habit with my body now. I think it may be because after her death, when I absolutely could not sleep but would try, I would lie awake and think of things over and over.  The whole experience played in my mind like a movie I had memorized. After several weeks of that, you tend to start associating that bed and the silence that goes with that time with those terrible thoughts.  If I get up and watch TV, I will fall asleep. This does not set well with my husband, however!  I'm afraid I have no idea what the "cure all" may be for this, but I feel as if I've tried everything. I think subconsciously I think about it more than what I feel like I do during the day, so when things finally slow down at night those thoughts surface.

 I had some problems sleeping when I first lost Isaiah.  But eventually I started to sleep all the time to suppress the memories. It's almost Isaiah's birthday and I am having trouble sleeping again. I am on anti-depressants but they don't seem to help. I am just taking it day by day. Not sleeping has made me not feel the best and it's been two years since he died. I hope time will help me and I can control my emotions and learn to sleep and be

Lisa Lowden

At first I was waking up all night long for about two months. After that I started sleeping too much. I sleep about 12 hours a day now. I just don't want to get up and face reality. I do not believe in taking sleeping pills although I don't have a problem sleeping. I think if I would start making myself get out of bed after 8 hours of sleep and facing the reality I would be better off in the long run. Also, I think exercising would be a great idea for the stress of sleeping too much and not enough. I don't really know how to not sleep so much and would love to hear others suggestions.


When our son Richie died, it was a good seven months before I was able to sleep. The nightmares would be horrible. When I moved to Florida I seeked out a doctor who listened to me and gave me a sleeping pill and an antidepressant. It has got to be the best thing that could have happened to me. I tried everything to sleep and nothing worked.

I hope this helps.

Right after Wes died, I did have horrible nightmares. I got to the point that I dreaded nighttime because of them. I shared with a close friend of mine about this, (I didn't feel that I could share with my husband because I didn't want to share the horrible details) Anyway, I shared with my friend and this is the advise that she gave me. She had had a horrible encounter the year earlier and had some experience with this problem. She had hit a women on the highway who had run out into traffic trying to commit suicide. Gwen (My friend ) hit her with the front of her van going 70 mph. The women went flying in the air and then landed several yards in front of the care whereupon Gwen ran over her!!!!! Amazingly the women did not die, but had to have her legs amputated. Well, Gwen lived that nightmare over and over in her sleep. It literally harassed her for months. Then she started praying about it. She prayed that the Lord would remove the memory of that accident and fill her mind with HIS thoughts and dreams at night. Well, that is what I did. In my dream Wes was calling for me (from the grave!!!!) I asked the Lord to do that for me. To remove that hideous thought and dream from my mind. HE DID!!!!!! I am sooooo grateful! I know that He will for any that will ask Him.

Love ya lots and appreciate all that you are doing
Jo Ann Franklin

First I'm giving you a big {{{{HUG}}}}. I had to think about this a couple days before I could answer you question about the sleeping/not sleeping issue. When Doug and Matthew died I didn't sleep for over a week and when I did I'd wake up screaming. So I stayed awake until it got so bad my doctors did put me on sleeping pills. I wound up abusing them by taking them so I could sleep day and night. I never wanted to be awake, until I had a nervous breakdown. First I had to go thru a withdraw of the pills and then at the hospital where I stayed at for 2 months they taught me some things that did help me sleep. First I would take a hot shower at night then I'd have to read for 30 minutes then I had to lay flat in my bed with a tape recorder with my favorite was listening to the birds sing and hear the ocean waves sounds ant while listening to it I took long deep breaths and let them out slowly for about 20 minutes after a couple days of doing this I was falling asleep and sleeping pretty good before my 10 minutes were up. I did this for about 6 months afterwards, now to this day especially when I know I'm thinking about Doug and Matthew on their birthday, holidays or something that was very special in my life with them I do this and it does help. I do have some good days that I don't do it so but this is what I've learned and also I would never take another sleeping pill as long as I live because I almost destroyed my sleep habits with them. Did you know that if a person takes a sleeping pill to some it can cause you to never be able to sleep at all and that's where I was heading. There is a nerve cell in our heads that if taken a pill long enough that sleeping pill will kill that nerve. Everyday I think about my baby and wish he was with me and his brothers and sister but life has to go on. God's angels have taken care of my son. But I need to take care of my children that God has let me keep here. The reason I don't talk much about Doug is we were in the middle of splitting up when all this had happened. I didn't love him like I had found out he was seeing another girl at the time. But he was the father of all my children even the one that wasn't even born yet that I had given birth to a few months later after his death and would you know she turns out to be a girl that Doug had always wanted. To bad he was not here to share his life with her but I know from up above he's looking down at his kids while holding Matthew and I can just hear his words saying, look Mattie there's your big brothers and baby sister and someday we well all be together. I thank God everyday that those pills that I took didn't deformed my Baby girl in any way or mentally. But I feel it was a close call because I did almost lose her since she was born 2 months premature. But she's smart as a whip and she does have her dads temper by all means. Well sorry so taking up so much of your time but I did want to share the sleeping part with you all but the rest I just kept talking to you. Again thank you for every thing and take care.

{{{Hugs }}}
Susan Hayes

I know that this may sound funny, but sometimes when I couldn't sleep I would take something that belonged to Burt and I would sleep with it. I felt close to him. Sometimes when I would doze off it would seem as if he were there. Like I could still touch him, feel him, smell him. But because that article that belonged to him. It helped me to sleep at times.

Kay Pitt
Burt's Mom

My doctor's advice after the death of my child was not to use sleeping aids because they did not promote normal sleep with the natural cycle of deep sleep, REM sleep, etc. I understand there is a new Rx on the market that works better. Some people use herbal remedies but each person should make sure that his/her doctor knows and approves as some may cause problems with other prescribed medications.

Actually, first there is a need to define to too much and too little sleep. I require much less sleep that my husband and base "too little sleep" only on functioning level - and that would have been impossible after my son's death because I didn't function well. Also, I found that I needed more sleep. My body had had a shock and I needed sleep much like after a surgery. I am insulin dependent and I had to work my extra need in as afternoon naps since diabetics are supposed to try to keep their meal schedules very regular.

I think a lot of the pronouncements about depression, sleep deprivation, etc. after the death of a child are stupid. Of course, bereaved parents are depressed. What normal person would not be depressed? And there is a wide spectrum in what bereaved parents feel, the time (both time of day and length of time from the death) that they feel it and what shows on the outside. In support groups, I have had one mother tell another that she seems to be moving through grief better only to find that the largest difference is in the "better adjusted" mother's ability to act or bluff.

I think grieving would be much easier for everyone if wider deviations were accepted and acknowledged. By gosh, we are dealing with enough without bosses, fellow workers, family members and friends telling us whether we are "doing it right."


This is an excellent topic I feel. It has been twenty months since Keith died and to date I have not gotten a full nights sleep. There were some nights that I would get around five hours, but now for some reason I'm only sleeping about three hrs and then I'm up roaming or better yet I'm here in front of my "faithful computer". One thing that definitely helps me is that I have the motion tapes, (ocean sounds, forest sounds, harp music etc). I will pop one of them into my CD player, put the headphones on and that does help me, if only for a little while, I am able to get some sleep. It will definitely relax you (at least it does for me), and I have found that at least if I can get some rest, I don't necessarily need to sleep. I will be interested to see others comments on this subject, to maybe get some ideas that I may be able to try. At least for right now the darn nightmares aren't there all the time and I am thankful for that.

Janie Wilson

When I heard of my son's murder, it was just a regular day. The night before I had one of those restful, complete night of sleep. Woke up feeling rejuvenated, fresh and happy!!! I still can't believe that I could have had such a good night sleep when my son was already dead. The first few weeks, I could not sleep more than a few hours per night. I tried the pills routine but that did not work for me at all. I would fall asleep hoping that when I woke up life would be the same as always, with my son alive! My dreams were full of him, always alive, talking to me...the mornings were awful to wake up and find him gone!!! The first time I slept all night happened out of shear exhaustion. My body just could not take it anymore, and I fell into one of those comatose state, until morning! I felt guilty about that !! Never the less, I welcomed the reprieve even for a moment. Now I sleep constantly...sometimes falling asleep in front of the TV at 8P or earlier. But I always wake up at 2 or 3A. I make myself get up, I have a glass of water or milk, step outside on my patio and breathe. I allow about one hour to pass at least, I switch the TV on and look for any program on spirituality, or anything else just to get distracted. I fall asleep again till it is time to go to work...around 7.30a. I dream of Tarik ALWAYS when I fall back asleep in the middle of the night. ALWAYS...and I hate it, because waking up is harder. I just want to keep on sleeping so that I am with my son, talking to him, hugging him. And he is telling me so many things. I can see his gorgeous smile, and feel the little scar he has just under his left eye!! Although I sleep a lot, I feel very drained all the time, as if I were carrying a heavy armor on my shoulders. Which I am. Luckily, my job as a travel agent is so exciting and challenging, it keeps me going all day. The week-ends are the most difficult, I have to force myself to get out of the house and to do things Otherwise I would just sit in front of the TV or stare in space.

Thanks for reading.

My main goal is not necessarily the quantity of sleep I can attain, but the quality. On my drive home from work, I cry while in the privacy of my car. Upon arriving home, I have a light meal & shortly afterwards, indulge in some physical exercise before retiring for the night. This is all done with the intention of alleviating all the stress from my body and mind so I can look forward to some happy dreams of my beloved son Glenn.

Paula Lewis
Mom to Glenn Lewis

Sleep? Do you want suggestions? I still have not figured that out. I wake each day and wait until the time I can go back to sleep. Leaving my bed each morning is the hardest thing I do most days, even after 14 months. Not that it is a comfortable place, it is just safer than the other options.

Interestingly enough, I had no problem sleeping after my 22 year old daughter, Sarah died on June 9, 1999. But I did have terrible problems sleeping before she died. You see, she was diagnosed with malignant brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme) on March 9, 1998. I started having trouble sleeping the following August. Between the stress and lack of sleep, my doctor placed me on disability in September. For 3 months, I was lucky to get 5 hours sleep a night. I would usually sleep from 10pm to 2am, then be wide awake. I was on antidepressants and a sleeping pill. One of the side effects of the sleeping pill was insomnia!!! Once I changed meds and got off the sleeping pill, my sleep improved drastically and I was able to return to work on Dec 30. Sarah doesn't visit me in my dreams too often, but when she does, it makes my day. These dreams, along with my memories and my faith, are what keeps me going. Knowing I will see Sarah again in heaven brings me great comfort.

Chris Matson

Recommended Reading

Sleeping Problems: Learning to Sleep Well Again
By Dietrich Langen.

All I Want Is a Good Night's Sleep
By Sonia Ancoli-Israel.
This easy-to-read, informative book clearly explains common problems associated with sleep and strategies for dealing with them. It defines normal sleep patterns and methods used to diagnose disorders. Common disorders are explained, including those affecting children and older adults. Drugs and clinical treatment of serious disorders are covered.

Get a Good Night's Sleep
By Katherine A. Albert
One of the world's leading experts on sleep disorders provides a collection of proven safe and sensible solutions for insomnia and other sleep-related problems that literally keep millions up at night. On Order; usually ships within 1-2 weeks.

Herbs for a Good Night's Sleep
Herbal Approaches to Relieving Insomnia Safely and Effectively (Keats Good Herb Guide Series)
By David Hoffmann. On Order; usually ships within 1-2 weeks.

The Sandman
A Little Book With a Promise to Keep : Rest, Relaxation, and a Good Night's Sleep
By Keith Floyd.
THE SANDMAN is a singularly soporific bedtime story based on a systematic unfolding of progressive relaxation suggestions interwoven with the timeless Sandman theme. Equally comforting whether read quietly to oneself or aloud to a loved one, the story evokes a relaxing world of magical sand, miniature bulldozers, lapping waves and, best of all, restful sleep. Happily it turns out that children and grown-ups are equally smitten by Sandman's charms.

Secrets of a Good Night's Sleep
By John Selby
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you're not alone. Almost one-third of the adult population shares your problem. Now John Selby, a clinical psychologist who has helped hundreds of insomniacs-including himself-gives you his Secrets of a God Night's Sleep. You'll discover some fascinating facts about sleep, why it becomes a problem, and how you can overcome those sleepless nights. Learn: Why you lie awake when you long for sleep Why you wake up in the middle of the night The surprising sexual dimensions of sleep How to break the anxiety/worry habit How to adjust your bed for total relaxation Magic bedtime rituals to induce sleep Fabulous fantasies and techniqiues to put you in dreamland and much, much more!


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