Divorce obviously can take a toll on your mental and emotional health. But did you know separation also directly affects you physically? Sleep disturbances during divorce are quite common. In fact, researchers at Rush University Medical Center found a strong correlation between sleep apnea and marriage problems. Whether sleep problems actually cause divorce—maybe snoring drives couples apart?—or just serve as a correlational marker for marital unrest is not known. However, researchers from Michigan State University found that those going through a divorce experience a more rapid decline in their general health than those who stay married. There’s scientific smoke, even if we can’t say what’s causing the fire.
Sleep restores balance to our bodies and minds. It facilitates the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates alertness and metabolism, and plays an integral if poorly understood role in storing memories. Our serotonin and dopamine levels also go up during sleep—this process allows us to be more upbeat and rational. Finally, cortisol levels decrease during sleep, relieving stress. We really need sleep to live our best lives.
Rethink Your Sleep
When we have a goal to get more sleep, and we fall short of that goal, we tend to react to that failure with more stress, which can lead to more sleep loss. This creates a vicious cycle. Approach the issue methodically. Be a scientist. Figure out what triggers your insomnia and what relieves it. Take notes, experiment with protocols and observe what works for you.
Here are some ideas to help you reclaim the night:
- Deep breathing. With your eyes closed, inhale slowly for a few seconds, and then exhale. Repeat this process, focusing only on the sensation of the breath. When you experience agitating thoughts about the divorce or anything else, let them arise and go. Don’t cling to or push away the thoughts. Keep returning to the breath.
- Make your bedroom your oasis. Too many people bring their laptops or phones with them to bed. Save your bedroom for relaxation and sleep. Blue light from electronic devices inhibits your production of melatonin, which makes good sleep elusive.
- Get a medical check up. Especially if you notice a sudden change in sleep patterns or physical symptoms that are concurrent with your insomnia, see a qualified doctor as soon as possible.
Our experienced Minnesota family law attorneys can give you the clarity and peace of mind you need to tune out the persistent thoughts and get your life back. Call us for a strategic consultation now.