A woman laying awake in bed looking upset and sleep deprived

Grief Affects Insomnia in So Many Ways

Recently, I tragically lost a good friend I became very close friends with for a few years. I never got to see her the last few weeks of her life because I've been pretty ill and had been hospitalized a few times, including surgery. I never got to say goodbye and tell her one last time that I loved her and how much she meant to me.

I know (or certainly hope) that she knew how much I loved her, how much I looked up to her and confided in her from 2 AM to 6 AM on the nights I didn't work.

Grief, insomnia, and third shift hours

Most people who have a normal night of sleep lose sleep after grieving, but I had no idea as an insomniac how grief would affect me living life on third shift hours.

My eating habits, my drinking habits, totally falling out of my so-called routine. With insomnia, I've never had a good sleep routine – from the time I was a toddler up until this day. She was a night owl, too; we had so much in common.

Experiencing more nightmares

A normal night of sleep for me? Maybe 3 to 4 hours a night and I am "good to go." I have been like this most of my life. Just getting by, and that has been enough for me.

Grieving, I noticed I've been experiencing more nightmares when I DO get quality sleep. Thankfully, they are dreams that are not extremely memorable, but flashbacks from my PTSD have been at an all-time high.

Not 'typical' insomnia

I've sweat through the sheets grieving her – trying to have her be my last thought before going to bed so that I might see her in my dreams. I haven't yet. I wake up upset every day from bad dreams, but knowing she won't ever walk through my door anymore has made me want to stay in bed hoping for a dream with naps.

I can't sleep. Not the "typical" insomnia for me. It's the thought that every night I go to bed, I know it takes me a few moments to grasp that she's no longer here. Every morning I wake up, I realize she's still gone, despite calling me every time I wake up during the middle of the night in sweats.

Insomnia steals sleep. Grief steals pieces of your heart. I've spent a lot of days lately sleeping or just lying there trying to remember. I'm so afraid I'll forget — her voice, brunt personality, lack of a filter, and obnoxiously funny, loud laugh.

Grief sleep is complicated

Grief sleep is so complicated. You want to sleep to see that person in your dreams, but you want to stay awake and grasp onto everything you have left of that person.

Fighting back sleep sometimes because your new "normal" is now without your soul person; your fellow night owl, a best friend who has a key to your apartment and comes and snuggles you in the middle of the night because they know you're awake too.

I miss her more than words can say but go to sleep every night, hoping we meet again in my dreams.

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