Sleep. It’s one of the last things we’re getting enough of when we’re struggling with a betrayal, shock or trauma of any kind. All of the painful thoughts, reminders and triggers that you may have been able to outrun during the day seem to come out in full force at night.
When we’re busy and distracted, we can put these things on the back burner but they seem to show up stronger than ever at night. It’s when the thoughts we’ve been outrunning seem to be processed, looked at, and dealt with. This is when the “monkey mind” can keep us tired and wired for hours.
Sleep is absolutely essential for the healing process.
It needs to be a priority and it’s not just about the number of hours you’re sleeping, but the quality too. Restful, reparative and restorative sleep is what’s needed to help us cope, think more clearly and better move through our experience.
Think about it. Even when you’re not under extreme stress and you haven’t gotten the sleep you needed. You’re on edge, it’s hard to think clearly, and it’s challenging to make wise decisions. So if you’re under the stress of betrayal, shattered trust or reeling from something you never saw coming, it can be brutal.
It’s important to not only be able to fall asleep, but to stay asleep. Quality melatonin will help you fall asleep and is a great antioxidant. So many studies talk about the benefits of melatonin! There’s the right support which includes 5-HTP (which is 5-Hydroxytryptophan), that’s going to help you stay asleep in addition to falling asleep. This supports serotonin, which is a feel-good neurotransmitter, so it’s going to help with depression too; something all too common to betrayal.
P5P (a natural, most bioavailable form of B6) is also essential. Theanine is a great calming neurotransmitter and GABA (a calming and relaxing neurotransmitter) helps create calm as well. The right biochemicals are helpful to support the nerves and nervous system; bringing in relaxant properties.
So what can you do to create a healthy sleep protocol?
Check with your doctor to see if an all natural, quality sleep supplement that checks all the boxes above would help. It can serve as temporary support at a time where sleep simply isn’t optional.
In addition to supplements to help support reparative and restorative sleep, it’s beneficial to have a sleep routine and healthy sleep environment.
Let’s talk about a healthy sleep routine.
For a healthy sleep routine, create conditions that signal to the body and mind that it’s time to wind down and prepare for a restful night. That means, shutting down all tech way before it is time to sleep. Instead, use that time for something soothing and calming. Take a bath, use calming essential oils, read a book (not one that’ll keep you up and engaged, but a book that’s relaxing), or have some chamomile tea (no caffeine after noon). Through a calming nighttime ritual, you’re letting your body know it’s slowly time to wind down.
A point worth mentioning. Since the thoughts that we’re able to be put aside during the day come out at night, how do you drown out the sounds and potential images making their way into your mind the minute your head hits the pillow? Since sleep isn’t the time to do the deep, healing work, you may need to be intentional about helping your body get the necessary sleep. Of course, these thoughts need to be worked through, so avoiding them isn’t the solution. You’ll want to get support around moving through your experience.
So many people I’ve worked with have found that falling to sleep listening to calming music, meditations or an audiobook that helps you feel safe, grounded and connected can help. What’s also great about this is, instead of marinating on the problem while you sleep, you’re subconsciously helping to reprogram your mind with ideas and concepts more helpful and soothing.
How’s your sleep environment?
Finally, your sleep environment plays a role in restful sleep too. You may think those bright colors, messy room or cluttered space isn’t vying for your attention…but it is. A cluttered space equals a cluttered mind. Also, those bright colors and other “noise” in your space can be preventing you from the soothing ambience you need to create a more restful environment.
Prioritizing sleep is key to your body, mind and heart. Whether it’s creating a calming space, restful routine, temporarily supplementing or implementing more healing practices during the day that prevent unprocessed emotions from coming out at night.
Dr. Debi, Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute