In those final months of both Tia's and Spartacus' lives, they needed a lot of help - and nighttime was no different. They were unstable on their feet and usually required assistance in getting to the litter box or the water dish. And so for many many months, I was up several times a night to give them my helping hands. Needless to say, my self-care routine was a hot mess and so was I. I could hardly think straight and my stress was through the roof. I needed help to get as deep a sleep as I could since it would only often be for mere hours and sometimes minutes at a time. While the fatigue was different after they left us, my sleep was nonetheless still very disrupted.
“And no one ever told me about the laziness of grief.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Whether you’re caring for a pet who is seriously ill or you’re dealing with the grief that follows his or her loss, the depression, anxiety, and physical fatigue that you are experiencing is likely disrupting your sleep patterns. The loss, the stress, and the depression can keep you from getting a restful 8 hours of sleep for weeks or even months.
There is a definite link between grief and insomnia. While during the day you might feel too drained to function and move forward, come bedtime, your brain is racing. You just can’t seem to fall asleep or stay asleep until morning. The next day, you’re too tired and unable to focus. This vicious cycle can continue to play itself out for days, weeks, even months if you don’t do something to stop it in its tracks.
Here’s the hard truth. Grief can be debilitating. In particular, when it’s impossible to have a good night’s sleep, the impact of mourning can be downright severe.
There’s a bright spot in all this. According to a 2010 study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, while it’s totally normal to have a disruptive sleep pattern, it’s also possible to recover with the right remedies. One of the secrets I've come to value the most is magnesium.
What is Magnesium and Why Does it Help You Get Sleep
During periods of grief, we burn magnesium. When these levels drop drastically, it exacerbates depression, exhaustion, and stress. There multiple ways in which to regain our sense of calm and bring equilibrium to our parasympathetic nervous system. One of the most effective means is to boost our magnesium levels - and if you haven't yet read Magnesium Miracle I recommend that you do...
What can lack of magnesium do to you?
In addition to poor sleep, when magnesium levels drop, so do your energy levels. This can leave you more agitated, impact your concentration, and critical thinking. If you don’t treat your low magnesium, it can lead to deeper depression, diminished interest in activities, loss of pleasure, poor appetite and eating habits, hormone disruptions, feelings of worthlessness, even suicidal thoughts.
Increasing your intake of magnesium - especially in the right forms and dosages - can quickly help you recover from many of these symptoms and get you feeling a bit more normal during this difficult time. In particular, magnesium is crucial for lowering blood pressure, keeping your heart rhythm steady, ensuring good nerve and muscle function, regulating your hormones overnight, and a whole lot more. Best of all, magnesium has been shown to help people fall alseep faster and spend more time in restful sleep. It may even help with restless leg syndrome as well.
Ways to Boost Your Magnesium for Grief and Insomnia Relief
So, how can you get more magnesium in your diet? There are lots of sources - many of them natural - including foods, supplements, bath crystals, and even lotions. Check out this quick guide:
- Liquid Magnesium: The transdermal form of this mineral is small enough to be absorbed 100 percent into body. This means smaller doses are required. In fact, if you are deficient in magnesium, and many adults are, then this is the BEST format for overcoming that urgent need. Get it in magnesium oil or lotion form depending on your preference.
- Food-Based Forms of Magnesium: Many of the foods we eat contain magnesium. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and cashews, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, green leafy vegetables, cocoa beans (CHOCOLATE), whole grains and more are good sources of this mineral. Personally, I feel better when I make dark chocolate cashew clusters.
- Some Supplements are Quite Effecitve: If you need a fast boost, Dr. Carolyn Dean, the "Magnesium Queen", recommends that you take up to 1,000 mg a day if your kidneys are healthy (divided throughout the day). Try one 500 mg dose in the morning and one at night. She also recommends the glycinate, chlorine (oil or pill), taurate, and citrate forms. Don’t bother with the following forms of magnesium as they are not retained and can be toxic: oxide, sulphate, carbonate, glutamate, aspartate.
- Baths: I believe there’s nothing a spa day can’t cure. You can get the same feeling at home by taking a soak in a hot bath with two cups of Epsom salts, a great source of magnesium. In a bath, your pores are open and your body absorbs this precious mineral. Up your relaxation factor by adding a few drops of lavender essential oil. If you want to feel refreshed and energizes, lemon balm, lemon, or peppermint oil drops can give you a boost.
When it comes to grief and loss, especially with the death of a snuggly pup or a cherished feline, you might need a boost to help you sleep and and minimize anxiety and stress. Magnesium might be just the mineral for you. Don't forget to try other insomnia hacks like meditation and exercise...
Affiliate Disclosure: There may be affiliate links on this page which help to pay for Tiny Pet Memories. If you make a purchase through a link I provide, thank you because it may allow me to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I am not paid to promote specific products. Any opinions I express are strictly my own.
Health Disclaimer: I’m passionate about wellbeing and health but I’m not a medical professional, nor am I a licensed therapist. Any content you read on this site is intended for inspiration and for information only – by not means am I providing medical advice. Please consult your certified professional for personalized recommendations on the mental health or physical health ideas I write about.