Tips to Get Better Sleep during Your Divorce

Divorce. It’s one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Going through the divorce process is emotionally overwhelming and chaotic, and it requires that you think clearly so you can make critical decisions about your future as a single person and possibly the lives of young loved ones. But how can you do this when you lie awake in the middle of the night with visions of your impending divorce dancing in your head? 

How do you sleep during divorce?

You’re not alone if you struggle with sleep deprivation during your divorce. Many divorcing individuals know firsthand the agony of nightly tossing and turning, watching as the hours slowly tick by. And there’s a good reason for this. Research shows that stress, anxiety, and sleep issues are closely tied. A lack of sleep causes more stress, creating a self-sustaining cycle of sleeplessness that affects your mental health and well-being.

Scientists hail sleep as one of our primary biological needs, just like food and water. But it can seem impossible to get the sleep you need when you can’t turn off your thoughts. Your sleep-deprived brain can leave you feeling depleted, anxious, and not functioning at the level you need to be. Add in all the other feelings you’re experiencing during your divorce, and it’s no wonder sleep eludes you.

Wondering what that bad dream means? Read Common Divorce-Related Dreams and What They Mean

Tips for sleeping better during the stress of divorce

You may be feeling your most insecure and vulnerable during your divorce. And yet, despite these feelings, you’re expected to make logical and reasonable life decisions about your future. Getting the rest you need can help you approach these decisions with a fresh and rational mind. With focused self-care and de-stressing, you might find that you can relax and finally get some well-deserved sleep.

Breathing techniques for better sleep

When you’re going through a stressful situation, chances are you aren’t breathing deeply and fully. Shallow breathing can cause you to stay in a perpetual state of stress. Think of the “fight or flight” response. While this works if you’re confronted with a short-term threat, our modern-day stressors – like divorce – are chronic and persistent. Be mindful of how you breathe, and learn some simple breathing techniques to help keep you in your zen space. 

Create a restful environment for sleep

Your bedroom may feel like the scene of the crime when you’re navigating a divorce. Purge the crime scene, and turn it into a restful environment. 

You don’t need to do a complete renovation. Simple adjustments can make it a soothing, sleep-inducing room focused on your wellness. Keep your bedroom cool and dark. Drown out ambient noises with white noise or a fan. Sleep in the most comfortable, cool garment you own. That huge cotton tee shirt with the worn holes under the arms? This may be its shining moment. 

Pay attention to what you’re eating and drinking before bed

We all know about caffeine, but did you know that caffeine can affect you for up to eight hours after it’s consumed? And what about those glasses of wine with and after dinner? While alcohol acts as a sedative initially, once it’s metabolized, it works just the opposite and can result in a night of fitful sleep – or no sleep at all. Focus on foods and beverages that can naturally help soothe you to sleep. 

Turn off your devices

Social media might feel like something of a vice right now, but your tablet, smartphone – even the TV – throw off blue light that interferes with your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Blue light exposure suppresses melatonin production in the brain and tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime instead of night. Read a book at bedtime. Listen to music. Your overactive brain will thank you. 

Keep a consistent bedtime

Keeping a consistent sleep schedule is one of the hallmarks of getting enough quality sleep. Good sleep habits may not have been part of your life before, but serious self-care is now your focus. Your body needs and wants consistency. Do yourself a favor and put yourself on a sleep schedule.

Download our Self-Care Worksheet

Try some relaxation techniques

Does it seem that as soon as you turn off the lights, your mind goes into overdrive? Aromatherapy and some essential oils have been proven to help ease stress and insomnia. Learning some simple relaxation techniques or finding some soothing guided meditations can also help calm your racing mind and prepare you for sleep. 

Getting professional help

Sometimes, no matter what you do, you still get caught up in a cycle of nighttime rumination. Time will eventually heal this, but in the meantime, it can help to get some professional assistance. A good therapist can help you work through the overarching issues of your divorce that keep you up at night. 

Have a clear plan

Divorce is a time of uncertainty and fear. You’re at the precipice of your old life, looking at a vast unknown. Unfortunately, nighttime, when the world is quiet, is a time when feelings of vulnerability can creep in and be their most persistent. 

While sleeplessness during big life changes like divorce is common and only temporary, you can be your own best advocate. Self-care and self-understanding should be number-one priorities. At Hello Divorce, we offer a large library of resources to help you design a clear path into your next chapter. 


Divorce Content Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Mental Health
Candice is a former paralegal and has spent the last 16 years in the digital landscape, writing website content, blog posts, and articles for the legal industry. Now, at Hello Divorce, she is helping demystify the complex legal and emotional world of divorce. Away from the keyboard, she’s a devoted wife, mom, and grandmother to two awesome granddaughters who are already forces to be reckoned with. Based in Florida, she’s an avid traveler, painter, ceramic artist, and self-avowed bookish nerd.