Many victims of crime often notice that for some time after the crime they experience difficulty sleeping. Memories and feelings associated with the event often revisit you at night making you jumpy and fearful. Remember, these are normal reactions after a traumatic event and are usually temporary.
Below is a list of suggestions that may better prepare you for a good nights sleep. Some may work for you and others may not. Remember that everyone is different.
- Try not to go to bed too early or at a fixed time. This may mean you lie awake feeling angry and frustrated. Go to bed only when you feel sleepy.
- Try to maintain your usual bedtime routine. Your body is aware of this routine and relies on this information to assist in a good night’s sleep.
- Too much or too little food can impact on your ability to sleep. Hunger may wake you during the night. Try having a snack or warm drink before bed. Try to allow four hours to lapse before going to bed after a big meal.
- Reduce caffeine and nicotine. Giving up caffeine or reducing your intake can often make a big difference to sleep quality. Nicotine is also a stimulant like caffeine, so smoking in the evening can make it difficult to go to sleep.
- Try having a warm bath or shower before going to bed. Don’t make it too hot and try putting some lavender essential oil in the bath or burning some essential oil in a burner.
- Meditate before going to bed. Take time to focus on your breathing, taking deep breaths in and then exhaling, trying to calm yourself. See if you can focus on something pleasant such as a special place, not on the fact that you can’t go to sleep.
- Create a comfortable sleep environment. It can be helpful if the room you sleep in is quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature. Try earplugs or an eye mask if your room is noisy or too light.
- Leave a soft light on if you need to.
Source: State of New South Wales through Victims Services, Department of Attorney General and Justice, July 2004 (REV 03/2013).