Sometimes sleeping without your partner is hard just because you miss the warmth, companionship, and physical presence of the person you love. But what about those times when the physical sense of separation is compounded by fear for your loved one’s safety? In the second half of my two-part blog series on how to sleep without your partner, I’d like to focus on those special cases.
It’s one thing to have trouble sleeping without your partner because of that physical separation, even when you know your partner is safe. But when you’re worried about the one you love, sleeping alone takes on a different dimension. For military families facing deployment, sleeping alone without your spouse takes on a whole new element of fear. The same is true for a sleeper whose spouse works a dangerous job at night, whether it’s factory work or a police beat.
Everybody must make their own peace with that kind of worry, and a person who hasn’t experienced it cannot tell you how. There is no one-size-fits-all answer for this kind of situation. Still, here are three recommendations that might point you in the right direction.
Find someone to talk to about your worries. Whether you have close friends, other spouses who are going through similar situations, or a professional therapist, finding a person to talk with is one of the most important things you can do for your health. No one should have to deal with fears about life and death alone. Whether you live by yourself or care for a family while your significant other is away, you’re dealing with unique stresses and need the support of other people to make it work in a healthy way.
Give yourself a healthy home environment. Create a bedroom space that’s relaxing, uncluttered, and peaceful, so that you feel yourself unwinding from your day as soon as you walk into your room. Keep the rest of the house as neat as you can without creating even more stress. Giving yourself (and your family if you have one) that clean, safe space can go a long way to helping yourself feel loved even when you’re alone.
Use drug therapies as a last resort. If you just can’t sleep and it’s affecting your ability to live your life—when little things like being nice to people or driving safely become way too difficult because of your sleep deprivation—it’s time to bring in the big guns. Talk to a doctor about a prescription sleep aid to help you get some shut-eye. Sleep aids can be dangerous, though, and have unintended side effects that can further affect your health and your mental state. Work with a knowledgeable doctor to help you find one that works safely for you, and use it only as directed.
You’ve committed to a relationship with someone who is regularly in physical danger, and you are to be commended for your strength, bravery and loyalty—just for taking that step. Now, make sure you have the support you need during the day to help you sleep more soundly at night.