Saturday Morning Message: Ideas for Better Sleep

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

The idea for this week’s topic came from a discussion on one of the Online Community chats. We spent some time talking about what we do when we have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep. In the summer edition of TAPS Magazine, there is an article titled  "Grief and Sleep," written by Heather Stang listing more ideas. Then on August 15, which was National Relaxation Day, the TAPS Facebook page listed two more articles to help with mental and physical relaxation. So this seemed to be the perfect time to post this week’s Saturday Morning Message with additional survivor responses to help with sleep.

woman asleep

Writing is one way survivors suggest helps the mind relax and release those thoughts that can keep running over and over in your mind. In addition to the Saturday Morning Message, I put together a longer, monthly newsletter called the Writer’s Circle, which includes essays, poems and other written pieces sent to me by survivors. You can sign up to receive it by sending an email to and I will be delighted to send you the September edition, and maybe you will be motivated to add your writing to a future publication.

I look forward to hearing from you for questions you would like to see in the Saturday Morning Message or any ideas on what might make it more helpful. My email address is

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon

Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors to last week's question: What helps you sleep when you find yourself restless at night? 

From Essie, mother of Tysheena:  When we first lost Tysheena I stayed up for exactly 36 hours with no sleep and no eating. I couldn't. I just was in space or just a bad dream. But afterwards when my husband finally got me to lay down, I slept in Tysheena's bed. She brought her bed and put it together with her dad. That gave me peace and comfort. Now I sleep with a picture of her next to me. It's the last picture of her at home in our former apartment. It was taken by her dad just before she went out for New Year’s Eve in December 2015. Now that we have moved, her picture sits on my desk next to my computer and her flag with her picture sits on my dresser. Anything I have of hers gives me comfort when I am restless, but seeing her flag sets it in reality that she is no longer of this earthly world, but present with the Lord. As much as we miss her, we all know she's all right.

Kitty, mother of John: Usually I get to sleep almost instantly, but on those rare occasions when I can't, I get up and watch a favorite movie, do some writing (poems for songs, biography of special people/my sons, my fallen angels read a book, work on a scrapbook or take a nice, warm shower. If it's really late or early morning, I go to bed and fall asleep.

From Sandra, mother of Josh: I have always had sleeping problems and have tried multiple solutions throughout the years. After the death of my son two and a half years ago, sleep is an ongoing challenge. These are the things that help me get a restful sleep. At night, I have my Homedics Nature clock set on rain. I turn off the projector on the clock that will project the time on the ceiling and dim the face of the clock. I put a washrag over the face of the clock. I have a little fan that does not blow on me, but hums away throughout the night. I have both mini-blinds and curtains so the room is super dark. I have a good book or a boring book on the nightstand that I can read and it usually helps me get in the sleepy mode quickly. If I cannot sleep, I get up, rather than stare at the ceiling. I have incorporated several techniques that Dr. Frank Campbell suggested in his "New to Grief" workshop at the TAPS seminars. I highly recommend the workshop. I also attended a meditation workshop and it was very helpful. I sometimes meditate to relax both my mind and body. These sleep solutions really help me. We all need to remember that sleep is necessary and has to be a priority in our lives as we move along on our grief journey. 

If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to me at and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message

The idea for this week’s question comes from some messages sent by friends on Facebook. They were sending pictures of their pets that I found very comforting, so I thought a good question would be: How does your pet help on your grief journey? It would be nice if you sent a picture along with your comments. We look forward to reading your responses. 

Would you like to share a question or read how other survivors respond to a topic or question you have? I would love to gather some thoughts for future Saturday Morning Messages. It can be helpful to read and hear how others cope. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. In order to have your reply included in next week’s message, it is best to send your answers to me by Tuesday morning of the following week. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.


♫ Song for the Week

This week’s song, "Since I Lost You" sung by Genesis, is sent by Leslie, mother of Eugene. Leslie wrote, “This is a relatable song because that moment when I found out my son passed will never be forgotten and neither will he. It’s been 8 1/2 years and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. I miss him terribly as I am sure all of us miss our loved ones.”

You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at

Other Items and Events of Interest

Arlington Cemetery family at headstone

Join us on Memorial Day Weekend, May 28 to 30, for our 27th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar! We will be live streaming all of our general sessions with guest speakers.

Important Note: In-person registration is still open, but we are in a waitlist situation due to COVID occupancy restrictions in the State of Virginia. 

If you have any questions, email or call our Helpline at 202.588.TAPS (8277).

Learn More and Register


▶▶  Connect With Your TAPS Family 

You can discover all the opportunities to connect with your TAPS Family on our website at the TAPS Event Calendar.

About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication contributed by survivors. The primary focus of the SMM is to foster peer-based connections for support and encouragement. It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive place where we can openly share in a nonjudgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable. Content submitted for the SMM is edited for space considerations and may be used in other TAPS publications. The loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please call 202-588-TAPS (8277).