Saturday Morning Message: When Sleep Is Hard to Find

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

In this week’s Saturday Morning Message, survivors share strategies which help them when they are unable to sleep. When trauma comes into our lives, it throws our normal patterns into a tailspin. We have all been working with not only our individual grief, but also the National upset when COVID-19 came into our lives.

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Recently, I was having trouble sleeping, so I turned to my TAPS family and found TAPS Talks Video: Catching Some ZZZ’s-Finding Rest When Stressed on the website. Heather Stang (MA, C-IATY), the presenter, shared many strategies for sleep. One of them was to light a candle at dusk, preferably with a scent you like, and leave it burning until you go to bed. The scent of the candle helps you relax, especially if reading a book, doing some relaxing yoga exercises or watching something on TV that doesn’t require a lot of mental energy.

Just remember to blow the candle out before you retire.

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Responses from Survivors to last week's question

What do you do when you find you are having difficulty sleeping?

From Elizabeth, spouse of Joseph: Most of the time I have little to no trouble sleeping. However, when I can't get back to sleep in the middle of the night, I often switch from the bed to the living room couch and turn on the TV. Joe was always a night owl, so I'm very used to sleeping with a little noise in the background. Being under a favorite quilt and hugging the little stuffed bunny I've slept with since he died helps, too.

From Kelsey, mother of Michael: When I'm restless at night, I get up and read or watch “Star Trek DS9”. If it's after 2 am., I make coffee and stay up.

From Sandra, mother of Joshua: I have several tools that I have taken away from Dr. Frank Campbell's “New to Grief” workshop. I attended the workshop during the TAPS Regional Survivor Military Seminar in Austin just a few months after the death of my son. I was having great difficulty sleeping and these tools have helped me tremendously. I turn on my little fan that hums softly, turn on my nature clock to rain or white noise, turn the temp down, and block out all light from the bedroom, so it is very dark. If that does not work, I get back up and go sit in the front room. Sometimes, I drink herbal tea or read a book or magazine. Every once in a while, I journal my thoughts that are racing around in my head. These are just a few tips and they have served me well. Sleep is crucial when grieving and it is part of self care. 

If you would like to send a message commenting on one or all of the responses in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to and your thoughts will be passed along to them. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another.


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

Let’s learn a little more about our loved ones. This week’s question came from Perry, father of Christopher. He asks, “What is something your loved one did that made you proud?”. We look forward to reading about your loved one. If you have a picture that you would like to share, please send that as well to 

The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. Questions for future messages are always welcome. You can reply to this message or email In order to have your reply included the following week, it is best to send your response by Tuesday morning. Thank you to everyone responding this week and to those who read this message.


Song for the Week

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This week’s song, “I’ll Carry You Home”, sung by Trisha Yearwood, was sent by Leslie, mother of Eugene. She writes, “I thought this song was a good choice for our group. Between missing our loved ones and the COVID-19 pandemic, I think this says it all.” This song musically reminds all of us that we are never alone. 

TAPS Spotify Playlist: A survivor once suggested we include a song of the week, which has now become a weekly feature. One of our contributors, Andy, father of Danny, makes a free playlist on Spotify of the songs that appear in the Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs special to him. The playlist is called TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) Songs of Love and Remembrance.     

Next Week: We will feature a special recipe from a survivor and share why that recipe has a special meaning. 

If you have a favorite recipe or song for this section, please send those to me at and include a note about why the recipe or song is meaningful to you.


Related Stories

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Video: Grief Dreams

This webinar discusses the common questions people have related to dreams after loss and how they apply to one's grief.

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Article: Grief and Sleep

Your sleep is important to your healing, not only physically but emotionally too. Learn 7 tips to cope with insomnia after loss.



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Visit the TAPS Online Community Calendar for this week's schedule of text and video chats and other offerings. We have a virtual gathering most days of the week. Whether you want to share your story or just read how other survivors are sharing and coping, this online grief support community is a way for you to develop and strengthen your connections with TAPS.

Other Items and Events of Interest

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Dare to Lead - Cohort 3

Whether you are looking to enhance your resume or just want to pick up a new skill or two, we are excited to offer a third cohort of our popular Dare to Lead series of workshops, beginning on Sunday, November 15. These sessions are open to TAPS Survivors wanting to bring more courage to their workplace, home, community, or school. It is applicable for both formal and informal leaders (all of us), executives, visionaries, and healers across all spectrums.

Central Regional Seminar 

Join us at the Central Regional Seminar on  November 13 to 15 for a time of sharing, hope, and healing. Our seminars are designed to meet you where you are and help you gain coping skills that will help you find meaning and purpose as you move forward on your grief journey. We are working to make arrangements for this event with safety in mind and look forward to being together again. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, TAPS provides all lodging, meals, materials, activities, and T-shirts at no cost to you.

Set Sail with Your TAPS Family! 

This summer, sail with your TAPS Family on the TAPS Alaska Cruise from July 30 to August 10, 2021, through the inside passage to Alaska onboard Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas! While onboard, TAPS will have a variety of programs and activities available for you and we will gather each evening for a TAPS Family dinner. And to give you peace of mind, Royal Caribbean has extended their “Cruise with Confidence” program through the end of November. Anyone who books a cabin under that program will be able to cancel up to 48 hours before sailing (for any reason) and receive 100% future credit.

A Breath of Fresh Air

We want to help you reconnect with nature in simple, yet meaningful ways with monthly themes and weekly activities you can do anywhere. Join us as we navigate the wilds of our natural world and the wilds of your grief. You will have access to downloadable content, videos, and articles each week and a family campfire at the end of each month! Find nature where you live, whether it be in your community or your own backyard. Join in our activities and snap a photo to share with us. Let's join together for a Breath of Fresh Air!

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

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Choose TAPS as Your AmazonSmile Charity of Choice

AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support TAPS every time you shop, at no cost to you. Visit, log in, and select TAPS as your charity of choice. Amazon will give 0.5% of your eligible purchases to TAPS.

About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication; written and contributed to by survivors. The primary focus of the Saturday Morning Message is to foster peer-based connection for support and encouragement.  It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive atmosphere where we can openly share in a non-judgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable, and explore any opinions/ideas shared that are most beneficial to you on your individual journey. Content submitted for inclusion in the Saturday Morning Message is edited for spacing considerations, grammatical corrections and may be used in other TAPS publications.  

To subscribe or contribute to the Saturday Morning Message email

If you ever need to speak to someone regarding an urgent matter or just need a listening ear, the loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please feel free to contact TAPS at 800-959-8277.