Importance of Sleep in Divorce

Sleep is crucial in divorce to ensure that information is retained and appropriate decisions are made that can affect the rest of one’s life.  Both the Slow Wave sleep of Delta and REM are required for optimal processing of material taken in and new skills that are learned. There are three parts to memory formation and these are Acquisition where new material is obtained, and Consolidation when memory is stabilized in the brain. During sleep the neural connections that form memory are strengthened and this stage is called Recall. The hippocampus is the region of the brain that goes over the events of the day. When there is poor quality of sleep, Researchers at University of Berkeley found that memories do not travel from the hippocampus to the prefrontal cortex, where long-term information and memories are stored. Not retaining information can impact divorce hearings or cause complications post-divorce if a client feels that he never received important facts.

In Delta sleep, the growth hormone is released and is the stage that consolidates new memories and learning. Cell growth and repair of cellular damage occurs in Slow Wave sleep. Too little Slow Wave Sleep can cause weight gain, increases the risk of pre-diabetes, and affects the functioning of the immune system. Not having enough deep sleep can affect a divorcing person’s health.

 In the REM stage of sleep, it is as if a secretary is going through memory files and sending less important ones to the archives. New research indicates that REM increases activity in the right hemisphere of the brain which is linked to creativity. Some inventors, such as Thomas Edison, have gotten ideas and answers in their dreams.

Insomnia decreases the ability to focus and take in facts. Various studies indicate poor quality of sleep hinders being able to recall facts. Irritability and poor judgement can occur when a person is sleep deprived. If a person is getting out of control, it may not be entirely due to stress, but also because of lack of sleep. Here are some tips to try:

Bright light can hinder the release of melatonin, so do not use the computer for at least one half hour before bedtime. Exercise earlier in the day and develop a bedtime routine to wind down and relax. Listening to a relaxation CD can help. Sleep in a cool, dark room and recharge cell phones and other devices in another room. Write in a journal or jot down future tasks on a to-do-list to deal with a later time. I did hypnotherapy on a client where he mentally put worries and jobs that needed to be done, in a box high up in his closet. They were temporarily out of his mind to give him much needed sleep. A few homeopathic remedies have worked well on me. Bach’s Flower SLEEP Rescue Remedy works well at bedtime or when waking up in the middle of the night. For persistent thoughts swirling around in your brain, Bach’s White Chestnut helps to quell them. There are other natural sleep remedies and a naturopath can steer you in the right direction.

Six percent of the population has clinical insomnia, and much of this is due to medical problems such as chronic pain and fibromyalgia. The stress of divorce can increase these flare ups or the dosage of prescribed medication may need to be tweaked. A healthcare provider can work with you on medical conditions as well as diagnosing others, such as sleep apnea. This is when the muscles in the back of the throat occlude the airway and the person repeatedly wakes up or goes into a lighter stage of sleep.  After ruling out any physical conditions, a life coach or having short-term cognitive therapy can help you form strategies and behaviors to increase the quality of sleep. When your thoughts are muddled or you snap at everyone, evaluate how much sleep you are averaging each week.

Wendi Schuller, uses her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, to author the book The Women’s Holistic Guide to Divorce that helps women regaining their strength of inner peace and wisdom. She can be reached by email



  1. Thank you for your article. I found this interesting.

    -Michael C. Craven, Chicago Divorce Attorney

  2. Thank you. Hope this can help any divorce clients with insomnia. Lack of sleep impacted a few of my decisions in divorce.

  3. Lauren says:

    Divorce issues can definitely cause sleep problems. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  4. Thanks for the feedback. I recently discovered a sleeping aid that Trader Joe’s and other stores sell for occasional sleeplessness. It is L-Theanine, 5-HTP,
    and Melatonin in a single supplement.

  5. Thank you for your article. I found this interesting.

    -Michael C. Craven, Chicago Divorce Attorney

  6. Thank you for sharing this information on the importance of sleep in divorce. I have never been divorced but I have had a close family member who has gone through the process. From what I have heard, it is not something easy to deal with. Like you said, “sleep is crucial in divorce to ensure that information is retained and appropriate decisions are made.” It would also be a good idea to find a lawyer who you can trust in order to help you make these important decisions. Thanks again!

  7. Thanks for your comment. Insomnia can be a long-term issue when it becomes a habit. It can be helped with the tips in the article. Sounds like you are a lawyer that can help your clients with this problem and staying on task.