Sleep Anxiety is that nervousness and unease at night that keeps you from having a restful night’s sleep. Instead of waking up feeling refreshed, you feel exhausted. This article will help you form some habits and routines aimed at producing a healthier, happier sleep pattern.
Why Anxiety Can Affect Your Sleep
Racing thoughts and things you should have done, or did do and regret. There may be so many causes. So, lets just call it our night-time struggle with trying to quieten our thoughts.
What makes night-time anxiety so bad is that it can become a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation. I.e.: Not being able to sleep due to anxiety, then anxiety because you are not able to sleep. We all know that this is not a tenable situation long term. We need sleep to rest and repair our bodies – physically and mentally.
If this is you, then its time to get proactive with some simple strategies to help you relax your mind and body before going to sleep.
1. Create a Pre-Sleep Ritual
Firstly, make time to ‘wind down’ before you sleep. Find ways to help calm your mind. This might be reading; meditating; taking a warm shower, listening to music. This helps clear your mind before you turn the lights out. Your night-time ritual should take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.
2. No Night-Time Snacking
Eating meals late at night can interfere with sleep. Include with this the three amigos; caffeine, sugar, and alcohol and you will very likely be upsetting your digestive system and disrupting your sleep. When you eat and / or consume alcohol late at night you can cause your blood sugar to rise and fall dramatically adding to the pressure on your nervous system.
3. Stop Napping after Dinner
When you allow yourself to nap on the couch in the evening, you are making it harder for yourself to sleep again later. Keep yourself active with a few tasks, even household chores will help you to feel like you are more on top of things. Then start your pre-sleep ritual.
4. Write Down your To-Do’s for Tomorrow
This is the best way I have of purging my mind of all the ‘things” going on in there. All the things I need to remember. If you write them down, your brain can relax and let them go. It really works for me! So, give it a go.
Learning to quiet your mind can be very helpful in winding down prior to falling asleep at night. It’s easy to start with just a few minutes of sitting quietly and focusing on slowly breathing in and out. There are also many apps that will help talk you through some simple meditations.
Guided meditation for Anxiety to help sleep.
6. No Stressful Activities Before Bed
Stay away from any tense social media exchanges, and the nightly dose of depressing evening news on TV. If possible, put your electronic devises in another room as part of your pre-sleep ritual.
7. Dim the Lights
There is a very important reason to make this part of your pre-sleep ritual. By turning off the main lights and just using a lamp stand for reading, you are signalling to your body that you are ready to go to sleep. Your body responds by starting to produce melatonin, which helps you to sleep.
It’s a fact that people who exercise regularly will fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. Even with a busy schedule, most of us can still fit in some moderate-intensity workout, like a brisk walk. If you are already very physically active, but still struggle with getting to sleep, then you may need to balance the exercise with more meditation to calm your mind before sleeping.
If you found this article helpful, then check out its companion article: 5 Step Routine to Defeat Morning Anxiety.