This article is written by guest author Marie Miguel.
When your head hits the pillow, you wish you could sleep. You try your best to saw some logs and count all of the sheep you can muster. However, sleep alludes you. Your mind could be going full steam ahead, thinking about tomorrow’s events or analyzing the previous days’ successes and missteps. You could be anxious about your meeting at 8 a.m. at work, your comprehensive final exam in the most difficult college course of your career to date or worried that a loved one will succumb to an illness.
Maybe you can’t pinpoint the cause of your spinning thoughts. Perhaps you fall asleep, only to wake up two hours later with eternal insomnia. For those with anxiety, it can be challenging to fall asleep, leaving them less than rested and not ready to start their days. They can lose motivation and productivity and experience mood changes, failing mental and physical health and more. It’s much more than just losing some extra zzz’s to some random thoughts. It affects their lives.
If you have anxiety and have trouble sleeping, here are some ways you can combat anxiety at bedtime:
Decrease your digital screen usage before bed.
While many of us may want to binge watch a new show on Netflix or read a book on our iPad before we fall asleep, those actions could actually be causing our insomnia and anxiety to worsen. Try to stay away from screens at least one hour before bedtime to avoid stimulating your brain when you are trying to keep it at rest. Keep your bedroom as relaxing as possible. Avoid working from bed and consider keeping your pets out of the bed to avoid allergies and movements in the bed. Use chamomile and lavender scents to decrease anxiety and promote sleep.
Have a regular bedtime schedule.
If you go to sleep at 2 a.m. one day, 10 p.m. the next and 12 a.m. after that, your sleep schedule will be all out of whack. Go to sleep at the same time every night and try to wake up at relatively the same time every morning. This includes weekdays AND weekends. You will become more attuned to your natural sleep cycle, which means you will get more rest if you’re on a schedule.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed.
Nothing will keep you awake and keep your mind racing than consuming caffeine before bedtime. Have a mandatory cutoff for drinking caffeinated beverages. Each person is different. For example, you could stop drinking coffee at 5 p.m. because that is the end of your workday. If you have a nightcap, you could fall asleep very quickly; however, the alcohol tends to decrease a good night’s sleep and wake you up after a couple of hours.
Use white noise to try to get to sleep.
Keep your ceiling fan on or use a thunderstorm-sound app to try to get some sleep. White noise can be relaxing, whether you live near the ocean and like to fall asleep to the sound of the waves or you live right in the middle of the city, and the sirens and hustle and bustle of city life helps you sleep. Do what makes the most sense to you and your sleeping patterns.
Talk with someone about your anxiety and related insomnia.
You don’t have all the answers, even when you think you do as you stay awake at night contemplating your life’s greatest questions. Cease your internal Q&A session and ask for help when you need it. You could help break your stubborn patterns with hypnosis. If you aren’t getting enough sleep and have anxiety or another mental health disorder, get some advice on Betterhelp. The website has expert blogs and mental health professionals on standby 24/7. If you can’t sleep, talk with someone who can help you.
Read more tips on HealthCentral to find your best sleeping habits for decreasing your nighttime anxiety.
About the Author
Marie Miguel is an avid internet researcher. She is fueled by her determination to answer the many questions she hasn’t been able to find the answer to anywhere else. When she finds these answers she likes to spread the knowledge to others seeking help. She is always looking for outlets to share her information, therefore she occasionally has her content published on different websites and blogs. Even though she doesn’t run one for herself she loves contributing to others.