Getting a good night’s sleep is challenging if you struggle with anxiety or are going through stressful times in your life. When sleep decides to play hard to get, you end up feeling like a drained battery, running on empty.
And to worsen the situation, anxiety kicks in as you struggle to fall asleep, making it a double whammy of unease. It’s like being caught in a never-ending whirlwind of fatigue and overwhelm, leaving you feeling like you’ve been through the wringer.
To get back to feeling like your old self, you need to break free from the cycle. Let’s look at some ways to fall asleep when anxiety and stress hold you hostage.
Try a Pre-Bedtime Relaxation Technique
When you can’t sleep, tap into relaxation techniques. They’re like little snooze buttons for anxiety, and they help pave the way for more restful sleep, so you can wake up feeling refreshed.
Here are some to try:
Meditation – Before bedtime, try this strategy. Sit or lie quietly and focus on one thing, like your breathing, or repeat a soothing word or phrase in your mind. Focus on breathing slow and steady through both nostrils, while letting everything else fade away.
Yoga – Slow yoga is like a dance of relaxation that calms your muscles and soothes your nerves, bidding farewell to stress.
Deep Breathing – Before bedtime, focus on your breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose, filling up those lungs, and exhale slowly through your mouth until you feel them empty out. Keep going for about 10 minutes, it’s like giving your mind a little break, inviting those Zen vibes to stay.
Try a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are all the rage right, and they feel like a cozy hug that helps you drift off into dreamland. Unlike traditional blankets, they’re heavier and specially designed to give you a gentle, comforting squeeze as you lie in bed.
If you looked inside a weighted blanket, you’d find glass beads, plastic pellets, and even metal weights snuggled up inside, evenly distributed throughout the blanket to add weight. The extra weight makes your body feel more snug and secure.
You can easily find these online or in stores. They come in all shapes and weights. Consider your body weight and look for a blanket around 10% of that magic number. And if you like a little extra snuggle, you can even add up to 2 pounds more for some added support and pressure.
Enlist the Help of a Sleep App
Sleep apps are all the rage these days. These digital tools are designed to improve your sleep quality and help you achieve a better night’s rest. You can download them on your smartphone and have your own personal sleep coach.
A sleep app can monitor and track your sleep patterns, and help you better understand your sleep habits, sleep duration, and quality. Some apps also provide helpful bedtime reminders, ensuring you establish a consistent sleep schedule. Most also offer relaxation techniques and soothing sounds that will help you drift off to sleep faster.
Using a sleep blanket helps identify potential issues that could contribute to your sleep frustrations. With the help of a sleep app, you can pinpoint patterns or factors affecting your sleep and then make changes that will help you get your sleep pattern back on track. Explore these digital aids that can support your quest for a more restful and rejuvenating slumber.
Talk to Your Doctor about a Melatonin Supplement
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the body in response to darkness, signaling the onset of sleep. It also helps set your body’s sleep-wake cycle and serves as an antioxidant. Studies show melatonin helps with jet lag and may help you drift off to sleep faster. Before starting a melatonin supplement, talk to your physician. They can help you identify the proper dose and monitor how you’re responding. Also, use this as a last resort, after you’ve tried other ways to get a better night’s sleep.
Take a Warm Bath
Taking a warm bath before bed is another effective way to relax, unwind, and let go of the stressors of the day. Dim the lights, lay back on a soft bath pillow, and feel anxiety drift away. Not only does a hot bath ease stress, but the temperature change when you step out of the water tells your body to initiate sleep, so you fall asleep more easily.
Write in a journal
When you can’t drift off to sleep, it’s often because thoughts keep running through your mind – what do I need to do tomorrow etc. The best way to keep those thoughts from interrupting your sleep is to get them down on paper. The act of writing can be calming and cathartic. It’s a way to clear your mind and get rid of the clutter. Think of it as a brain dump!
Eliminate clutter and distractions.
The environment you sleep in matters. If it’s full of clutter, it’s distracting and will make it harder to fall asleep. Make sure your bedroom is restful and sleep-friendly. That means getting rid of all the distractions and clutter that make you feel nervous. Start by turning off all screens, like phones, TVs, and computers. This will help minimize the light and sound that might keep you awake.
Then, look around your room and remove anything that could distract you and make it harder to drift off to sleep. This could include a pile of dirty clothes, a stack of books, or anything else that might trigger your mind to wander. Finally, make sure your bed is comfortable and inviting, so you can slip into a peaceful sleep.
You need quality sleep, so make sure you’re setting yourself up for getting it. Give these techniques a try and be consistent about your sleep and wake times. Then, try to stay on schedule, so your body knows when it’s time to wind down.
- “The Mental Health Benefits of Journaling | Psych Central.” 31 Mar. 2022, psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling.
- “What Is the Link Between Anxiety and Insomnia? – Healthline.” 07 Feb. 2019, healthline.com/health/anxiety-insomnia.
- “Treatment of Insomnia in Anxiety Disorders – Psychiatric Times.” 06 Jan. 2012, psychiatrictimes.com/view/treatment-insomnia-anxiety-disorders.
- How to Choose a Weighted Blanket | Mosaic Weighted Blankets (2023). Available at: https://www.mosaicweightedblankets.com/pages/choosing-a-weighted-blanket (Accessed: 29 March 2023).
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