If you’re experiencing increased stress and anxiety in your life, it is likely you might be having difficulty falling, or staying, asleep at night. A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. The average amount of sleep a person needs is 7-9 hours a night, however, most don’t sleep this much. Sleep deprivation can run havoc on your health, relationships, and much more. We have compiled 5 helpful tips for sleeping with increased anxiety. Try these out and see what works best for you.
- Create a calm ambiance – Your bedroom should be a relaxing and soothing environment. Monitoring things such as light, sound, and temperature can help you get a good night’s sleep. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet, without distractions. It is essential that you keep your bedroom strictly for sleeping and sex. Avoid doing other activities such as eating, watching tv, or working on a computer. Use soft neutral colors and cotton or silk sheets to make your bed more comfortable. Use light-blocking curtains to keep out unwanted light. You should even cover your clock as it may trigger your anxiety by watching the time tick by at night when you can’t fall asleep.
- Relax your body and mind – Trying to sleep with increased anxiety can be difficult, so finding ways to help soothe your mind before bed is important. Partake in relaxing activities such as listening to soothing music, reading a light book, or taking a warm shower to help relax your body and clear your mind. There are also many relaxation techniques that can help you calm your mind throughout the day, and therefore improve your sleep. Meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises can help you achieve relaxation. It is beneficial to practice techniques for calming your mind during the day, so it will be easier to trigger your relaxation response later at night, before bedtime.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake– Drinking too much caffeine or consuming it too late in the day can increase anxiety, snoring, and sleep deprivation. Consuming alcohol close to bedtime can also increase your heart rate and keep you from falling asleep. Hydration is key. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, but don’t drink too much before bedtime, as numerous bathroom breaks can make you restless and keep you awake. Make sure to go to bed well-nourished but having not eaten too close to bedtime.
- Limit electronics – It is essential to limit the use of any electronics before bedtime. Your phone, tablet, TV, and even certain digital clocks emit blue light that keeps your brain awake. Checking email or doing work right before bed can also trigger anxious thoughts and make it difficult to calm your brain. Turn off electronic devices at least an hour before your set bedtime. Besides keeping your mind stimulated, the lights from an iPad or other electronic devices can make your mind believe it is still daytime, therefore telling your body to stay awake.
- Create a sleep routine – Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time every morning, even on the weekends! Try different bedtimes and wake-up times to find your natural sleep cycle. Schedule your bedtime, and schedule some activities about an hour prior to bedtime, that is conducive to calm and quiet, such as reading, or even just taking time to meditate. Taking a shower or bath shortly before bed can also help lower your body temperature and help you fall asleep easier.
Sleeping with increased anxiety can be difficult but totally manageable with these tips. However, if you’re still having difficulty sleeping after trying these tips, you may want to see a doctor for help. Many medical providers can issue a sleep test, which may reveal underlying health conditions behind your sleep issues. Some issues may be insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and obstructive sleep apnea. You can use our provider search tool to find a provider near you who treats sleep.