Establish A Bedtime Routine
Go to bed and wake up at the same time each and every day. This routine may take some getting used to, but it can greatly reduce the anxiety you may experience around planning sleep and alarms in the morning. Ensure that your bedroom is dark, and free of distractions. TVs in the bedroom are a major distraction that can negatively impact sleep regardless of anxiety. Dont use electronics in bed if it can be avoided, and make sure that you use your phones night filter to reduce harsh blue light close to bedtime. If you cannot sleep, lying in bed may actually be keeping you awake. If after 20 minutes you dont feel close to sleep, get out of bed, keep the lights low and try a relaxing activity. Dont use screens or overstimulate yourself. Instead listen to music quietly, meditate or read a book. Focusing on a regimented, but not strict routine can help alleviate stress and anxiety around bedtime.
How To Sleep Better For Good Health
If you want to optimize your health and productivity its important to get proper rest to function in a healthy manner.
Avoid consumption of caffeine during late hours:
This one is a given. We all know consuming caffeine has various benefits but if done at the right time. A single dose can help enhance focus, energy, and performance. Research shows consumption of caffeine six hours prior to sleep can negatively impact sleep quality. Caffeine can stay elevated in your bloodstream for 68 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 34 pm is not recommended, especially if you have trouble sleeping. If you do want to have caffeine trying opting for decaffeinated coffee.
Reduce long daytime naps:
While power naps are popular because they help us recharge and reset our mind and body for the rest of the day, long and irregular naptimes can negatively affect your sleep at night. Sleeping for long hours during the day will confuse your internal body clock and it would be difficult for your mind and body to know when its time to sleep. Long daytime naps may impair sleep quality. If you have trouble sleeping at night, its best to shorten your naps or avoid napping completely.
Try to sleep and wake up at a fixed time:
Optimize your environment:
Dont eat late in the evening:
Have a pre-sleep routine:
Take a long and relaxing bath or shower:
Switch Off All Electronic Devices Before Bed
When you finally get into bed, turn off your devices.
According to a 2017 study, the use of electronics after bedtime was solely linked to the amount of time it took to fall asleep in nearly 350 adult participants.
You find it hard to fall asleep before bed when you use your phones because the blue light from them inhibits the sleep hormone melatonin, making it even more difficult for you to fall asleep.
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Create An Environment For Sleep
Creating an environment that promotes restful sleep isnt just for babies and small children. It is important for adults too. Follow these tips for making your bedroom a place that invites restful sleep:
- Remove distractions. This includes the TV and computer, as well as, any items that remind you of work or that create noise.
- Use room-darkening shades or drapes that can be drawn at bedtime to create a dark environment.
- Use a fan or white noise machine to drown out outside noises, such as traffic or street noises.
- Make sure your mattress is comfortable.
- Purchase quality bedding and pillows that make you feel comfortable.
Identify The Root Of The Anxiety Out Loud And Fight It With Positivity
Once you’re in the grips of anxious thinking, you have to work at clearing your mind by venting the nervous thoughts and replacing them with positive ones.
First, decide what it is specifically that you are focused on that is causing you anxiety, says Dr. Cummins. Is it something that you have control over? Is it something in your future that has not yet occurred for you? If so, state the negative thoughts or anxious concerns out loud and then follow them up with alternative and positive thoughts or solutions for your problems.
You have to be able to soothe yourself out of the uncontrollable and irrational black or white thinking by combating it with alternative thinking or it is impossible to avoid, adds Cummins.
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Does Anxiety Go Away
For those people that are diagnosed with a legitimate anxiety disorder, the condition is unlikely to go away. Some people may be able to better control their anxiety disorder with the help and guidance of a therapist or psychologist, and medications may help further control the condition. There may also be specific coping mechanisms to help manage anxiety disorders, however, a permanent cure for anxiety does not currently exist.
For those that do not suffer from an anxiety disorder, but only have occasional or intermittent anxiety from time-to-time, this is normal and healthy behavior for many people. Temporary anxiety is likely to diminish over time, and if it is related to a specific place or person, removing yourself from those situations may help the anxiety go away after some time.
Sleep Anxiety: Tips To Manage Anxiety And Improve Sleep
In these unprecedented and challenging times, you may find yourself worrying more than usual.
Whether thats being asked to work from home, having to take unpaid leave, avoid people or the schools closing, this may feel extremely stressful. Not only does this impact on your mental wellbeing but you may also find yourself struggling to sleep during this period.
Theres a close relationship between sleep and mental health. Lack of sleep can affect mental health, but mental health problems can also affect how well you sleep both the quantity and the quality of it so its extremely important to address both issues.
We all know that lack of sleep impacts on our mood so in this time of uncertainty, its important to look out for changes in yourself but also your family member, friend or colleagues behaviour and attitude.
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Set The Stage For Sleeping
Making getting a good nights sleep a priority means more than reducing stress and anxiety and creating a comforting environment. You need to set the stage for sleep, too. Follow these tips for preparing both your mind and body for sleep:
- Set a regular bedtime. Going to bed at the same time every night helps your body establish a regular sleep cycle. Make sure you allow for at least 7 or 9 hours of sleep time before the alarm sounds in the morning.
- Avoid stimulants in the evening. Opt for a cup of relaxing herbal tea instead of that after dinner coffee to avoid problems with sleeping.
- Establish a bedtime routine. Whether you choose to read a book, listen to soft music or soak in the tub, a regular bedtime routine will signal the brain to prepare for sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests getting up and engaging in a relaxing activity if you have not fallen asleep within 20 minutes. Laying in bed and trying to sleep can cause a snowball effect, increasing your anxiety and making it even more difficult to go to sleep. If sleep problems persist, talk to your doctor as there may be a medical reason for your sleep problems.
If You Have Trouble Sleeping Get Up And Do Something Relaxing
Sometimes what happens in people who are feeling like theyre fully awake, they force themselves to sleep. Unfortunately, it doesnt work.
If this happens what I usually do is get up to do something relaxing. Do not stimulate your mind. By stimulating your mind, youre going to push yourself into a more wakeful state.
One of the first things I do when I have trouble falling asleep is trying to figure out why or whats bothering me. Unresolved issues that induce anxiety, unless dealt with will not go away.
Sometimes gentle stretches, as well as deep breathing exercises, also help. Racing or nagging thoughts prevent us from nodding off. Maybe try writing down your anxiety-inducing worries on paper so you can sleep better.
Nighttime is usually the time when our minds tend to get busier as well as our muscles tense up. This would be a great time to start relaxing your muscles one at a time. Turning your bed into a haven of comfort and relaxation is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Keep this area only for sleeping. Otherwise, stay out of there when you are doing any type of mind-stimulating exercise.
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Avoid Alcohol And Caffeine Consumption At Night
What you consume before bed plays a significant role in getting a good nights sleep even when you dont have anxiety. So, avoid drinking stimulants such as coffee and other caffeinated drinks that can be a barrier to falling asleep. Caffeine is a drug that acts as an adenosine receptor antagonist which keeps the body from falling asleep. It also stimulates your bodys fight or flight response and can make anxiety worse.
Avoiding alcohol consumption before bedtime is also recommended to get better sleep with anxiety. Even though alcohol induces drowsiness, it can also disrupt sleep quality. Alcohol consumption is associated with frequent awakenings, night sweats, nightmares, headaches, and restlessness.
Experts have agreed that it takes about an hour for caffeine to reach peak levels in your body and its effect can take from 4 to 6 hours. Thus, if you want to know how to sleep better with anxiety, it would be best to avoid alcohol and caffeine for at least 4 hours before bedtime.
Understanding Anxiety To Sleep Better At Night
Becoming free from anxiety wasnt a one-time event. It took me a long continuous process, but it changed only when I decided I had to change and do something about it.
Slowly I realized the causes and now I know that anxiety always happens because of these four reasons :
- Because of our attachment to the ideal- of how we want to control everything, of how we want things to be instead of just letting it be in the present moment.
- Because were not in the present moment.
- Because of too much focus on the future, looking into this future with fear and believing they will be true.
- Engaging with this fear unknowingly by too much negative self talk and negative auto-suggestion. We then start doubting ourselves, our potential, which eventually leads us to stop loving ourselves.
I have already written an in-depth post on how to let go of anxiety and heal yourself, so I wont go into the details here.
But as I became more clear about what was truly causing my anxiety and depression, I realized that I had to be kinder to myself.
I had to change my lifestyle, my state of mind, and all the negative auto-suggestions I was giving myself unknowingly which was making me miserable.
I had to go to the root cause of it. When I did this my sleep returned naturally and I was able to sleep better even with anxiety.
What I share here is from my personal experience and itshould not be taken as an alternative to seeking medical help or direct medical advice from a doctor or clinician.
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Learn Stress Reduction Techniques
Learning to reduce stress and anxiety in your everyday life is vital to learning how to sleep better with anxiety. Try these techniques for reducing stress and anxiety:
- Get regular exercise. Exercising regularly reduces stress and helps you relax, but avoid exercising just before bedtime as this can cause more difficulty in going to sleep.
- Learn to meditate. Meditation relaxes both the body and the mind, but you dont need to be a guru to reap the benefits. Simply relaxing in a quiet area and concentrating on your breathing while visualizing a calm and stress-free environment, such as a nature scene, will help you release the stress of the day.
- Listen to calming music. There are a wide variety of choices from your favorite tunes to compositions specifically designed to induce relaxation and relieve stress. Choose music that makes you feel good, but avoid loud or upbeat music with higher beats per minute as this may energize you and make sleeping more difficult.
- Take up a relaxing hobby. Whether you choose photography, searching for sea glass on the beach or gardening doesnt matter, as long as you find the activity relaxing.
Keep A Worry Journal Beside Your Bed
Anxiety is always about what ifs and trying to be prepared by situations that may or may not occur a kind of fruitless rehearsal for potential problems. Its not an effective tactic and can compromise our wellbeing over the long term. Keep a notebook by your bed to jot down any worries. The act of recording them can zap their power. Review them in a few days when you can ask yourself, Did the situations I was so worried about actually happen? Over time, you may learn that the majority dont become reality, helping to ease anxiety.
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Help Is Available If Youre Having Trouble Sleeping
Dr. Drerup offers some suggestions that can help improve your sleep habits, including individuals who suffer from chronic insomnia. Trying to break some of the patterns that you may have developed is often the key.
1. Keep your sleep schedule the same
You can improve your sleep by ensuring that you have a consistent sleep schedule. Avoid staying up late on weekends and sleeping in, then trying to go to bed at your regular time on Sunday night.
We call it social jet lag because its like youve flown to California, and now youre trying to adjust back to the time zone difference, explains Dr. Drerup. So, keep those times as consistent as you can.
Going to bed early or sleeping in to catch up only leads to more fragmented and poor quality sleep. Typically, you go to bed two hours early and then just lay there wide awake, continuing to associate your bed with not sleeping.
2. Take some quiet time before bedtime
Quiet time is worth its weight in gold. Give yourself at least 30 to 60 minutes of quiet, relaxed time before bed as a buffer. Nix phone screen time and replace it with reading a book, listening to calming music, taking a warm bath or having some decaffeinated herbal tea.
3. Distract yourself if you cant sleep
If you cant fall asleep, get up and try to restart by doing something to distract yourself before going back to bed.
4. Learn how to relax
5. Keep a sleep log
Think of this as the adult sister to that diary youve kept in middle school.
How Anxiety Affects Sleep
Sleep problems caused by anxiety arent limited to people with diagnosed anxiety disorders.
The spectrum ranges from everyday kind of problems that might make us anxious and affect sleep all the way to people diagnosed with anxiety disorders who are likely to have ongoing problems, Dr. Neubauer said.
Anxiety can affect sleep at any time, but most commonly causes difficulty in falling asleep. People with higher levels of anxiety may feel anxious all the time and have trouble staying asleep. In general, Neubauer said, the risk for awakening in the night parallels the degree of anxiety.
People with persistent insomnia also become anxious about sleep, he said. The more anxious they are about sleep, that undermines the ability to sleep well, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In fact, a June 2013 study in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that sleep deprivation contributes to anxiety by heightening peoples anticipatory and stress-inducing response processes.
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Try A White Noise Machine To Help You Fall Asleep
A low level of constant noise can be useful for distracting your anxious mind, shifting the focus away from troubling thoughts to the constant noise produced from a white noise machine. A simple fan also does the trick as does a sleep app on your phone. Just make sure that the volume is quite low barely audible to keep sound in the background.
Make A Pledge To Accept Uncertainty
Your anxiety may be tied to a problem that is understandably keeping you up at night. But you have to let it go if only for this moment.
Repeat the phrase I accept uncertainty for now. I will take action when action is possible, says Coleman. Accepting uncertainty is crucial because otherwise one is resisting uncertainty at a time when resisting only adds to tension.
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Get A Bed That Fits You
When you sleep on an uncomfortable mattress, pressure points build up on your body, causing you to toss and turn. A supportive mattress and pillow provide support to the contours of your body and neck, and keep you cool and comfortable for sleep.
For drool-worthy sleep at a price point that wont break the bank, you may want to check out the Casper Original Mattress. Engineered for cool, comfortable sleep, the Casper Original provides targeted layers of support and unique cooling perforations so you can spend less time counting sheep and more time catching Zs.
If youre looking for that sleeping-on-a-cloud experience, the Casper Nova Hybrid may be the right option for you. As our most plush mattress yet, the Casper Nova provides sturdy support with a luxuriously soft top layer so you can sleep worry-free.
What Are The Types Of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a core element of a number of specific disorders, although not all are categorized strictly as anxiety disorders.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder : People with GAD have significant, looming worries about many different things that can cause an overarching sense of anxiety.
- Panic Disorder: Extremely intense episodes of fear, known as panic attacks, that usually last for a few minutes at a time are the defining feature of Panic Disorder.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: This disorder involves an extreme fear of social settings and potential embarrassment in front of other people.
- Specific Phobias: Specific phobias are intense fears caused by particular triggers. Some of the most common specific phobias include agoraphobia and separation anxiety.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder : In OCD, a person obsesses about an issue in a negative way such that it provokes anxiety, and this causes a compulsion, which is their attempt to control or eliminate that anxiety. Compulsions are repeated ritually and can directly impact everyday activities.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder : This condition can arise after a person is exposed to a painful or disturbing situation. People with PTSD may relive the stressful event, feel on-edge, and have potentially debilitating anxiety.
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