Download Your Thoughts To Allow You To Fall Asleep
Bedtime can turn into a time when you start to think about all the things you need to do tomorrow, creating a never-ending list of tasks swirling around in your brain. Stop the thought tornado by writing down all the things youre trying to remember. With them safely recorded, your mind can be more at ease and you can deal with them upon waking.
Settle Into Your Routines
When it comes to sleep, routine is your best friend.
- Eating at the same time every day helps regulate your circadian rhythms.
- Eating breakfast signals that its time for your body to wake up.
- Regular daytime exercise releases endorphins and decreases levels of cortisol, the hormone behind stress.
- Going to bed at the same time every night teaches your body to get sleepy around the same time.
But if you want to lessen nighttime anxiety, its still important to implement a specific nighttime routine.
You cant expect to go from 100 mph and then suddenly stop, Dr. Albers says. Instead, institute a 30-minute transition between bedtime and the rest of your day.
Try quiet, tech-free activities that reduce your cortisol levels and help ease you into sleep, such as:
- Taking a bath.
- Doing yoga stretches.
What Is Anxiety What Are Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a feeling of worry and unease. Its normal to experience anxiety occasionally in response to fearful or stressful situations.
In anxiety disorders, this distress becomes excessive. Fears are not proportional to the situation, and worrying interferes with everyday life. These feelings become persistent, occurring most days for a period of six months or more.
You May Like: How To Know If I Have Social Anxiety
What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Anxiety
When you cant sleep due to anxiety, you may experience behavioral changes, including:
- Feelings of being overwhelmed.
- Tense muscles.
Some people also have nocturnal panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden, intense burst of extreme fear. Nocturnal panic attacks only happen at night, and often wake you from sleep.
A Guided Meditation To Help You Sleep
I have found that this exercise helps, but Ive been forgetting one crucial part of my body: my face.
Focus on relaxing one’s eyes and face a common area overlooked when trying to relax, says Dr. Paul Coleman, a psychologist, motivational speaker and the author of Finding Peace When Your Heart Is In Pieces: A Step-by-Step Guide to the other side of Grief, Loss, and Pain. Imagine a simple relaxing scene to focus on. Keep going back to that image if your mind wanders.
Recommended Reading: How To Overcome Anxiety Attack
What Is Morning Anxiety
Morning anxiety is when you feel anxious or afraid immediately after waking up from sleep.
For most people, there isnt even a moment when they werent anxiousits as if they were anxious in their sleep and simply woke up into that anxiety.
Typically, morning anxiety lasts while you are still in bed but tends to decrease quickly once you get up and start your day. Although, for some people, the anxiety persists or even gets stronger as the morning goes on.
Anxiety And Sleep Research
There is, however, plenty of research on how anxiety can affect sleep and vice versa.
According to the ADAA, research shows that sleep disorders occur in almost all psychiatric disorders.
In a small 2015 study , researchers examined the relationship between cognitive behavioral therapy and sleep quality in people with anxiety. Researchers found that both sleep quality and sleep latency improved in participants who responded to CBT.
The researchers believe that targeting sleep problems during anxiety treatment might be beneficial for those who have trouble sleeping.
Its important to remember that it can take time to find the right treatment approach for your anxiety. Because of this, you and your doctor may choose to use a variety of different treatment options.
You May Like: What Kind Of Doctor Treats Anxiety
Blueprint For Better Livinga Guide To Better Sleep
Anxiety piles up at night because anxious preoccupation is avoidable when a person is actively using their brain and body to carry them through the day, says Dr. Kate Cummins, a licensed clinical psychologist. When you have a list of to-dos or business meetings to participate in, your thought process is geared towards frontal cortex functioning, which is the judgment, planning and reasoning areas of your brain. Once you are finding yourself at the end of your day, your frontal cortex has the ability to relax a bit, shifting gears into things you enjoy or pieces of you that are not connected to higher level functioning, mainly in your emotions and limbic system. When your thoughts start connecting to the emotional part of your cognitive functioning, especially at night, the anxious thoughts or anxious emotion that has been lying dormant all day has a place to go, and becomes the forefront of your thinking patterns.
How do we stop this vicious cycle? Weve compiled a list of helpful tips in two parts: things you can do while in the grips of anxious thoughts, and things you can do to prevent them, before you go to bed.
What Does Anxiety Feel Like
The symptoms of anxiety disorders can affect people both emotionally and physically.
People with anxiety may feel extremely nervous and on-edge. This can affect their concentration and mood, leading to irritability and restlessness. Their fear or sense of impending doom can feel overwhelming and out-of-control.
Physically, anxiety disorders can provoke tense muscles, rapid breathing and heartbeat, sweating, trembling, gastrointestinal distress, and fatigue.
Many people with anxiety disorders attempt to avoid situations that could trigger heightened worry however, this does not resolve their underlying fear and can interrupt both professional and personal activities. Over time, a person with anxiety disorder may get used to being worried such that a state of distress or fear seems normal.
Anxiety disorders can occur alongside other mental health problems like depression. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America , nearly 50% of people with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Morning Anxiety
Getting Physical: Yoga Running Dancing Tai Chi
In order to get a good nights sleep and deal with anxiety, you have to act long before bedtime. Physical activity and regular exercise have been stated by medical professionals and researchers as one of the most effective ways of combating physical and mental conditions.
Physical activity can significantly reduce stress levels, improve cognitive function and help your mind and body to relax. Simply put, the benefits of physical activity and exercise extend to every aspect of your life, even beyond anxiety and sleep problems.
Studies have shown that a basic 10-minute walk can relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
A 45-minute workout can help you combat anxiety completely for the day. The reason for this lies in the fact that physical activity elevates the mood by helping the body produce endorphins. These are the chemicals that act as a bodys natural painkillers, stress-reducers and of course, sleep promoters.
People who exercise regularly, and lead an active life are 25% less likely to develop or experience anxiety, as well as sleeping problems. Heres a list of best exercises you can do to decrease anxiety levels and improve sleep
How Common Are Anxiety Disorders
|Adults Affected in U.S.||Percentage of U.S. Adult Population|
|Generalized Anxiety Disorder|
Not all people with anxiety disorders have the same degree of symptoms or impact from anxiety on their everyday life. In one large survey, around 43% of adults described having mild impairment of their life from anxiety. Around 33% said it was moderate, and nearly 23% said it was severe.
You May Like: Does Seeing A Therapist Help With Anxiety
Set Yourself Up For Healthy Sleep When Stressed And Anxious
If you try all of these steps and still struggle to sleep soundly, consider reaching out to your doctor or a sleep expert for support. Treatments for a generalized anxiety disorder or a sleep disorder can vary significantly.
One mental health treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia , is an evidence-based therapeutic technique that looks at the interplay of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that can impact sleep.
Your sleep and anxiety are interconnected. Finding ways to better manage one will ultimately help you find relief with the other.
Do A Bedroom Makeover
Another helpful trick is to make your bedroom a place for nothing but sleep. For some people living in small loft apartments, this might be tricky, but by putting up a divider or curtain, you may be able to simulate a similar separate room effect.
Regardless, redecorating your bedroom for a more comfortable and quiet environment can do wonders for your sleep health. Consider decluttering the room and regularly changing the bedding or adding a rug to make the space more appealing and comfortable.
If you come into your bedroom and still cant sleep, dont just lay there and wait for slumber to hit. Instead, get up after 15 minutes and work on some small projects until your body naturally feels sleepy.
Don’t Miss: How Can I Relieve Anxiety Naturally
Aromatherapy Diffuser And Essential Oil Set
Aromatherapy is a great self-care tool because its said to help improve pain levels and relieve stress.
In particular, while research is somewhat limited on essential oils, lavender oil is one thats generally considered a natural sleep aid. For example, one older study found that lavender increased the amount of slow and deep wave sleep.
Thats why this diffuser and essential oil set is a great tool to help you work aromatherapy into your nightly routine. Plus, the wood diffuser will look cute on your bedside.
Sense a pattern here? Products that give you something calming to focus on before bed are a great idea because they help take your mind off your worries.
Lighting a scented candle before bed is a great way to do that.
Homesick makes a whole line of candles designed to evoke the smells of your home state or specific memories so its pretty easy to find a scented candle that youll find calming.
Consider Getting Medical Help
If you have a sleep disorder that doesnât let up, such as insomnia or chronic nightmares, talk to a sleep specialist.
Insomnia can be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy or sleep medications. Chronic nightmares may require imagery rehearsal therapy that involves rewriting and rehearsing a new version of the nightmare during the day. It can also be treated with various prescription medications. You should also talk to your doctor if you think you have sleep apnea or another condition thatâs disrupting your sleep.
For Coulter, training for a marathon in 2008 provided a temporary break from the sleeplessness. She also gets some relief by taking a sleep medication, though she says it doesnât always work. She is now considering seeing a sleep specialist and in the meantime, has started running again. âRunning does help,â she says. âI think I shift my anxiety to doing a good run or doing well in a race.â
Read Also: How To Manage Anxiety Without Medication
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Dr. Nikki Lacherza-Drew, licensed psychologist and owner of Vici Psychological Care, suggests engaging in proper sleep hygiene to help get better sleep. Lacherza-Drew says, If you have a routine and engage in appropriate sleep hygiene on a consistent basis, your mind will be less likely to go down the rabbit hole of anxious thoughts.
Sleep hygiene refers to various habits that are necessary for good sleep quality. To practice good sleep hygiene, Lacherza-Drew suggests:
- No major physical activity or heavy meals close to bedtime
- No caffeine or alcohol near bedtime or after a certain time in the afternoon
Other easy ways to practice good sleep hygiene include:
- Soaking up the morning sun
- Limiting power naps to 20 minutes
- Keeping your bedroom dark and cool
- Following a consistent bedtime routine
Tips For Beating Anxiety To Get A Better Nights Sleep
Many people with anxiety disorders have trouble sleeping. That’s a problem. Too little sleep affects mood, contributing to irritability and sometimes depression. Vital functions occur during different stages of sleep that leave you feeling rested and energized or help you learn and forge memories. Sleep usually improves when an anxiety disorder is treated. Practicing good “sleep hygiene” helps, too. Here are some steps to take:
For additional tips and strategies for living with anxiety, buy Coping with Anxiety and Stress Disorders, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
Also Check: What Doctor Do I See For Anxiety
Remedies To Cure Sleep Anxiety In Children
The first and foremost step to cure this problem is to identify the main cause behind this problem. Is it because of separation anxiety, or because of being upset with some school bullies? You must speak to your child about the same. Even though the cause may appear minor to us adults, for kids who live in a world of their own, the minor problem may seem to be like a potential threat. Mentioned below are some effective remedies to help your child overcome this problem.
- Make sure that you give your child a cozy and comfortable bed setting so that they feel relaxed, calm and cozy while sleeping.
- It would be a good idea to spend some time with your kid before bed time. Talk about the worries and fears that he or she has, read out a bed time story to your kid and make them fall asleep while you are present.
- Your prime focus should be to calm the child down. You can gently scratch your childs scalp with your fingertips, or may be give a nice back massage. This will help them calm down and relax.
- Give your child and glass of warm milk to drink. This grandma tip proves to be of great help, and a bed time story followed by this would definitely help your child sleep at ease.
- Another important remedy to help your child sleep in time is to establish a fixed routine. Make sure that you set a fixed sleep time for your child so that the body and mind gets used to it.
Is It Possible To Stop Waking Up With Anxiety
In my clinical practice, morning anxiety was something I saw all the time. As a result, I developed a set of pretty effective tools and strategies to help people break the cycle of waking up with anxiety, and instead, retrain their brains to wake up into peace and calm instead.
The key idea, though, is that morning anxiety is a habit. This means that it will take some time, effort, and a little patience if you want to break it.
In the next section, Ill walk you through 10 of the best strategies Ive found for ending morning anxiety for good.
Don’t Miss: How To Cure High Anxiety