Use Your Bed Only For Sleep And Sex
With all of our technology and entertainment, many of us find it difficult to keep our bed a place designated only for sleep and sex. It can be tempting to turn our beds into home offices, by texting on our phones, answering emails on laptops, or reading documents for work. The bed is also not a place for constant entertainment, such as watching hours of television, reading magazines, or talking on the phone.
To get a good night’s sleep, stick to the 15-minute rule. When you get into bed at night, only allow yourself 15 minutes of wake time. If you don’t fall asleep during that time, get out of bed and engage in a low-key activity, such as reading a book. Don’t do anything that may be too over-stimulating, such as watching the news or doing physical exercise.
After about 20 minutes, get back into bed and try again. If 15 more minutes go by and you don’t fall asleep, get out of bed again and go back to a quiet activity. This can be very challenging at first, but if practiced over time, you’ll begin to make sleep a priority and get a better nights rest.
Dealing With Anxiety The How
Here are some ways to manage anxiety by strengthening the structure and function of your brain in ways that protect it against anxiety. Remember though, the brain is like any other muscle in your body it will get stronger with practice. I wish I could tell you that it would get stronger with pizza and tacos but that would be a dirty big lie and very unhelpful. Delicious maybe, but unhelpful. What isnt a lie is that the following strategies have been proven by tons of very high-brow research to be very powerful in helping to reduce anxiety.
Mindfulness. But first to show you why.
A mountain of studies have shown that mindfulness can be a little bit magic in strengthening the brain against anxiety. In a massive analysis of a number of different mindfulness/anxiety studies, mindfulness was found to be associated with robust and substantial reductions in symptoms of anxiety.
Mindfulness changes the brain the way exercise changes our body but without the sweating and panting. Two of the ways mindfulness changes the brain are:
Okay then. What else can mindfulness do?
Plenty. Mindfulness can improve concentration, academic performance, the ability to focus, and it can help with stress and depression. It also increases gray matter, which is the part of the brain that contains the neurons. Neurons are brain cells, so we want plenty of them and plenty of gray matter for them to hang out in.
So mindfulness hey? What is it exactly?
Is there an app for that?
What Causes Anxiety Before Sleep
According to clinical psychologist Emily Knott, Anxiety before bedtime often takes the form of a phenomenon referred to in psychology as pre-sleep arousal.
Knott says that pre-sleep arousal may cause the body and nervous system to enter a state of heightened awareness that may take the form of problem-solving, thinking about your own thoughts, focusing on stimuli in the environment such as noise and light, and ruminating about the consequences of not being able to sleep.
While there hasnt been extensive research conducted on sleep and anxiety, there are a few reasons why your anxiety may be worse at night. Here are possible causes.
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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.
Which Comes First The Chicken Or The Egg
Before we get into the possible treatment of anxiety and recommendations for better sleep, it is important to distinguish which comes first the anxiety or the sleep disturbance? That is usually the main problem in the very diagnosis of anxiety or a sleep disorder.
As mentioned in the introduction, anxiety can cause sleep problems, and sleep problems can cause anxiety.
This means that there is a direct connection and causative relationship between anxiety and sleep problems.
Studies have shown that sleep disturbances directly co-occur with psychological disorders, like anxiety and depression.
Therefore, you as a patient need to discuss both of these issues with your doctor. You also need to treat both of them to see some relief to your mental health as well as improvement in the quality of your sleep.
If left untreated, anxiety, as well as disrupted sleep, can have harmful effects on your life they can cause cardiovascular problems, diabetes and stroke among others.
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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.
When You Wake Up Panicking At 3 Am
Weve all been there a nightmare or stressdream causes you to wake up. The next thing you know youre lying thereoverthinking your finances and everything you have to do the next day.
When this happens, what can you do to getback to sleep?
- Stop watching the clock: Counting the minutes will onlyheighten your distress. Turn your alarm clock around and dont pick up yourphone.
- Try to relax your body: Use a relaxation strategy thathelped prior to bed to relax your body and mind.
- Get out of bed: If you cant fall back to sleepafter a stressful dream, then try getting out of bed to help decrease thefrustration. Dont spend time in bed hopelessly trying to get back to sleep orinterpreting your dream. Once you leave your bed,find an activitythat is uninteresting or boring. When you start to get drowsy, go back to bed.
Since dreams obviously arent measurable, theres no real answer to what meaning they hold in our day-to-day life. But we do know that we generally have control over daily stress, which can trigger weird or anxiety-clad dreams. Learning to control the crazy and manage your stress is your best defense to help you sleep peacefully.
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Stalked By Chronic Nightmares
Chronic nightmares are another troublesome sleep disorder that can cause fear, says Shelby Harris, PsyD, CBSM, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Montefiore Medical Centerâs Sleep-Wake Disorders Center in New York City. Children are especially vulnerable, but adults – especially those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder — experience nightmares, too.
Joni Aldrich, 57, of Winston-Salem, N.C., began to dread sleep after she lost her husband to brain cancer four years ago. After he had a seizure, she had to make the difficult decision to suspend treatment, an experience that traumatized her.
Every night, she had nightmares of him begging her to help him, but she couldnât. She would awaken shaking. Aldrich finally got help from a counselor and began taking an anti-anxiety medication to help her sleep. âI still take the anti-anxiety medication in a very low dose, because I fear the results otherwise,â says Aldrich, CEO of Cancer Lifeline Publications. âEven one of those nightmares wouldn’t be worth it. And, I still go to bed later than I should just to make sure that I’m really tired.â
Have Large Meals 4 Hours Before Bedtime
People have late dinners, usually an hour or two before bedtime. This is the worst thing they can do for themselves.
Not only does the meal just sit there, but it also piles on the weight.
Indigestion is a significant hindrance when were trying to sleep. For instance, I had to have a colon resection many years ago. Eighteen inches of my colon was removed. If I want to have a good nights sleep, I have to have my meal at least six hours before bedtime.
My colon doesnt function like a healthy colon. I have to pay extra care to how I eat, what I eat as well when I eat.
Lying down on a full stomach can also cause acid to come back up. This is especially bad for people who have acid reflux disease.
Our bodies are not designed to eat big meals and then go to bed. Sitting upright helps us to digest our food because gravity helps to get the job done.
Our stomach takes about three hours to empty itself, which means if you were to eat right before bedtime, your stomach would spend the whole night trying to empty itself out. This would cause you to toss and turn all night long.
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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.
If You Wake Up At Night Do Something Relaxing To Fall Back Asleep
Scrolling through your news feeds definitely doesnt count as relaxing. Instead, if you wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep, its probably your best bet to get out of bed and do a quiet activity like reading, journaling, meditating, light stretching, or foam rollingwhatever works to bring you back downrather than staying in bed. This is so that your bed doesnt become a place to worry or feel anxious or upset. Its to ensure the bed gets associated with sleep-conducive states like relaxation and tiredness, Arnedt says.
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How To Get Rid Of Anxiety So You Can Sleep Better
If youre struggling to fall asleep due to anxiety, it could be that treating the anxiety will help solve your insomnia and lack of sleep as well. Anxiety disorders should only be diagnosed by a licensed therapist or medical professional, and these professionals can also help you find treatment regimens as well as, potentially, medications to control the condition. You should not try to self-medicate for anxiety disorders, and should only medicate per the medical advice and supervision of a psychiatrist.
One of the most common and effective treatments for anxiety disorders is continued and guided therapy with a professional counselor or therapist.
The branch of therapy known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be effective for many people, as it helps patients suffering from anxiety disorders create new, positive thought pathways that can help when in anxious situations. There are three different types of CBT, each with an individualized approach in treatment, including interpersonal therapy, thought records, and modern exposure therapy.
Another form of therapy is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, also known as ACT. This form of therapy is more focused on mindfulness training and taking action based on personal values, and is unique in that it is not focused on symptom reduction.
Shifting Your Perspective
Should I Let Me Child Get Out Of Bed If They Are Scared
Let your child know that they can always talk to you about things they feel worried about and together you can work out a solution.
Encourage your child to stay in bed. They should stay in bed and find out they are safe, which will help them get over their fears. Letting your child leave the room sends the message that their bedroom isn’t really safe. If your child is too scared to stay in their room alone, it is OK to sometimes stay by their bed until they fall asleep. Do not do this too often because they may come to depend on you being there. If your child is anxious about you leaving, check on them. Begin by briefly checking and comforting them, and then increase the time in between checks until they fall asleep. Leave the bedroom door open and think about using a nightlight to decrease your child’s fears.
If your child wakes up during the night and can’t go back to sleep because they are frightened, go and reassure them that they are safe. If they leave their room and come into yours, take them back and put them back into bed. Tell them again that their room is safe.
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Stay Away From Caffeinated Drinks
Eliminate caffeinated drinks and foods after 2:00 P.M. Caffeine affects people differently, so your cut off time may be a little earlier or later, but start with 2:00 P.M. and adjust as needed. The National Sleep Foundation identifies caffeine as a source of insomnia as well as anxiety, excessive urination, irritability and rapid heartbeat.
Chronic Elevated Levels Of Adrenaline
Finally, one of the things that we know about anxiety is that the physical symptoms can be increased when levels of adrenaline in the body are high. These physical symptoms, such as racing heart and hyperventilation, can actually lead to greater feelings of anxiety themselves. Anxiety has been associated with chronic adrenaline release. The body, for whatever reason, seems to release adrenaline too quickly and too easily even when there is no stress present, and this rush of adrenaline causes the entire body to feel on edge.
So whats interesting is that scientists have shown that those with sleep debt often have chronically elevated levels of adrenaline. One interpretation of these findings is that when you dont get enough sleep, adrenaline may start to course through your veins more often. For those without anxiety this may not be too big a problem. However, those with anxiety are likely to respond to the the adrenaline increase and thus experience an increase in overall anxiety levels.