Focus On Something Positive
If all the stressful moments of the day are replaying in your mind, shut them down by thinking about something positive. “Say three positive affirmations about yourself, the day today, or the day tomorrow,” Rogers says. “Get in a positive mindset so your mind doesn’t fill with negative thoughts as you are winding down.”
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.
Hatch Rest+ Sound Machine And Nightlight
Full disclosure: The Rest+ is technically designed for kids but hear me out. When I used it, it helped me sleep better than it helped my son sleep.
My brother bought it for my son for Christmas and at the time, my son was still sleeping in a bassinet in our room, so I set up the Rest+ near my bed and it didnt take long for me to become dependent on it.
I found the sound machine features incredibly soothing, though other people might find the white noise feature more soothing.
Sound machines can give your brain something for your racing thoughts to focus on and listen to as you lay down to sleep.
The color night light might also be helpful, as you can program it to match your bedtime routine and program the light to slowly dim as you drift off to sleep.
If you prefer not to get a product meant for kids, the company also recently came out with the Hatch Restore aimed at adults specifically. It has many of these same helpful features to create a bedtime routine without any of the baby-focused ones.
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Using Relaxation Techniques To Overcome Anxiety At Night
What To Do If You Wake Up During The Night
Through a combination of good sleep hygiene and relaxation techniques, you managed to quell your anxious thoughts and finally drift off to sleep. So it can be especially frustrating when you wake up just a couple of hours later and have difficulty getting back to sleep. When this happens, try to avoid getting caught up replaying anxious thoughts by immediately launching back into your favorite relaxation technique.
You might start with 4-7-8 breathing or progressive muscle relaxation until you fall asleep. You can also add guided imagery to your tool kit. Visualizing something serene and pleasurable can help calm the mind and body.
If you still canât fall asleep, don’t stay in bed for too long. Instead, do a sleep reset. Also known as âstimulus control,â a sleep reset helps prevent your brain from forming â or strengthening â an association between your bed and wakefulness. To reset, get out of bed and do something relaxing while sitting up. When you start to feel sleepy, return to bed. Repeat as necessary.
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What Triggers Night Anxiety
Its dark and everything seems tragic when its dark.
Then you worry about not getting enough sleep again and the cycle continues until its 5 AM and youve slept only 2 hours the entire night.
You may also experience hideous dreams that make no sense at all. You wake up feeling awful. You just know that youre going to be a wreck again tomorrow.
A surefire way to ruin your entire day too, right?
Why? What keeps triggering these night anxiety attacks especially when youre in bed at night?
The relative isolation, quiet, and absence of distractions are probably the most important factors here.
During the day, we can use a variety of strategies to modulate these concerns, including taking direct action to address them.
Lying in bed in a dark room, they become overwhelming and inescapable.
Say Out Loud Something In Me Is Feeling
Scared, worried, or even terrifiedâhowever you’re feeling, just say it. This can help calm you down even if you’re not entirely sure what the worry culprit is, precisely.
“Thatâs because stepping off the train of worrisome thoughts to a place of seeing them as something in you, not the totality of you, immediately takes you to a calmer place,” says Dr. Brenner. “If you can imagine the worrisome thoughts stealing your sleep as something inside you that is worried for your safety and the safety of those you love, youâll feel more deeply, but youâll almost automatically slow down and be more relaxed, because you gave it a chance to be touched and heard.” And when that part feels heard and like you’re with it, you might be able to fall asleep without even realizing it.
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Teapigs Snooze Sleepy Tea
Everyone has heard that chamomile tea can help you sleep. Why? Well, its commonly called a mild tranquilizer and has an antioxidant called apigenin, which binds to specific receptors in your brain that may decrease anxiety and help make you sleepy.
This sleepy tea takes chamomile up a notch by also adding in lavender, another ingredient that has been used for centuries to help calm nerves. The tea is also naturally caffeine free and, well, its simply delicious.
How To Manage Anxiety At Bedtime
1. Shift the focus from the separation to their next connection with you.
Given that bedtime is a time of separation, tilt the focus to the next point of connection. Rather than focusing on the night, as in, Night my darling, have a good sleep, , shift their focus to when they will next see you. This can be done by finding rituals to tie bedtime to morning.
Invite them to choose a book at bedtime that you will read together in the morning.
Let them know that as they fall asleep, you will be writing down something they did today that you especially loved and that you will read this together in the morning.
Give them something of yours, and have them give something to you, then return them to each other in the morning. Smell is a really strong emotional trigger. If the smell is associated with safety, it will have an enormous capacity to trigger calm. Perhaps let them use your pillowcase for a while, or let them take your shirt to bed with them.
2. Rework the association bedtime is rest.
I know it feels scary for you in your own bed. I also know that you are completely safe there. I know that eventually you will be able to spend the whole night in your own bed, and that your room can feel cosy and safe and beautiful for you, but I know that isnt how it feels at the moment. Lets work towards that in little steps. Well do it together.
3. With you, then away, then back again.
4. And if bad dreams are causing trouble
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Get Rid Of Your Clock
Clocks can be a common trigger for anxiety, especially when youre trying to fall asleep. Instead of having a clock by your bedside where you can glance at it every time you struggle to fall asleep keep a clock outside your room instead. Looking at the clock will only cause your anxiety to get worse, so avoid it altogether.
/ Track Your Heart Rate Variability
Fancy sleep clinics look at your HRV when diagnosing issues as, unlike heart rate itself, it focuses on the fluctuations of the heart, which is a reliable measure of fitness, fatigue and stress. Hence its inclusion in the newer Fitbits. When analysed over 24 hours, it offers valuable information about autonomic functioning.
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Be Consistent With Your Sleep Routine
Clinical psychologist Dr Carla Runchman stresses the importance of a consistent bedtime routine as well as good sleep hygiene which essentially means having an environment and daily practices that promote uninterrupted sleep.
Its a good idea to dedicate at least 30 minutes to winding down into your evening routine.
Dr Carla says: This can be different for different people, for example reading, having a bath or listening to calm music.
Physically relaxing your body and helping your mind to recognise when your muscles are relaxed is another evidence-based technique to reduce anxiety.
Avoid Stressful Activities Before Bed
Amber Weiss, licensed psychotherapist and founder of Transformative Mindset, says, Creating some form of a transition from daytime to sleeping is highly recommended. According to Weiss, you cant expect the mind to go to sleep on demand. Instead, you need to allow time for the brain to transition, just like we transition to go outside or when we get home.
The goal is to reduce the nervous thoughts in your head so your mind is clear, calm, and positive before you head off to sleep. This can entail leaving the office, work, news, and social media exchanges for earlier in the day to create buffer time between work and sleep, setting yourself up for better rest.
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How To Calm Down Quickly
Something sets you off, and before long, you feel stuck in an endless loop of intrusive thoughts, pondering every possible thing that could go wrong. Your body tenses, your breathing quickens, and you can hear your heartbeat pounding in your ears.
When you feel anxiety kick in like this, its time to calm yourself down. The first step is awareness. Its a good idea to learn to recognize the first signs of anxiety and get to work right away before experiencing an episode.
Try Richie Bostock’s Ladder Breathing Technique To Help Calm Sleep Anxiety
In this breath, you progressively increase the length of your inhales and exhales, concentrating on what it feels like to change the rhythm of your breathing as your nervous system is slowly calmed. This slow breathing promotes parasympathetic activity, while the change in counts keeps the mind occupied.
- To be performed while lying in bed.
- Inhale slowly and gently through your nose for a count of 4 seconds.
- Exhale slowly and gently through your nose for a count of 4 seconds.
- Next, inhale for a count of 5 seconds, then exhale for a count of 5 seconds.
- Keep increasing the length of your inhales and exhales until you get to 10 seconds in and 10 seconds out.
- Once you reach 10 seconds, you can either continue to breath at this pace, keep increasing the length of your inhales and exhales, or even go up and down the ladder. You can do whatever feels most pleasurable to you! If you choose to come back down, I wouldnt go back any lower than 6 seconds per inhale and exhale.
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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.
When Anxiety Is Present
Turn the Clock Around
This may seem like a painfully simple tip, but it goes a long way. When experiencing anxiety, you may have the tendency to look at the time over and over again. Although this may seem relatively innocent, it can cause more stress and anxiety as you worry about not getting to sleep. To help, simply put your phone in the other room and turn the clock around. Remove the temptation.
Practice Deep Breathing
The breath is intimately connected with our minds and bodies. By breathing deeply, you can physically calm the body and slow the thinking mind. Specifically, the breath affects the nervous system. By lengthening your exhale, you are engaging the parasympathetic nervous system and letting your mind and body know you are safe. Try taking a few deep breaths, making the exhalation slightly longer than the inhalation.
Do a Progressive Muscle Relaxation
When youre experiencing anxiety at night, you may notice that the body can grow tense. A progressive muscle relaxation is a practice in which you move through the body making an effort to relax each part. Anxiety BC offers a great guide for free here that I recommend. When asked for advice on dealing with any type of anxious feelings, I frequently suggest this practice to help.
Write Down Your Thoughts
Change the Noise
Change the Script
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