5 Helpful Ways To Combat Sleep Anxiety
Anxiety usually hits at bedtime. It makes us dread the night as it comes and then feel worried about trying to make ourselves fall asleep. Even worse, as we don’t get the chance to rest, we tend to suffer from chronic health issues, which make us even more anxious.
The good news is we can ease and eventually get rid of these bedtime anxieties and lack of sleep altogether. The first step is to address your sleep issues. Then, continue by considering the following steps.
Follow Proper Sleep Hygiene
Experts say that if you constantly engage in appropriate sleep hygiene, you will be less likely to have anxious thoughts at night, resulting in better sleep efficiency and quality. Generally, good sleep hygiene mainly involves avoiding screen time, heavy meals, stimulants, and rigorous activities before bedtime.
Stressful activities, like managing your finances, should be avoided before bedtime as well. Doing so causes a stressor that can lead to anxious thoughts and eventually sleepless nights. Instead, do calming pre-bedtime rituals, like deep breathing or listening to ASMR.
Other ways to engage in good sleep hygiene include having a 20-minute power nap only, a dark and cool room, and sun exposure. Having a consistent bedtime routine is also helpful. It gives your body the signal to sleep, making you drift off easily.
Our brains naturally produce melatonin, usually from sundown to sunrise. It is the hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. So if you’re having a hard time falling asleep, you can opt for melatonin supplements. Apart from its sleep-promoting effects, it has been seen to have calming effects, too, so it can also calm your bedtime anxieties.
You have to do the right timing to make melatonin supplements effective. Most experts would recommend taking them 30 to 60 minutes before your bedtime. However, it still varies for each person since everyone absorbs medicines differently.
Whether melatonin requires a prescription or not depends on your country. In the United States, it is a dietary supplement, so you can just easily buy them over the counter or via online means, like the Buzzrx App.
There’s no official dosage recommended for adults too, but you can safely start with a dose between 0.2 and 5 mg once a night. Remember that a safe dosage is based on your age, body weight, and sensitivity to the supplement. It’s always best to see a doctor for the specifics.
Be Physically Active
Wearing yourself out during the day can promote quality sleep. Research shows that any physical activity, regardless of intensity, can increase sleep duration and efficiency by reducing stress hormone production. For example, even a brisk walk can help people, including those with insomnia, fall asleep faster and more soundly, including those with insomnia.
If you prefer a late-night sweat sesh, do it at least an hour before your bedtime schedule. As mentioned earlier, practice good sleep hygiene. Exercising can calm your pre-bedtime anxiety by reducing stress hormone production. However, avoid physically exhausting workouts before bedtime.
Encourage Positive Distractions
Being fixated on questions like why can’t you fall asleep or how to sleep right now will only make drifting off more difficult. Instead of this, distract yourself with interesting visualizations that allow you to involve all your senses, if possible.
Think about that ideal vacation you badly need but can’t have because you have to be cooped up at home during the pandemic. Let’s take Bali as an example. Close your eyes and visualize it.
Can you feel the humidity? Can you hear the waves? Can you smell the sea? Can you taste the saltiness in the air? These visualizations will then be transferred into your dream content, so you want to keep it positive and pleasant in order for you to have a good slumber.
Practice Nightly Mindfulness
Mindfulness is done when you welcome worrisome thoughts and emotions in the present in an open-minded, non-judgmental way and then let them go. And to do this, you should be aware that you’re spinning in worries, fears, or stress. Then, direct your attention toward your surroundings, so you would not get stuck in your anxious thoughts.
Research shows that mindfulness helps you manage your anger, worry, anxiety, and depression. As a result, it makes you more mindful throughout the day, especially during hard times. It also calms your nervous system down and sets the stage for sleep, allowing you to enjoy a good night’s rest.
Mindfulness is even more effective with consistency. You can start off by noticing your breathing or physical sensations like how soft your blanket feels, rather than being fixated on something stressful over and over again. But, of course, letting go of your anxieties cannot be done overnight, so it is best if you will practice it every night.
Anxiety and sleep difficulties seemingly go hand in hand. Your anxiety can cause you to have difficulty sleeping, while being sleep-deprived can be an anxiety trigger. Meaning, that on a positive note, you are likely to treat both at once. Just keep pushing, and you will eventually master how to overcome your sleep anxiety.