How to fall asleep when you have anxiety
Since I was nineteen years old, I’ve had trouble sleeping. I would lay awake at night, anxious about my life and how to improve it. Anxiety can be hard enough when it comes to getting through the day, but it can be even harder at night.
Sleep is essential for our physical and mental well-being, but unfortunately, anxiety can often make it challenging to fall asleep. Anxiety is a common mental health issue that affects millions of people worldwide, and it can manifest in different ways, including racing thoughts, physical tension, and an overwhelming sense of worry or fear. These symptoms can make it difficult to relax and unwind at bedtime, which can result in sleep deprivation and make the symptoms of anxiety worse. However, there are many strategies that individuals can use to help them fall asleep when they are experiencing anxiety.
One of the most effective ways to combat anxiety and promote restful sleep is to establish a bedtime routine that helps you relax. This may include activities such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, practicing deep breathing exercises, or listening to calming music. Additionally, it is essential to create a sleep-conducive environment by keeping the bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. Another helpful strategy is to limit exposure to screens and blue light in the evening, as these can disrupt the natural sleep cycle and contribute to anxiety symptoms.
This article explores some simple ways to fall asleep when you have anxiety. It provides practical tips and strategies that can be easily incorporated into your bedtime routine. Also, the importance of seeking professional help if your anxiety is severely impacting your sleep and daily life. By taking proactive steps to manage your anxiety and promote restful sleep, you can improve your overall well-being and lead a happier, healthier life.
What is anxiety
Anxiety refers to a feeling of worry, fear, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. It is a normal and common human emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. However, when these feelings become overwhelming and interfere with daily life, this could point to signs of anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are mental health conditions that can cause excessive and persistent worry, fear, or panic that can impact a person’s ability to function normally. Some common anxiety symptoms include restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and sleep problems. It is important to seek professional help if you are experiencing anxiety symptoms that are affecting your quality of life.
People with anxiety disorders often find it harder to fall asleep at night, and their anxious thoughts keep them awake all night long. Below are some simple tips for falling asleep despite anxiety. None of these tips or new or earth-shattering ideas. But hopefully, they serve as a reminder of the small, simple steps that can make getting a good night’s sleep a possibility for you.
Of course, if you believe you need more help with anxiety be sure to see your doctor in case you believe anxiety medications will work best.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase after following one of these links I may get a small commission. There’s no extra cost to you.
Why anxiety can be worse at night
Many factors lead to anxiety being worse at night, including fewer distractions from work and household tasks. It is also the reason stress and depression can be more intense at night.
When you don’t have your normal distractions at night, your mind starts to calm down, but it also means you are focusing on what was bothering you. You aren’t busy with the kids or work, so suddenly everything causing you to be anxious or tressed comes bubbling up. This can make it very hard to get good sleep.
What can help you fall asleep
If you struggle to fall asleep at night because you can’t turn off your mind, I’m glad you’re searching for answers. Hopefully, you’re not reading this post at a time you could be sleeping. That said, maybe these tips can help you unwind and fall asleep when you have anxiety.
Write in a journal before bed
If you have a lot of anxious thoughts in the evening, try writing them all out in your journal. This is a way to release them from your worries, instead of just dwelling on them as you try to sleep. Write for as long as you need to until you feel like you got it all out. I find I get more clarity when I write down what’s circulating around in my brain.
In addition, think of anything that you might be grateful for in that moment. You have a roof over your head, for example. This is called gratitude journaling. Studies show that writing down what you are grateful for benefits our mental well-being.
Writing in a journal before bed can be a helpful way to process any racing thoughts or worries that may be keeping you up at night. By putting your thoughts down on paper, you may find it easier to let go of them and relax. Try setting aside 10-15 minutes before bed to write in a journal, and focus on positive affirmations or things that you are grateful for.
Try Bedtime Yoga or Stretching
Practicing gentle yoga practices intended to help you sleep or reduce stress can also be helpful in reducing anxiety. Many of these practices can actually be performed in bed. If yoga isn’t your thing, you can try going for a nice stroll around your neighborhood in the evening to reduce anxiety.
Bedtime yoga or stretching can be an excellent way to release any physical tension that you may be holding onto and prepare your body for sleep. A few minutes of stretching before bed can help you feel more relaxed and ready for sleep. Certain yoga poses, such as child’s pose, forward fold, and corpse poses, promote relaxation.
Use aromatherapy during your bedtime routine
When you are starting your nighttime routine, consider using some aromatherapy, such as essential oils. You can get a diffuser for your bedroom with scents that calm you, like ylang ylang, lavender, and chamomile. There are also aromatherapy candles that can be used instead of essential oils.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to promote relaxation and improve mood. Certain essential oils, such as lavender and chamomile, have been shown to have a calming effect on the mind and body, making them a popular choice for bedtime routines. You can use essential oils in a diffuser, add a few drops to a warm bath, or apply them topically (diluted with a carrier oil) to your pulse points before bed.
Get a Weighted Blanket
Lastly, while in bed, use a weighted blanket to ease some of your anxiety. These have proven to be very effective at reducing anxiety. It feels like a warm, comforting hug when you are in bed and trying to sleep.
Weighted blankets have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. These blankets are filled with materials such as glass beads or plastic pellets, which provide gentle pressure on the body. This pressure has been shown to help reduce anxiety and promote feelings of calmness, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
Christians are no strangers to praying. Unfortunately, we’re also no strangers to anxiety as well. I find when I’m laying awake at night I sometimes fall asleep while praying. Don’t worry. God still hears you even if you fall asleep. He knows you need rest.
Whenever you’re feeling anxious, if you believe, talk to God about it. I know this isn’t generally popular advice but think about it sometime, regardless of whether you’re a Christian.
“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you”1 Peter 5:7
Falling asleep when you have anxiety can be a challenge, but I hope these tips will help promote relaxation and improve your sleep quality. By incorporating practices such as journaling, bedtime yoga or stretching, aromatherapy, and using a weighted blanket, you may find it easier to calm your mind and prepare your body for a restful night’s sleep.
Remember, it’s important to listen to your body and seek professional help if your anxiety is severely impacting your sleep and overall quality of life.