Sleep Anxiety

10 Tips To Help You Start Sleeping Better

Sleep Anxiety

Sleep Anxiety – Sleep is something that should relax our mind and recharge our body to help us face the challenges of the next day. However, for too many people that is far from the case. There are those of us who end up tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep, recalling certain memories or endlessly worrying about events that have not occurred yet. Sleep anxiety is a real problem for some people. Ironically, while anxiety may keep sufferers awake, anxiety can also be made worse by lack of sleep. You just can’t seem to win.

Sleep and rest are inextricably linked to mental health and psychological health. The body is an interconnected complex machine. Anxiety and depression can make it difficult for you to fall or stay asleep, and once you do finally fall asleep, you may find yourself waking up exhausted. Many factors can contribute to a person’s poor sleep or chronic insomnia; like anxiety and depression. While a severe onset of these conditions will require professional help, developing good sleeping habits may be a good place to start in conjunction with a therapeutic intervention.

You may be asking yourself, can allergies be causing these sleep problems? Perhaps you have a sleep disorder or sleep apnea? Could it be stress or anxiety that is causing you to wake up tired? Let’s take a closer look at what could be causing your restlessness and sleeplessness nights that may lead you to wake up tired.

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10 Steps Toward Better Sleep

1. Exercise Regularly

It should be common knowledge by now that exercise, and physical activity will prompt your body to release endorphins into your system. Unfortunately, it’s still very hard for some people to bring themselves to get up off their comfy couches to work out. Endorphins also called “happy hormones”, are actually a group of hormones that are released in the body’s nervous system. It has a nearly instant effect on a person’s mood when the heart rate goes up through exercise which in turn can help in lower a person’s anxiety and improve the quality of sleep. A caveat: for some people, exercising or working out right before going to bed will result in overstimulation and difficulty in falling asleep. Make sure to exercise at least two hours before bedtime. Aside from the obvious physical benefits of working out, it can also help regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycle, and help improve existing sleep apnea and insomnia.

2. Create a Healthy Sleep Environment

If you find yourself suffering from unmanaged anxiety, you’re probably not sleeping well. This will cause you to be more tired and lethargic in the day time and will worsen your mood. If this is true for you, try taking stock of your bedroom and assess if it’s actually conducive for sleeping. Make sure you have a clean and comfortable bed with a firm mattress and soft pillows. Turn off or dim your bedroom lights when it’s time for you to go to bed, and make sure you’re room temperature is cool. Also, get blackout curtains or blinds for your window, so the sunrise doesn’t wake you up before your body is ready. Lastly, make sure your bedroom is a calm and serene place of rest. Try your best to keep the clutter to a minimum as messy environments could contribute to stress and anxiety.

3. Take Warm Showers or Baths

A warm or cool bath can go a long way in quelling symptoms of anxiety. It relaxes the mind and calms your frayed nerves. Self-care means different things to different people, but one of the easiest acts of self-care is enjoying a warm bath or shower before going to bed. The benefits are twofold. The warm water will initially raise your body temperature relaxing your muscles, and then cool your body down for sleep. You can also take this opportunity to indulge in essential oils and aromatherapy that may aid in your sleep. There are many essential oils for sleep and anxiety. One of the most popular ones is a lavender essential oil. Try adding a few drops in your bath or your diffuser. Lather yourself with lavender scented bath gels and moisturizers to really seal in the scent. You’ll be calmer and more relaxed by the time your head hits the pillow for bedtime. Hopefully, you’ll be able to fall asleep more easily.

4. Cut Back on Caffeine

A lot of people claim that they can’t function properly without their early morning infusion of coffee. They also go on several coffee runs throughout the day; however, too much coffee is not good for the body, especially for someone with anxiety and panic disorders and those with insomnia. Caffeine causes your heart rate to increase. That is not something you want when you are already suffering from anxiety. Too much stimulation from caffeine can give you feelings of agitation, restlessness, and worsen existing sleeping disorders. Even drinking coffee, tea, or colas late in the afternoon or too close to bedtime can adversely affect one’s sleep.

5. Learn to Meditate

Although many people swear by the life-transforming effect of yoga and meditation, some people remain pretty skeptical about it. Nevertheless, even if you don’t practice yoga regularly or at all, your body can still benefit from the breathing exercises and the meditation technique used in yoga. Meditation, when done right, is extremely effective in helping to clear your mind, unload stress, and enter a deep state of relaxation. Meditation can be a useful tool in dealing with stress and anxiety. It can also alleviate depression and other mental health disorders.

6. Limit Your Screen Time

Keeping your gadgets out of reach when it’s time for bed is a good idea for multiple reasons. The blue light emitted by your device is not conducive to sleep and relaxation, for one thing. Also, for those people whose jobs are inextricably linked to their phones and tablets, it can be difficult to truly relax and get yourself in the mood for slumber if you keep checking your phone for emails and messages. It may even trigger stress and anxious thoughts. Likewise, scrolling through your social media accounts will do nothing to help your anxiety as well.

7. Watch Your Diet

It’s difficult to get restful sleep if you go to bed extremely full, so avoid large meals, late night snacking, and too many fluids right before bedtime; otherwise, your body will be busy with digestion, which could get uncomfortable. You might have a difficult time entering a deep REM sleep if you need to get up multiple times to use the bathroom. Make sure to eat a fiber-rich meal with complex carbohydrates. Eating healthy and nutritious foods is important throughout the day, not just at nights. But for dinner, you might want to keep your food intake light, too.

8. Follow a Set Sleep Schedule

Don’t just fixate on the total number of hours of sleep in a day, instead make sure you follow a set sleeping schedule. Humans aren’t nocturnal creatures. Our natural circadian rhythm is set to be awake during the day and asleep during the night. Your body performs its best when you go to sleep at a reasonable time for seven to eight hours every night. Our brain and body love routine. Try to have a set bedtime so that your body will know what to expect and start winding down when it’s close to bedtime.

9. Try Journaling

Journaling has many known benefits for your mental health especially if you are suffering from anxiety and depression. In fact, many cognitive behavioral therapy approaches involve keeping a journal. Getting your thoughts down on paper, especially about difficult experiences, before going to bed can be therapeutic and relaxing, and may lead to better sleep. The act of journaling your worries and shutting your notebook will help in allowing your brain to let go of negative thoughts so that you can fall asleep faster. It may help to ease anxiety symptoms, relieve depression, and also helps you get more organized and purposeful.

10. Seek Professional Help

When we are in physical pain, we are encouraged to see a doctor. Likewise, if we are feeling anxious, we shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to a sympathetic ear, or better yet, to a trained professional. A doctor will be able to diagnose anxiety, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress, and severe phobias. Don’t dismiss anxiety or take it for granted if you are suffering from it. Anxiety can progress to more serious mental health issues if left untreated. A doctor may prescribe therapy sessions and even medication to help a patient cope with their mental health issues. Likewise, insomnia and other sleep disturbances should also be addressed, not only because they may be linked to anxiety, but because it can greatly affect your physical health. Work on cultivating good sleep hygiene and take good care of both your physical and mental health.

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