How to Sleep Better with Anxiety
For those with anxiety, have you ever spent nights tossing and turning and unable to go to sleep further intensifying your anxiety? What you may not know is that anxiety and sleep disorders go hand-in-hand. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), intense anxiety can often lead to sleep problems, while sleep deprivation can also cause anxiety. Whether you suffer from an anxiety disorder or simply experience anxiety when life gets stressful, follow these tips for learning how to sleep better with anxiety.
Learn Stress Reduction Techniques
Learning to reduce stress and anxiety in your everyday life is vital to learning how to sleep better with anxiety. Try these techniques for reducing stress and anxiety:
- Get regular exercise. Exercising regularly reduces stress and helps you relax, but avoid exercising just before bedtime as this can cause more difficulty in going to sleep.
- Learn to meditate. Meditation relaxes both the body and the mind, but you don’t need to be a guru to reap the benefits. Simply relaxing in a quiet area and concentrating on your breathing while visualizing a calm and stress-free environment, such as a nature scene, will help you release the stress of the day.
- Listen to calming music. There are a wide variety of choices from your favorite tunes to compositions specifically designed to induce relaxation and relieve stress. Choose music that makes you feel good, but avoid loud or upbeat music with higher beats per minute (BPM) as this may energize you and make sleeping more difficult.
- Take up a relaxing hobby. Whether you choose photography, searching for sea glass on the beach or gardening doesn’t matter, as long as you find the activity relaxing.
Create an Environment for Sleep
Creating an environment that promotes restful sleep isn’t just for babies and small children. It is important for adults too. Follow these tips for making your bedroom a place that invites restful sleep:
- Remove distractions. This includes the TV and computer, as well as, any items that remind you of work or that create noise.
- Use room-darkening shades or drapes that can be drawn at bedtime to create a dark environment.
- Use a fan or white noise machine to drown out outside noises, such as traffic or street noises.
- Make sure your mattress is comfortable.
- Purchase quality bedding and pillows that make you feel comfortable.
Set the Stage for Sleeping
Making getting a good night’s sleep a priority means more than reducing stress and anxiety and creating a comforting environment. You need to set the stage for sleep, too. Follow these tips for preparing both your mind and body for sleep:
- Set a regular bedtime. Going to bed at the same time every night helps your body establish a regular sleep cycle. Make sure you allow for at least 7 or 9 hours of sleep time before the alarm sounds in the morning.
- Avoid stimulants in the evening. Opt for a cup of relaxing herbal tea instead of that after dinner coffee to avoid problems with sleeping.
- Establish a bedtime routine. Whether you choose to read a book, listen to soft music or soak in the tub, a regular bedtime routine will signal the brain to prepare for sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests getting up and engaging in a relaxing activity if you have not fallen asleep within 20 minutes. Laying in bed and trying to sleep can cause a snowball effect, increasing your anxiety and making it even more difficult to go to sleep. If sleep problems persist, talk to your doctor as there may be a medical reason for your sleep problems.