Many people with anxiety disorders have trouble sleeping. That's a problem. Too little sleep affects mood, contributing to irritability and sometimes depression. Vital functions occur during different stages of sleep that leave you feeling rested and energized or help you learn and forge memories. Sleep usually improves when an anxiety disorder is treated.
It is often a vicious cycle, "worrying and anxiety keep you awake at night". Your lack of sleep increases your anxiety during the day. Getting a good night's sleep is essential in fighting anxiety but the constant worrying has you lying awake in your bed. Or maybe you climb into bed and quickly fall asleep, only to be awake an hour or two later, unable to fall back asleep. You know you have to sleep and yet you can't turn off the constant stream of thoughts, even when you are completely exhausted.
Here are 5 ways to calm your anxiety and get sleep at night:
1. Learn To Induce Your Body’s Relaxation Response, And Do It Regularly
One of our greatest defenses against chronic anxiety is the body’s innate “Relaxation Response”. When you induce this physiological response, muscle tension decreases, the heart rate slows, blood pressure decreases, and stress hormone levels drop. You can do this by listening to relaxing sounds, meditating or contemplating on scriptures that can calm your body.
2. Set A Worry Period For Earlier In The Day
Worry can be a primary factor keeping you up at night. To prevent worrying from affecting your sleep, create a worry period in the late afternoon or early evening. A worry period allows you to postpone worries until a given time so that you can adequately enjoy your day. Choose a short period - about 20 to 30 minutes. If a worry crosses your mind prior to your worry period, merely write it down and tell yourself you will attend to it later. During your worry period, go over all the worries you have collected during the day. Aim to problem-solve each one so that it does not continue to haunt you.
3. Avoid Caffeine And Alcohol In The Afternoon Or Before You Sleep
You know to avoid caffeine too late in the day. But for people with panic disorders, a type of anxiety disorder related to panic attacks, that advice is even more important because classic research has shown that these individuals may react more sensitively than others to the stimulant.
Also, many of us turn to a glass of wine at the end of the day to help relax, that might actually be keeping us up. That's because, although alcohol can act as a depressant, it also disturbs sleep later in the night. So, you may find yourself falling asleep easier after an extra glass, but you'll also probably wake up earlier than you'd planned.
4. Keep A Journal
There are so many reasons a journal can help you get a better night's sleep — it just depends on how you want to use it. For instance, keeping track of how long and how well you sleep each night makes it easier to find patterns in your sleep habits and pinpoint unexpected things that can keep you up. Using your journal for mindfulness-related practices, including reflecting on gratitude, can reduce your stress levels and leave you feeling extra relaxed.
5. Get Help
If your anxiety is significantly impacting your life and/or relationships, don’t try to white-knuckle it on your own. See your doctor, to assess whether your anxiety might have a medical cause. If it is purely psychological, expert counseling treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be extremely helpful. Medication can be a lifesaver if you’re drowning in fear and can’t function in your daily life. It’s unlikely that you would be on it life-long, but for many people, it takes the edge off during a season of crisis so that you’re no longer just trying to survive and are more able to take the necessary steps to get your life back on track.
Living with anxiety does not only affect your sleep. But it also affects your overall health and how you interact with other people. Being able to calm your anxiety can improve your sleep as well as your total health status. In this post, I shared with you the 5 ways to calm your anxiety and get sleep at night.
Comments will be approved before showing up.