Picture the scene. You are tired, it’s been a long day and you have been looking forward to falling into bed all day. The house is tidy, the kids are in bed, you’ve had dinner and watched a bit of TV. You head up to bed, pop on your pyjamas and get into bed. Your turn off the lights and just like that your anxiety is turned on. You’re wide awake and the events of the day are whizzing around your mind. Then you start thinking about all the things that need doing the following day. Before you know it, it’s midnight, you’ve had no sleep and the harder you try to get to sleep the more awake you become.
Sound familiar? Even if you aren’t an anxiety sufferer night time is usually the time the worries surface if there are any and if you do suffer from anxiety those feelings are often heightened. I have had to work hard to find the things that work best to kick that anxiety away at night so I can get a restful night. Getting a good amount of sleep is so important for everyone and often tiredness can be a trigger for anxiety sufferers. If all of this sounds a little bit too familiar but you’re not sure what to do then keep reading for my tried and tested methods to get to sleep without a few hours of anxiety first
Write your worries down
Whether you have a journal by your bed that you fill in every night before bed or you write a to do list before you head to bed for the next day, writing it all down can really help. You need to download your worries and put them somewhere you can see them. Once they are out and safely on the page it is much easier to become more rational about them and work out anything you may need to before trying to sleep.
Listen to something
Before you turn off the lights pop something on to listen to. For some people calming music really helps them to nod off and for others a sleep meditation track can really help. Personally I listen to podcasts; I pop it on with a timer to be turned off after 30 minutes and I very rarely get to the end of that half an hour. Listening to something and focusing your attention onto that person talking and what they are saying rather than letting your mind wander means the anxious thoughts have to work a lot harder to get through and hopefully you will have fallen fast asleep before they can get through.
Deep breathing is such a useful technique to use if you suffer from anxiety especially if like me, you suffer with hyperventilating when you are anxious. There are lots of breathing exercises online to help. I use the ‘3 4 5 Method’ which is breath in for 3, hold for 4 and breath out for 5. Doing this a few times before bed will help to relax your whole body and believe me, it really does work!
Have a bedtime routine
I bet you have a bedtime routine for the kids don’t you? Well why not have one for you too! Giving yourself a bit of structure before bed and doing the same thing every night will help keep you feeling calm, safe and relaxed. For example, you could have half an hour writing your to do list for the next day, do your deep breathing exercises and pop on a podcast!
Digitally switch off
It’s something we hear that we should be doing so much now but digitally switching off is one of the hardest things to do. Don’t try and run before you can walk if you are attached to your phone but make sure to give yourself a bit of phone free time to switch off from the world before bed.
I hope these help tips help you have a restful nights sleep. I really suffer with night time anxiety and doing these things have helped it reduce significantly.