Stressful thoughts have a tendency to keep you awake at night. Maybe you struggle to fall asleep or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep. If you have anxiety, that means that these worries affect you consistently and can even interfere with your daily life and activities.
Anxiety can impact our daily functioning, and relationships with the people we love, or the work we do. However, not doing anything about your anxiety will lead to more sleepless nights and potentially add to more distress in your work life and/or relationships.
Combatting your anxiety will allow you to get the restful sleep your body needs without anxious thoughts keeping you up. Here’s what to do if your anxiety is affecting your sleep.
Make Changes to Your Environment
If there is too much light in your room, it might play a role in what’s keeping you up. Our brains recognize light as a trigger to release hormones that keep us awake and alert. A sufficiently dark space promotes better sleep for this reason. Keep your blinds closed, your TV off, and your devices put away. You can also consider a sleep mask or blackout curtains if you still find it too bright in your room.
Some other things to consider are taking a shower or a bath before you sleep to cool your body temperature and help you fall asleep more quickly. You can also try playing white noise, soothing music, or sleeping with earplugs if you want full silence.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Having too much caffeine all day or right before bed can make it hard to fall asleep. Even if you consume caffeine hours before bedtime, it can linger in your system. A good rule of thumb is to cut off caffeine consumption at 3 pm. Alcohol too close to bedtime can also increase your heart rate and keep you awake.
With that in mind, stick to water or herbal teas prior to bedtime. Just don’t drink too much or you might wake up in the middle of the night for a bathroom trip.
Limit Screen Time
Scrolling on your phone, browsing your computer, or watching television before bed can stimulate your brain and keep you awake. Studies show that blue light triggers an “awake” response.
A good rule of thumb is to put screens away at least an hour before bedtime. But that doesn’t mean you have to be bored. Listen to a podcast, read a book, or partake in a screenless hobby.
With too many anxious thoughts in your head, you might need some help to make them quiet. Mindfulness activities like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing can calm your mind. Even going for a nice walk can do the trick.
Dedicate five minutes at first when you try these activities. Then, try for five minutes longer each time. Every day you practice mindfulness, the better you will be at it. Try doing these mindfulness techniques during the day, too. This will make it easier to practice these techniques at night to help you fall asleep.
If you are still struggling to fall asleep even after trying these tips, you might need assistance from a mental health professional. Insomnia is a real disorder that cannot be ignored. A therapist can give you all the tools you need to treat both your sleep troubles and your anxiety.
Because sleeplessness and anxiety are highly treatable, there is a treatment plan out there for you. Reach out to us today so you can take control of your sleep habits and your anxiety.