Anxiety and sleeping difficulties often go hand in hand. Lack of sufficient sleep can trigger anxiety or make your anxiety symptoms worse, while anxiety can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Like the proverbial which came first, the chicken or the egg, it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether your anxiety is causing your sleep problems or your sleep deficiency is causing your anxiety. According to the Sleep Foundation, those with anxiety are more prone to the effects of sleep deprivation and can get caught in a vicious cycle battling to get a good night’s sleep.
Whether your sleeping difficulties are causing your anxiety or your underlying anxiety is the cause of your sleepless nights, learning how to sleep better with anxiety is vital to your health and well-being.
Make Sleep a Priority
Quality sleep is essential to both your physical and mental health. Making it a priority and taking steps to improve your sleep is the first step in learning how to sleep when stressed and anxious.
- Set a time for going to bed at night and rising in the morning.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the afternoon and before bed.
- Practice relaxation techniques before bedtime. These can include a warm bath, mindfulness meditation, or simply listening to relaxing music while you sip a cup of herbal tea.
- Dim the lights to help induce relaxation.
Make Your Bedroom Comfortable
Your bedroom should be a comfortable space where you can sleep without interruptions.
- Use room darkening shades if outside lights, or the early morning sun, interrupts your sleep at night.
- Remove distractions, such as blinking lights from the computer monitor or sources of noise that may keep you awake. If outside traffic or the bustle of city life contributes to your wakefulness at night, try a white noise machine to calm the nerves and block out offensive noises.
- Get comfortable bedding. This includes mattresses and mattress toppers, pillows that offer the proper support for you, and sheets and blankets that feel soft and comfortable against the skin. Sinking into the luxury of a comfortable bed goes a long way to promoting restful sleep.
Avoid Stress Inducing Activities before Bed
It’s easy to get caught up in daily activities and forget to turn them off in time to transition peacefully to sleep.
- Turn off electronics at least one-half hour before bed. Let it go until morning if you haven’t answered that email or text.
- Avoid phone calls and work-related activities before bed. These tend to ramp up anxiety as your brain races to get everything done.
- Likewise, avoid difficult family discussions before bedtime. If pressing issues must be discussed, set a time during the day when you are more refreshed.
Everyone experiences anxiety as a result of stress in their everyday lives. Sometimes this means having difficulty turning it off and falling asleep at night. If your anxiety is chronic and interferes with your ability to complete your daily activities, talk to a medical professional to determine the best options for you.