Anxiety is a persistent issue that causes various levels of obsession, so it should come as no surprise that sleeping with anxiety is just as difficult.
Back during boot camp, I slept like a log.
I just came over to my bed, collapsed, and haven’t woken up since.
During my time there I have only changed uniform once, and that was due to convenience.
I just fell, with my clothes on, on the bed and haven’t moved.
It kind of became a running gag in our unit to some level.
Truth be told, I was just dead tired.
I was suffering from depression and no amount of sleep was going to be ever enough.
Then during my ‘specialized training’ I was the butt of the commander’s joke, with him pushing me around and forcing his authority on me.
That’s where my anxiety started developing, and it was heavily affecting my sleeping habits.
I couldn’t fall asleep at all, and when I did then I would never feel rested.
My case wasn’t all that rare, to begin with.
Insomnia and anxiety tend to go together for some obvious reasons.
You dread a situation and your mind simply can’t rest, leading you to have insomnia and not being able to sleep altogether.
The stress kills you, making you tired, yet you can’t fall asleep.
This is one of the most frustrating things I ever went through in my life.
Learning how to sleep with anxiety, or perhaps despite anxiety, is quite problematic.
You can’t control your brain actively, so an actual solution is going to take a while.
Nonetheless, there are steps that you should take to make sure that you are having a good night of sleep, every night.
Seems unbelievable? Well, that’s because it is.
I can’t promise you perfect sleep every night, but I will do my best and results are sure to follow if you’ll use these 3 tips.
Keep in mind, these are focused specifically on anxiety-based insomnia, as in, sleeping with anxiety and nothing more.
With that being said, here are 3 tips on sleeping with anxiety.
1) Prepare for sleep with a routine
If you want to sleep properly you need to avoid bad habits relating to sleep in the first place, yeah?
One basic fact you should keep on is avoiding electronics. Yeah, I know that in this day and age they are everywhere, but studies show that they affect your sleep negatively.
That means no TVs, no Computers, not smartphones no nothing. Better that way, the fact that it will block out social media remains unstated.
Turn off the lights two hours before going to bed, use as weak a light as you can and avoid.
Eating before bed should be avoided as well, take at least 3-4 hours to have your last meal of the day before going to bed.
Why? Food increases blood sugar levels and causes your metabolism to keep working.
Sure, eating before bed may have some benefits, but sleep isn’t one of them so make sure to avoid food before bad altogether.
Alright, so no snacks, no computers, no smartphones, no lights and no TV for two hours before bed.
That pretty much kills off your entire evening, yeah?
Well, these habits are toxic to you anyway, so you should be happy to toss them aside.
I understand that most people who suffer from anxiety try to use these as distractions, and to some level, they do work, but they won’t benefit you in the long run.
Sure, TV helps relaxation due to lower brain activity, yet the sheer amount of light coming from it may cause problems to your brain, confusing it into believing that it’s already day.
Make a specific hour to go to bed at and a specific hour to wake up, then make sure that the two hours before those are completely free.
Then turn these pieces of advice into a routine.
Why? Because, over time, your brain will learn to associate any of those activities with your sleep and will prepare itself to bed automatically.
For that reason you should also avoid using your bed for anything except for sleep and sex, otherwise, your brain might associate it with different activities and lower the overall effectiveness of sleeping in your bed.
For anxiety purposes, you should add up walking and running to that list.
These activities have their own share of benefits. Don’t run or walk around right before sleep, use these as a time to reflect and relax your body.
2) Prepare yourself for the perfect night of rest
Assuming that you are an anxiety sufferer, your body is searching for an excuse not to rest.
So be smart, and don’t let it.
Make sure the room temperature is just right for you, avoid any lights, keep noises down, position yourself comfortably and…
Yeah, look, these are nice and all, but they aren’t going to block out your obsessive anxiety thoughts. You shouldn’t skip these, but they aren’t going to offer you a solution by themselves.
No, instead you should make sure you are relaxed and focused on other things.
Stretching does your muscles wonders and relaxes them into sleep, research suggests the same.
But that just raises an even bigger question: How do you focus on something to block out your anxiety while relaxing?
Truth is, the answer may be far more simple than you imagined: Relaxation techniques.
Not too different from meditation, yet proper breathing control will lead you into the state of sleep while helping you focus.
Some of these may include, but are not limited to:
- Breathing techniques
- Guided imagery
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Mindfulness exercises
Truth is, just a few of these every night will lead to major results. Be as relaxed as you can’t be and give yourself as little reason as possible to move while in bed (let alone actually getting out of it).
3) Spend your energy wisely
When going to sleep the idea is to wake up energized and to go to bed tired.
anxiety messed up that entire sequence.
You go to bed tired, you wake up tired, you get spikes of nervous energy and you go to bed tired but can’t fall asleep.
In order to have a good night of sleep, you need to regulate your brain to the former pattern of behavior.
To do that you need to keep yourself energized during most of the day.
If you plan to take a nap then do it early or not at all.
Stop panic attacks through a method all the looking for triggers to avoid.
The idea is to keep anxiety to a bare minimum throughout the day to balance it out over the night.
This is actually the most difficult part of dealing with anxiety-made insomnia. The key would be to stop your anxiety disorder dead in its tracks, but that would be easier said than done all things considered.
After all, this anxiety disorder is the one giving you your sleep problems in the first place. Truth be told, this is the most effective tip I could give you since the best way for dealing with anxiety and depression is to find the problem and eliminate it.
Balance your anxiety throughout your entire day, control it as much as you can and it will become much less potent.
Use your newfound excess energy to work better at your job, or maybe even pick up a sport or some other hobby.
Make your anxiety less potent and burn off the energy. This is the best way for you to “re-engineer” your fatigue throughout the day.
Believe me, it’s better that way. Control your anxiety or it will control you.
I got over my insomnia over time.
Eventually, my fatigue overrode my anxious thoughts, but this isn’t ideal.
I was dead on my feet throughout the day and just collapsed on my bed every single night.
That’s why I collected all of this information about sleeping and anxiety in the first place – to help you not become like me.
Practice these pieces of advice and your sleep will get better over time. Slow and steady wins the race, after all.
To get read of your anxiety completely I would recommend you the Panic Away program. It will most likely bring you at least some results, and if it doesn’t you are more than welcome to ask for a refund.
Here’s a quick question for you, though – how are you sleeping lately?
Simple enough, yeah? Great!
Make sure to write your answers in the comment section below, I go through every single one of them!
If you have any questions you would like to ask me personally make sure to send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!