Insomnia is bad enough on its own, but when you throw anxiety into the mix, it’s really difficult to get a good night’s sleep. If anxiety is the source of your insomnia, it’s always a good idea to treat the problem before it occurs rather than as it’s occurring. Is anxiety keeping you up at night? Read on for 6 ways to ease anxiety to get a better night’s sleep.
1. Loosen up on your bedtime routine.
Contrary to popular belief, strict bedtime routines can actually sabotage your sleep instead of improving it. Though it’s good to try and go to bed at the same time every night, the harder you try to fall asleep… the more difficult it will be. Preparing too much for sleep won’t relieve general anxiety and can induce sleep anxiety due to the pressure you’re putting on yourself to fall asleep. Sleep school suggests following a normal wind-down routine to get a good night’s sleep. So, while you may be tempted to follow an elaborate bedtime ritual, it’s best to keep your routine relatively simple.
2. Keep the temperature cool.
A comfortable temperature is another important factor in easing anxiety and settling into sleep. Heat triggers stress and anxiety, so it’s essential to keep your bedroom as cool and cozy as possible. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the ideal temperature for sleep is between 60 to 67° F. So if you’re in a constant war with roommates over turning down the thermostat, research will back you up. Keeping things cool is vital for good sleep.
3. Use a weighted blanket.
Over the past few years, weighted blankets have gained popularity for their use in reducing anxiety and improving sleep. To some people, weighted blankets may sound like they’re uncomfortably hot and heavy, but that’s not entirely true. Weighted blankets are made in different sizes and materials to meet your specific needs. A 15-pound blanket can decrease heart rate and help anxiety by putting just enough pressure on your autonomic nervous system to drift you into sleep mode. So, if you’re a bundle of nerves at night, you should highly consider investing in a weighted blanket.
4. Exercise earlier in the day
Exercising early on in the day can help promote restful sleep by reducing stress. Less stress means less anxious thoughts which helps improve sleep. Exercise is also a natural sedative. It tires you out enough to make it easier to fall asleep the moment your head hits the pillow. Just be sure to not exercise too close to bedtime, or it could have the opposite effect.
5. Read before bed
Reading before bed is a great way to quiet your mind and induce sleep. According to a survey conducted by Sleep Junkie, those who read before bed slept an average of an hour and 37 minutes more a week than non-readers. Penguin Random House also did a study and found that bedtime readers got an average of 25 more minutes of sleep at night, found it easier to fall asleep, and experienced higher quality sleep. So put down that t.v. remote and pick up a book instead, your body will thank you for it.
6. Talk to your doctor
There are a lot of different methods to improve sleep and anxiety, but if you’re experiencing a lot of difficulty, it’s not a bad idea to mention it to your doctor. Your doctor can provide medical insight that can help determine a cause and find a good solution. It’s important to know that medical intervention for improving your sleep and/or anxiety doesn’t always have to involve anxiety medicine and sleeping aids. Therapy, diet changes, and balancing your hormones can all reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
Trying to fall asleep when you have anxiety isn’t always easy, but it isn’t impossible. By using these tips, hopefully a more peaceful night’s sleep is on its way.