When you’re anxious or overly stressed, it can feel like your mind never turns off. You could be lying in bed for hours trying to fall asleep, but your racing brain simply won’t let you. This is a common problem among people who already deal with anxiety issues. It’s something of a vicious cycle: You’re anxious so you can’t sleep, and then you become anxious about not being able to sleep. If you’re caught in this cycle, there are a few simple ways you can try to break out. If you’ve been letting anxiety get in the way of a good night’s rest, try these tips:
It’s not easy to get into the habit of meditation, but once you commit to doing so at least a few times a week, you’ll have learned a way to consciously de-stress your body no matter what’s racing through your mind. If you can invest in a guided meditation class, you’ll be learning a new skill set that will help with your anxiety issues, not just the problems that affect your sleep. If you can’t afford it, think about taking an online class or simply reading up on it.
Do a Media Detox
Being connected to the outside world, the news cycle, and our friends can be a great thing. It can also be extremely anxiety inducing which leads to trouble sleeping. If you’re having trouble not being emotionally affected by constant chats with friends, work emails, or the news cycle, do your best to limit the time you spend dealing with screens and media. When we’re constantly taking in new information, it becomes harder for our brains to get back to a feeling of calm. Try a few days a week (maybe on weekends) where you try not checking your phone for hours at a time.
Write It Down
When we’re anxious about something, it can feel like a problem without an answer that keeps revolving around in our minds. If something’s on your mind and you know it’s going to keep bothering you, writing it down is a great way to move the thought elsewhere instead of letting it fester inside your brain. There’s no reason to keep trying to tackle an unsolvable problem. Instead, try to keep a journal where the sole purpose is to take on unwanted, stressful, or agonizing thoughts and problems without solutions.
When you exercise, your body is better able to deal with stress and is far better able to give you a good night’s rest. It’s not simply a question of getting yourself too exhausted to function. All you have to do is exercise an hour every other day and your body will start getting into the habit of falling asleep naturally, especially if it’s not used to physical activity. Exercising also helps release dopamine, keeping your thoughts positive and your mind clear. Doing a few pre-bed exercises is also a good way to jump-start a tired feeling. If you already do yoga, try doing a 15-minute stretch routine before bed.
If you’ve ever tried to use white noise, pink noise, or even brown noise to help you concentrate at work or study in school, you’ll already know how calming the effect can be. Experiencing audio stimulation without having to focus on lyrics or follow a rhythm can be a great way to let go of stressful thoughts, as well as a great introduction, or accompaniment, to daily meditation. Even if you turn on the fan in your bedroom and try to focus on the soft whirring, you’ll find your mind eased and calmed without much effort.