We all have nights where we lay in bed with a head full of noisy thoughts that won’t let us rest. To distract ourselves, we reach for our phones or search for a show to watch. Instead of falling asleep, we end up staying up well past bedtime, and when we put the phone back down or turn off the tv, our thoughts are still waiting for us right where we left them.
Anxiety gets loud when the world gets quiet. It thrives on uncertainty, and at night as our thoughts turn to tomorrow, it’s easy to start worrying about deadlines and bills and lost opportunities. Luckily, there are some great tools and techniques you can use to lower the volume and get a good night’s rest.
Create Bedtime Rituals
Anxiety feeds on uncertainty, so if you want to starve it, rely on routine. Creating bedtime routines and rituals that you can look forward to each night can help calm a noisy brain. Getting into a rhythm with podcasts, nature sounds, or other background noise can prime your brain for bedtime. Going to sleep to a predictable soundscape conditions your brain to relax and let go. Rainstorms, a cliche, are a particularly effective favorite for many.
Make a Nest
We spend a third of our lives in bed, but often we neglect to make our bedroom a truly comfortable, relaxing space. Our floors are covered in dirty clothes or unfolded laundry, and our surfaces end up cluttered with whatever we had in our pockets at the end of the day. If you want to send your brain the signal to go to sleep, you want to let it know that you’re somewhere safe and peaceful. Being in a messy environment can trigger stress and anxiety, and that’s the last thing you want.
To spoil yourself with a comfy space, try the following:
- Schedule a brief clean once a week.
- Splurge on pillows and sheets you can’t wait to curl up with.
- Use scented candles and incense to engage your senses and quiet your mind.
Give Your Eyes a Break
Most of us have a television in our bedroom, or we’ve switched over to watching tv shows or browsing social media on our phones or tablets. When it’s time for bed, do yourself a favor: turn off the TV, put your phone or tablet out of reach, and switch to a book. There’s a world of difference between being ushered off to bed by a good book vs. being kept awake by the harsh glow of blue light.
Keep a Journal
Because anxiety wants to be heard, one of the best ways to quiet it is to let it speak. Go to bed a little early, pick up a pen or pencil, and let your worries out on paper. Writing down those troubling thoughts has a way of making them seem small. Even anxiety gets tired of having the same conversation over and over once it feels it’s been heard.
As an alternative to this, set aside a fifteen minute block to focus on anxiety. Give your worry warrior the platform. Let them talk, then thank them for their service: you’ll deal with those problems in the morning.
Alcohol, Caffeine, and Healthy Habits
We often self-medicate with alcohol and caffeine; while alcohol might make you sleepy, it can lead to bigger problems if you’re drinking to soothe your anxieties. Similarly, caffeine is a stimulant, and while it might temporarily give you the boost you need to get something done, it’s going to keep you up all night staring at your ceiling.
Instead, try replacing both those crutches with a little light exercise. Go for a walk at dusk and keep an eye out for interesting things around your neighborhood.
Anxiety has deep roots. Sometimes, those roots are issues that we aren’t sure how to work through on our own. Reach out today so I can help you find your way to a better night’s sleep through anxiety therapy.