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Trying to get a good night’s sleep when you’re dealing with anxiety can be a lost cause. You’re exhausted, you’ve had a long day and all you want to do is fall alseep. And fast.
But, you just can’t seem to turn your mind off. I’ve been there. So many times. In fact, every night for the past few weeks! Why can’t I be one of those people that can fall asleep in seconds?
I’ve previously shared some great tips to add to your evening routine to promote sleep and relaxation, but sleeping with anxiety is a whole other beast!
No matter what I do, the anxiety takes over my mind and I just can’t seem to stop worrying, thinking, wondering. And then I start worrying about how much sleep I’m loosing because I can’t stop worrying. It’s an endless cycle.
It wasn’t until I started doing research that I learned how much anxiety and sleep affect each other! Anxiety and sleep go hand and hand. Anxiety affects sleep, sleep affects anxiety.
So, how do you sleep with anxiety?
I’ve created this guide to help you quiet your mind and sleep with anxiety.
If you want to decrease anxiety to help with sleep then it’s important to do something relaxing before bed. All you need is 30 minutes out of your day to find something to do that relaxes you.
Write in a journal, take a bath, read a book, even do a little bedtime yoga sequence. Anything that you find relaxing that will help ease your mind.
I personally like to take a hot shower or bath, turn on my diffuser with essential oils and read a couple chapters of my current book. Then I’m ready for bed in no time!
I find when I do something relaxing before bed I always get a better night’s sleep and I’m able to fall asleep much quicker compared to if I just scrolled through my phone for 30 minutes before bed.
Weighted Blanket For Sleep And Anxiety
Weighted blankets have been proven to have huge effects on sleep and anxiety! Weight blankets will help you feel relaxed, comforted and therefore you will feel less anxious and be able to sleep better.
Plus, they help with a ton of other things like fidgeting, depression, PTSD and more.
It took me a long time to try a weighted blanket. I was afraid I would feel smothered. Or get hot during the night. But, I don’t experience either with my weighted blanket!
I’ve slept with a weighted blanket every night for the past 4 months and I absolutely LOVE it. I get into bed and pull it on top of me and I instantly feel relaxed and at ease.
Weighted blankets are so calming and comforted when I’m feeling anxious and overwhelmed. And since it calms my anxiety, in turn, it helps me fall asleep faster and get a deep sleep.
Ideally, you want a weighted blanket to be 15-30 pounds, depending on your body weight. Most weighted blankets have a handy guide to help you pick out the right weight for size. Also be sure to check out the diminsions of the weighted blanket because some of them are small. Like a throw blanket. Not great for sleeping with it.
My weighted blanket is the perfect size, keeps me cool at night and doesn’t bunch up (like a lot of them do!)
Regular exercise will not only improve your health and body, but it will immensely help with anxiety and sleep! I know, sometimes exercising is the last thing you want to do. But, if you’re serious about overcoming anxiety to help with sleep then it’s a must.
It can be a form of any exercise that you enjoy. Something even as simple as a walk around the neighborhood, pilates or yoga.
Ideally, you want to aim for about 30 minutes. You can do more if you want, but honestly, I don’t have that much time most days. I stick with 30 minutes (or less only if I absolutely have to). I know sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy! It happens.
You don’t even have to exercise everyday to see a benefit. Even just 2 or 3 days week. Whatever your schedule allows will be helpful.
I tend to do yoga when I’m feeling extra stressed and anxious. Even just a quick 10 minute yoga session will have me feeling more relaxed, calm and ready for bed!
But, you can do whatever you enjoy! Walking, biking, strength training, running, etc. As long as it’s some form of exercise, you’re good to go.
Since I’ve added regular exercise to my routine, I’ve been able to fall asleep faster and sleep better without waking up throughout the night, so I get a deeper sleep. And when I fall off the wagon and go a couple weeks without exercise, I notice a huge difference in my sleep quality.
Meditation For Sleep And Anxiety
Learning to mindfulness and meditation can be the best skill you ever learn. Meditation can help with every single aspect of your life! Many people use it for stress, anxiety and sleep. But, many people don’t know that there are endless ways you can use meditation to help you in your daily life.
If you’ve never tried meditation, I suggest sticking to just a few minutes of focusing on your breath. As you get better you can increase how long you meditate.
There is definitely a learning curve with mediation and I’ve created a beginner’s guide to meditation full of tips that I wish I knew when I first started meditating. It’s super helpful, so take a look if you’re interested in getting started with meditation to help with sleep, anxiety, stress or anything else.
Being skilled at meditation allows me to take my racing, worried thoughts and actually put them away. How cool is that?
We’ve all had those times where we just can’t stop thinking. Can’t stop worrying! About one thing or a million little things.
Since I began meditating, I can take all of those thoughts and worries and literally forget about them. So my mind doesn’t race all night keeping me up.
When I don’t have all of those racing thoughts and worries, I’m less anxious, my mind is quiet and I can sleep! Meditation for anxiety and sleep has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for my wellbeing.
Put Stressful Things Away
If you want to get a good night’s sleep with anxiety, then it is essential that you have a relaxing evening routine. Not a stressful one.
Don’t pay your bills before bed or engage in a heated social media argument. Anything that will stimulate your mind or cause extra worry, steer clear of it. You don’t have to avoid your phone or electronics either. I still use my phone and watch tv before bed and that’s perfectly okay. But remember, to keep it relaxing!
I first learned about progressive muscle relaxation when I began meditating. Essentially all you do it tense up your muscles for a few seconds, relax them and repeat.
By tensing your muscles up, you’ll be able to relax them even more!
I usually start at my feet and work my way up section by section. So I’ll tense up my feet for about 10 seconds, relax them for about 10 seconds and repeat 2-5 times depending on how tense that muscle group feels. Then I’ll move to my calves, thighs, abdomen, chest, shoulders, neck, arms, and finally face.
I tend to carry a lot of tension in my shoulders and face so I spend extra time on these areas. I will usually tense my muscles for about 15 seconds for these areas and repeat about 10 times.
It doesn’t really matter how you tense your muscles, as long as you’re engaging them. For my hands I make a fist, for shoulders I’ll bring them up to my ears, etc.
Progressive muscle relaxation is great to help you relax. And I mean actually relax. The first time I did it I felt like I just got a massage. I was so relaxed and ready to fall asleep right then!
And my body just felt so light. Like I had been carrying around tons of bricks!
Anxiety and sleep deprivation are not a fun match! But, luckily there are ways you can overcome anxiety to sleep better.
Anxiety is bad enough on it’s own, but when it started stealing your sleep, that’s when it becomes an even bigger problem. Try these tips tonight and I guarantee you’ll be able quiet your mind and get a great night’s sleep with anxiety.
And, don’t forget to check out my tips on meditation for sleep and anxiety!