Anxiety likes to attack at the worst of times. One of those bad timings is when you are laying in bed after a long hard day and just want to sleep, but that little voice whispers, “What about [insert totally unrealistic worry]…” and suddenly the adrenaline is pumping and you don’t fall asleep until 3:00 a.m. How do we battle this monster known as “nighttime anxiety”? Through my experience, I have learned a few helpful tricks to keep it away before it even comes.
Step 1: Avoid Backlit Screens
Backlit screen wake up your mind instead of settling it down for sleep. When you are scrolling through Facebook late at night on your phone or pinning things on Pinterest through your phone, you are waking your brain up, leaving it as open prey for the nighttime anxiety monster.
Step 2: Do Not Go to Bed on a Full, Bloated Stomach
The discomfort that bloating brings from eating too much will keep you awake and if it was something sugary or filled with caffeine that will wake your brain up as well and speed up your heart rate. Certain foods have also been known to trigger anxiety more than others, so its just better to eat earlier on in the evening if possible.
Step 3: Avoid Stressful TV Shows or Movies
I know for myself that when watch a stressful show it pumps up my heart rate and causes an adrenaline rush, really waking up my brain and keeping me up thinking about the most random of things.
Step 4: Workout Any Time During the Day Other Than Right Before Bed
If you workout at some point in the day, it will help tire you out so that when bedtime comes you will fall asleep quicker, but if that time is right before bed, you will be left lying awake until the hormones and heart rate slow down and go to their normal rates.
Step 5: Listen to Soft, Relaxing Music
This one didn’t work for me, but some people it really benefits. It gives them something else to concentrate on other than their anxiety and slows the mind down.
Step 6: Write or Read
Again, this one doesn’t always work for everyone (some people would stay up later because they become so involved with the book they are reading or what they are writing), but for me this tired my eyes, helped me relax more, and kept my mind occupied so it wouldn’t be wondering to unhelpful thoughts. I even know of some people who will read a children’s picture book before bed because it keeps them from having panic attacks at night.
Step 7: Crank the Heat Up
For me, heat makes me tired and relaxes me, so if I had the heat high and lots of warm blankets, it helped me fall asleep quicker.
Step 8: Find a Relaxing or Comforting Smell to Have in Your Room at Night
I never tried this one myself, but I’ve heard others say that smells such as lavender help them relax and sleep better.