We’ve all had days where we’ve been so overwhelmed with stress and anxiety that everything just feels so heavy. In instances like this, sleep doesn’t always come easy. People toss and turn, fall asleep too late, and end up waking feeling completely unrested. This becomes a cycle as the difficulty with sleep keeps going. Proper sleep is extremely crucial to our overall physical and mental well-being, so occasional sleep disruptions must be addressed. Otherwise, the risk of developing health conditions increases.
It is essential to seek care from a mental health professional to help manage anxiety and decrease its daily manifestations. At the same time, it is also necessary to have good sleeping habits that can help you improve sleep. Here are some effective tips that may help you achieve a good night’s sleep:
Exercise more during the day.
Incorporating exercise in a daily routine has always been difficult, but it’s important for more than just your physical health. It also provides mental and emotional health benefits that help people put their worries to rest. Aside from stabilizing the mood, it can also effectively reduce the symptoms of chronic insomnia. Increased physical activity makes us tired and increases body temperature, and as the body cools down, it becomes much easier to fall asleep later. The positive benefits of exercise are not instantaneous, so focus on consistency instead of intensity.
Avoid mindless scrolling on social media.
Refrain from using any digital devices at least an hour before you want to go to sleep. The blue light emitted by electronic devices only delays bedtime and affects the quality of sleep. Aside from the device itself, the content is also a major factor. Mindlessly scrolling on social media to help you fall asleep will not help you achieve proper rest. Consuming so much news and issues during bedtime keeps your mind engaged and also anxious, which is not good sleep hygiene. Lay off of social media and gadgets if you really want to get a good night’s sleep.
However, using your phone during the day to help with your anxiety can actually be a good thing: You still don’t need to consume too much (or any) social media, but you can find the best anxiety journal app to help you put your thoughts in order and keep your mental health on track.
Refrain from doing work-related activities inside the bedroom.
The place where you sleep must not be associated with stressors. When you constantly do your remote work in the bedroom, your body won’t be conditioned to feel relaxed when you’re in that environment. Knowing that you can address existing work issues so near to your bed might make you more anxious about it. For those who live in a studio apartment, it is still possible to draw a line between work and rest. By designating a particular work area, you can associate that space with productivity and avoid ruining your sleeping sanctuary.
Limit caffeine in general – not just coffee.
Only consume caffeine early in the day, otherwise, it can mess up your sleep even further. Aside from coffee, energy drinks and sodas have caffeine as well. These products can increase anxiety, alertness, and heart rate while also inhibiting sleep. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is still the best way to go. Stay away from alcoholic drinks at least four hours before bedtime because it also makes a negative impact on your sleeping pattern.
Stop worrying about sleep.
Anxiety-ridden days are already full of worries and negative emotions. Worrying about your sleep is counterproductive because that will only keep you awake longer. Stop looking at the clock and beating yourself up for unaccomplished tasks, failed expectations, or mishandling of problems. Let yourself succumb to sleep and address all your worries again in the morning. Some people find it helpful to jot down everything they’re worried about in a journal. This way, they momentarily let go of worries and leave them out of bed.
It’s crucial to acknowledge that there’s no one-off solution for better sleep. There are plenty of factors involved in such an important activity, and if these simple lifestyle changes do not make a difference, there’s nothing wrong with asking for medical help. Approaching a psychologist or going to a sleep clinic can provide more insight into the issue and offer professional support. Above all else, do not forget to be kind to yourself, especially during these difficult times.
Header: Fernando @cferdo