We all know that anxiety affects sleep, and vice versa. If you get a poor night’s rest, it can bleed into the next few nights, creating a tough cycle that is hard to break. It’s not easy being able to conquer it, especially when you can’t sleep in and have to get up at a certain time.
However, conquering your sleep anxiety is possible, but it’s not easy. You need to figure out what’s right for you, and that’s key here. Everyone is different. You can read articles with generalized sleep advice, but everyone is different, and some people can fall asleep in unique ways. Plus, we all know the general advice. Don’t use your bed for more than sleep or intimacy. Make sure that you get up and do something to make you tired if you haven’t fallen asleep within 30 minutes. We all know these general tips, so here are some unique ways to quell that sleep anxiety and get a better night’s sleep.
(Note: This is based on my own personal experience with sleep anxiety, and knowing some unconventional ways to handle it.)
Don’t Fear the Screen
A common piece of advice you may hear when reading articles about beating insomnia is to avoid looking at screens before bed. How long you have to avoid screens before bed can depend, with some people saying up to two hours—a feat that many can’t avoid. If you work long shifts, not being able to unwind with a show or video game is a bit unfair, yet the articles always emphasize avoiding screens before bed at all costs.
However, technology, which can affect your ability to sleep, may be able to help you as well. How many people you know have passed out while watching a show, for example? Obviously, checking social media or playing an action-packed game isn’t a good idea, but some pieces of tech may help. Here are some examples:
- A sleep app. These apps usually have meditation, sleep stories, or white noise that can help you get a better night’s rest.
- A boring documentary or videos. Relaxing, “satisfying” videos also may be able to help you.
- Trying to write your own bedtime story.
- Using online counseling apps such as BetterHelp to talk to your counselor or therapist and see how you can fall asleep.
the technological folk, using some tech wisely may be able to help. With that said, make sure to turn on night mode and blue light filters (avoid blue light), lower your brightness, and see if it’s for you.
Put Some Food In Your Tummy
This one is polarizing. If you’re watching your weight, some will tell you not to eat before bed. Others may say that food will keep you up.
However, there seems to be growing evidence that the opposite is true as well. For some people, eating before bed may help with their diet, and it may help them fall asleep faster.
Of course, this all depends on what you eat. Eating foods and drink that’s rich in caffeine is certainly not going to help. Eating too much may make it hard to sleep. However, having a snack may help you fall asleep. Like the screen suggestion, it obviously depends on person to person, so try it out. For example, try sipping an herbal tea, and eating a banana—since bananas contain natural muscle relaxants like magnesium and potassium, they may help you wind down.
Try to Be Productive
Your body loves to be contradictory. We all know the cliché of being so tired throughout the day, but then full of energy the second our head hits the pillow. So why not use that to your advantage? Tell
yourself, “I’m going to skip sleep and be productive,” and do something productive. Try cooking, working on an essay, or doing something else. Sometimes, your body likes to be contradictory and
fall asleep when you’re trying to use the insomnia to your advantage. Obviously, this doesn’t work for everyone, but it may work for some.
Draft a Little Story in Your Head
Visualization and guided imagery has been a great way to fall asleep. Thinking about a story in your head can distract you from your sleep anxiety and allow you to get a better night’s sleep.
With that said, we do realize that some people get writer’s block while thinking of the story as they try to fall asleep.
This is why you need to think up a little story in your head beforehand. It doesn’t need to be fleshed out, but have an idea for about 10-20 minutes of the story. This can allow you to fall asleep.
By 20 minutes, if you haven’t fallen asleep, you should get out of bed, anyway.
insomnia, and help you return to restful nights.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion andgrowth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com.
With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.