• Rachel Paige

Sleep, or Lack Thereof

It’s common for people with anxiety to have trouble sleeping. Trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, trouble waking up. Basically, any sleep problem you can think of, someone with anxiety has probably experienced that.

If that’s you, I have a few ideas that might help. Without further ado, this is ten ideas to help you sleep better.

1. Keep a consistent routine

Keeping a consistent bedtime routine trains your brain to become tired when you start the routine. Personally, I set out my clothes for the next day, brush my teeth, shower, set my alarm, journal, and go to sleep. Whatever it is you do before bed, do it in the same order every night.

2. Keep a consistent time

It’s a good idea to go to bed around the same time each night and wake up around the same time each morning. It’s also a good idea to sleep the same number of hours every night. Don’t sleep 6 one night and 12 the next. “Catching up” on sleep is a lie.

3. Turn the lights off

I know, duh. I mean before you get into bed. As soon as I start my routine, the overhead light goes off and the lamp goes on. The duller light is a nice reminder that it’s time to wind down. The duller the lamp, the better.

4. Prepare for the next day

This helps with the waking up part. Well, it doesn’t help you wake up, but it makes your morning routine shorter so it’s okay if it takes longer to wake up. Lay your clothes out, pack your backpack, tidy up. Whatever you can do to prepare for the morning, do it.

5. Set your alarm earlier than you need

Be honest with yourself; you’re going to hit snooze at least twice. Set the alarm ten minutes early so hitting snooze is built into your get ready time.

6. Set the phone down

Seriously. Don’t be on your phone, especially not in your bed. The blue light will keep you awake. If you need to check things, do so before you go to bed. If you need to check things in the morning, do so after you get up.

7. Turn off notifications

They make the do not disturb setting for a reason. Use it. You don’t need to see Instagram and Facebook or emails at 4 in the morning. Don’t even look. If there is someone you want to wake up to if they call, add that in settings and make their ringtone the same as your alarm. I do that with my parents.

8. Don’t hang out in your bed

The more time you spend awake in your bed makes your brain associate your bed with being awake. Don’t watch TV, read, or hang out in your bed.

9. If you can’t sleep, get up

Similar to number 8. Don’t stay in your bed if you aren’t asleep. The longer you lay there, the more frustrated you’ll become. If it’s been 20 minutes and you’re still not asleep, get up. Walk around, read a book, stare at a wall, whatever. Just try to avoid screens. This applies to falling asleep and falling back asleep.

10. Make your bed

In the morning, obviously. Immediately after you get up, make your bed. It’ll make you less likely to want to get back in it. Then get dressed for the same reason.

None of these are guaranteed to work for everyone and you’ll have to spend time figuring out what works best for you. The biggest two I can stress on this list are keeping a routine and not hanging out in your bed when you’re awake. I mean it.

Hopefully this list is a good place to get you started. Good luck and sleep well!

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