Anxiety and sleep do not make good bedfellows. Anybody who has ever suffered will know that sleeping with anxiety can be a real struggle. Indeed, the connection between the two is complex. Without a doubt, they both feed into each other in a vicious cycle that can feel impossible to break. Lack of sleep can worsen anxiety and anxiety can make it feel impossible to sleep. And so the merry go round continues.
However, before you throw the towel in you should know that sleeping with anxiety can be helped. Whilst anxiety is never a simple mental health problem to treat, there are tools that you can put in place to help. Here are just a few things that you could try. Remember though, if you are struggling then there are some great charities that you can reach out to. Mind is one such organisation.
When you're anxious, you may feel like the constant need to 'do' something. This could mean constantly scrolling through social media or even looking for answers to your anxiety. However, technology is a big no no before bed, especially when it comes to sleeping with anxiety. As an alternative you might want to try reading a good fictional book. Whilst it can be hard to concentrate with anxiety if you can then reading is a great way of relaxing the mind.
Weighted blankets have proven to help ease anxiety. Apparently this is because these blankets help to ground you which has a deeply calming effect. Furthermore, these blankets can make sleeping with anxiety easier because essentially you feel swaddled, like a baby, and therefore comforted. Ideally a weighted blanket should weigh 10 percent of your body weight to get the maximum effect.
Exercise has been proven to be extremely beneficial for anxiety. This is because it can help burn adrenaline off and get you out of 'flight or fight' mode. However, we would recommend not exercising before bed as this can keep you awake. The key with exercise is to do something you really enjoy to ensure you stick with it. Consistency is key!
One of the best free tool to use when trying to sleep with anxiety has to be meditation. Without a doubt there is numerous evidence that backs up the efficiency of meditation. What's more, you don't need any fancy equipment and it can be done from the comfort of your own home. If you're struggling to meditate then you might want to look at investing in a meditation app. These apps are great for guiding you through the process if you feel unsure what you are doing.
Whilst you may need that cup of coffee to get going in the morning if you're struggling to sleep with anxiety you should limit your intake. We would suggest that you stop all caffeinated drinks by 2 pm at the very latest. Instead swop your drinks up for herbal teas and decaffeinated versions of your favourite drink.
The struggle to sleep with anxiety is real. However, there are loads of self help techniques that you can introduce to make it easier. Having said this, you should never struggle with anxiety alone. Nor should you feel like you need to keep it a secret. There are lots of organisations out there to help as well as your local doctor. Above all else, remember that there is always hope.