4 Tips for Sleeping Well with Anxiety
For people with anxiety, bed time can be scary because there are fewer distractions from worries and anxious thoughts. In fact, difficulty sleeping is one of the major symptoms of an anxiety disorder.
The cause of sleep issues when you have anxiety is a chicken or the egg problem: is your worsening anxiety causing your lack of sleep or is lack of sleep is causing your anxiety to worsen? Either way, some simple changes to sleep hygiene and daily habits can help with both.
Mindfulness meditation: The evidence is clear that it improves mood and reduces anxiety. By just dedicating 10 minutes a day to mindfulness meditation, you can greatly reduce stress levels and improve sleep. There are some great, free apps that can teach you more about mindfulness meditation and guide you through exercises to help you fall asleep faster.
Screen-free time: Technology can be a fun distraction, but it can also increase stress and interfere with sleep. Having a bedtime routine that doesn't involve a screen, like reading, sewing, or journaling, can mean a more restful, restorative sleep and improve your mood. For optimal sleep, avoid screens two hours before sleep.
Gratitude journaling: Writing down the things and people you are grateful for before bed helps mitigate the anxious thoughts that keep you from sleeping well.
Avoid clocks: If you wake up during the night, don't check the time. Also, don’t continue to lie and bed tossing and turning. Both will make it harder to get back to sleep.