Remember one of those nights when it took you maybe an hour or two to fall asleep? This is pretty normal if you have had a lot of anxious thoughts on your mind lately. It might be a work project that is due soon or a school paper that needs to be handed in. Having sleepless nights ones in a while is ok.
However, imagine feeling like that every single night for weeks on end. It is exhausting! When I was at my absolute lowest in 2017 I was tired all the time. Even though my brain was exhausted, and my body was exhausted, I barely slept at all. I was lucky if I got maybe three or four hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
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How to calm your anxious mind?
Practicing and having a good sleep routine can help you sleep better and manage anxiety. A good sleep routine means having certain habits that will promote quality sleep. You can start implementing the following:
Tell your anxious mind to shut up!
When you are anxious you think about all the little details and you analyze all the little details. With anxiety, usually, all of your doubts come to the surface. You struggle to love and be kind to yourself. You are in a constant war with your thoughts.
Thoughts such as, “how you aren’t good enough”, “how you could have worked harder”, “how you aren’t skinny enough”, “how people don’t like you” and “how you could have done better”. These thoughts are dangerous! Dangerous in a way that it drains you completely from energy.
Somewhere deep down I knew that thoughts like these weren’t real. I knew that this was not my reality, but it was very difficult for me to differentiate between what was real and what wasn’t.
Doubting yourself like this all day, every day for weeks is draining, and it only makes it that much worse, when people tell you to “get over yourself, “everyone has it tough once in a while”, “stop being so lazy” or “suck it up and deal with it”.
These comments only made me feel worse, because I truly did want to “suck it up and deal with it”, but my mind wouldn’t let me. I still have days with thoughts like this, but I am better at handling these thoughts now.
Ask yourself whether this thought is truly helpful in this moment. If you can’t do anything about it at the moment, move on and let the thought pass.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime
Drinking any coffee, energy drinks and some teas act as a stimulant. It is different from person to person when to stop drinking these drinks, but generally speaking, you should avoid drinking any caffeine 6 hours before bedtime.
When you drink caffeine it actually takes around 5 hours before the caffeine is somewhat out of your system.
Instead, you should try drinking herbal teas like chamomile tea. Chamomile helps your muscles relax after a long day.
Using social media right before bed has been proven to increase symptoms of anxiety and depression. Social media is a place of constant comparison.
When you are scrolling through Instagram you see a ton of photos of models, beauty gurus, and travel influencers. You really can’t help but think, “I wish that was me” if you don’t have that.
1,5 hour before bed turn off all social media apps and notifications. This way you won’t get disturbed during your sleep either.
Read or listen to audiobooks
Instead of using social media right before bed, use the last hour to read a good book or listen to audiobooks. Listening to audiobooks also helps to turn off my anxious thoughts and sometimes I even fall asleep while listening to them.
When I feel like listening to an audiobook I grab and use these comfortable sleeping headphones. They block out any light and lay flat and soft on your ears.
Listening to audiobooks is also a way for your mind to stay present and be mindful because try as you might, you can’t both think and listen at the same time. Just try it out and see if I am right.
Weighted blankets work great for both children and adults. The deep pressure touch from the blanket provides you with pressure and warmth similar to a hug.
The deep pressure touch helps your body relax, grounds your body and helps your body produce melatonin, which is great for better sleep.
My own weighted blanket is from LUNA. You can check out the details regarding this blanket right here. It is ranked as one of the absolute best-weighted blankets and has more than 2000 customer ratings.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day
Keeping a regular wake up/bedtime schedule is vital for your energy levels during the day. This also means during the weekends. Going to bed at 2 am on Saturday night and waking up at noon on Sunday will mess up your sleep routine completely, which in turn will mess with your energy levels. Try keeping a somewhat regular sleep routine.
If you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep read my article about sleep right here.
Unwind before bed
Instead of going straight from the shower to bed, try using 30-45 minutes of relaxation tools to unwind. This way you will prepare your body for sleep and your body will know that it is time for bed. Don’t rush this.
Take your time applying your favorite nighttime skincare products, give yourself a facial massage and when you get out of the bathroom to do some light yoga and stretching to untie your tense muscles. Use lavender oil in a diffuser to help you relax and meditate for 5-10 minutes.
Do these small things instead of just falling into bed and scrolling through your social media.
Read all about my fall nighttime routine to help soothe my anxiety and depression right here.
Exercising during the day
Regular exercise will exhaust you physically instead of mentally, which in turn will help you sleep better at night. If your body is physically exhausted it will need rest in order to restore for the next day.
Go for long walks, do yoga or pilates. These are all great ways to exercise if you are experiencing anxiety or depression.
Use Essential Oil for your anxious thoughts
I highly recommend using essential oils and an oil diffuser. Lavender and chamomile oil is especially great to help ease your anxious mind right before bed.
I also have a review of my essential oil diffuser from Smiley Daisy, you can read more about right here. I absolutely love this oil diffuser and it is very easy to use.
Even if you have never experienced a mental illness, it doesn’t mean that someone close to you hasn’t. It may be the last person from your work, you would expect to be battling some kind of mental illness, but unfortunately, there are so many people out there with mental issues.
Have you experienced endless sleepless nights like this? What did you do instead of sleeping? Let me know in the comments below…
You may also want to read...
- Meditation – 10 minutes a day can change your life!
- Sleep 101: how sleep affects your mental health
- My bedtime routine to help with anxiety & depression