We live in a very busy world, where our mind races ahead of our actions. We continuously think and worry about work, money, relationships, children and tasks ahead, especially when we hit our beds for a night’s sleep. If it happens once in a while, it is normal. But when emotional problems and anxiety gets in the way of sleep as a routine, it is mandatory to seek help from family and loved ones. And if it worsens, a professional intervention should be sought and appropriate course of actions must be performed.
WHY DOES SLEEP MATTER?
Sleep is said to vital for cognitive function of the body. A good night’s sleep helps body to replenish the energy, heal and repair itself, brains to consolidate our memories and process information. Sleeping aids in repairing and restoring of our heart and blood vessels, thereby reducing the chances of cardiac arrest and other heart related diseases. A good night’s sleep freshens up the entire system, making us more active through the day.
SLEEP AND ANXIETY
TIPS TO SLEEP BETTER WITH ANXIETY:
Make a schedule – Start by making a thorough plan for the day and try sticking to it. It is advisable to plan things that feasible, prioritizing the toughest task for morning hours. Mornings are usually the best time to get your things done as your energy levels are at optimum. Also, schedule your sleeping time and adhere to it by keeping your phones away atleast an hour before. If possible, switch of your laptops and television and go for a shower before you sleep. Likewise, try sticking to getting up early.
Remember, early to rise, early to bed!
Eliminate Napping – If you are suffering from sleepless nights due to anxiety, eliminate napping during the day. And if you really need a nap, try napping for less than 20 minutes early in the noon. If you take a nap later in the day, it may interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night.
Tailor the environment around you – Before your bedtime, start dimming all the lights in the house. Pull up the curtains and keep your room dark. The lower the light, the better signaling to the body to fall asleep. Human bodies produce melatonin which induces sleep in us. So, cut out all the bright lights and let the body prepare. It is also advisable to keep your bedroom quieter and cooler to better the chance of calming our mind and falling asleep.
Keep away from alcoholic drinks – Many people believe that drinking alcohol helps them to relax and have a better sleep. But prolonged use of alcohol, not only deteriorates your health but also increases the heart rate. Ensure you don’t consume alcohol before bedtime, as it can keep you up, thereby disrupting your sleep. Consuming any liquids, caffeine or alcohol increases anxiety and thus inhibits sleep. Also do not drink plenty of water before going to sleep, the frequent bathroom trips makes our mind anxious and alert.
Quit Smoking if you have anxiety – It is a misconception amongst many youngsters and adult that smoking helps them to think, relax and remain stress-free. Nicotine in a cigarette is not only harmful for health but also, is a stimulant that interferes with your sleep, thereby making you more restless through the day.
Exercise to sleep – We all know that exercise helps in reducing anxiety and depression. A vigorous workout during the day improves the sleep quality. However, we should not exercise right before we go to sleep, as it can re-energize our body and dissuade our body to relax and fall asleep.
Meditate and keep calm – A simple walk, a hot water bath, yoga, taichi or mindfulness meditation can make our mind calm and relaxed. It lifts off the thoughts about the past and the future and paves a way to live in the present. If we practice these techniques for calming our mind during the day, then it will be easier for the mind to trigger our relaxation response at night. Yoga or tai chi done before bed may help you sleep though.
Avoid nighttime snacking – Try to eat your food atleast 2 hours prior to your sleep time. Also, avoid large meals late at night that may interfere with sleep. Stick to snacks that are complex carbs and/or dairy, such as cereal with milk or cheese and crackers.
Create a pre-sleep ritual – Find ways to help calm your mind before going to bed. It can be reading a book (make sure it is a light book, so that you can putting down), meditating, taking a warm shower, listening to music or even maintain a gratitude journal or happiness jar. These activities helps in clearing our mind and fill it with positivity. A night time ritual can be of 10 minutes to between an hour.
Aromatherapy – Use scents like lavender or chamomile that aids in relaxing our mind and body. We can also use the scent sachets under our pillows to help us relax and fall asleep.
Ask for help – At times, half of our problems are solved when we speak up. So, if you are anxious about something talk to your family and friends who are supportive of you. Never hesitate to call for help if you need it from a professional too.
Remember, sleep problems and anxiety, both are highly treatable, so talk, open up and let your mind and body relax.
This post is written as a part of Blogchatter’s Causeachatter and I am championing the cause ‘Let’s Talk About Mental Health’ in this post!