Personal Insight Blog: See Below
One of the first things that can be compromised when we suffer from anxiety is our sleep.
According to the American Sleep Association, 50-70 million American adults have a sleep disorder. When you add anxiety to the mix, your sleep problems can get even worse.
Trust me, I’ve tried all the sleep hacks. I’m in the news and work really abnormal hours – making it even harder on my circadian rhythm.
Here are 5 things that help me get a good night’s rest.
1. Soft Silicon Ear Plugs
Do not tune me out by saying, “I’ve tried foam earplugs already.” I have too and they’re terrible. They don’t stay in and they seem to block out zero noise. Silicon ear plugs stay in and you can’t hear a thing. Simply take a piece, split in two, cover them over your ear opening and then hear nothing.
If worried you won’t hear your alarm in the morning, don’t be. The plugs become looser in your ear as the night goes on. By the time you need to wake up, you’ll hear that alarm.
Plus, I’ve used them multiple times if they’re still clean. A case like this is less than $4 at your drug store and has easily lasted me over a month.
Tip: You will start to hear your breathing louder than before but instead of getting uncomfortable, take that opportunity to listen to yourself take deep breaths in and out as you relax.
2. Form Fitting Eye Mask
Eye masks that form closely around your face can help calm the nerves and make you feel protected.
Studies find that certain pressures help relax the nervous system. When pressure is gently applied to the body, it encourages serotonin production, which lifts the mood. When serotonin naturally converts to melatonin, your body takes the cue to rest.
Weighted blanket have been proven to help relax the body due to the pressure. However, they can be expensive and hot. I have found the same feeling of comfort with a $5 eye mask.
3. Keep The Temperature Low
Turn the thermostat low. I mean, real low. Like 63 degrees low. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults keep their bedroom between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit.
You get to sleep faster when your body doesn’t have to regulate itself with extremely cold or hot temperatures. When your body gets a break, you get to sleep faster and sleep deeper.
Plus when it’s colder in the bedroom, you naturally want to curl up in the covers. Some therapists say curling up in the covers in return can give you that sense of comfort described in tip 2. So, drop it low and bundle up!
4. Music With Headphones
The headphones make the difference. 95% of the time, the silicon ear plugs work but when the mind is in hyper-mode, take them out and replace them with the headphones (for safety, I recommend wireless).
Your mind simply won’t be able to focus on both your active thoughts and the music. It will choose the music and before you know it, you’ll wake up with your Pandora station asking “are you still listening…?”
When that does happen, put that song(s) in a “sleep” playlist. I have found that my mind now starts to associate my sleep music with… sleep.
However, if you try falling asleep to certain tracks and they don’t get the job done, don’t use them again for sleep. It could just cause you more anxiety.
Tip: Usually you’ll hear people say to pick music without words. I say, do pick music with words. Without lyrics, it still leaves a door open for you to think about whatever is causing anxiety in that moment. Focusing on lyrics helps eliminate those thoughts.
Keep the music low, with a slow tempo and lyrical.
5. Tell Yourself You Can Power Through…. Wait What? Yup. You Heard Right.
Should you get 7-9 hours of sleep every night? Yes. But let’s be honest, we live in the 21st century and life can keep us from that perfect schedule occasionally.
And I don’t know about you, but the root of a lot of my anxiety is, perfection. Have you ever had to get up and do life, even with very little sleep?
If the answer is yes, then use that to your advantage when you’re tossing and turning.
What will happen if I don’t get a lot of sleep tonight? Well, I didn’t get a lot of sleep when I ___ (insert an event you remember here), and I got through it. Tomorrow will be no different.
Most times we keep ourselves awake simply because we fear what will happen tomorrow. However, if you can find peace with letting go of what you cannot control about tomorrow, the better off your mind will be.
Is it healthy to function on little sleep? No. But occasionally, it will happen and you need to tell your brain not to panic.