When it comes to problems with your sleep anxiety only seems to make things worse. As ananxiety sufferer I guess you know what I mean. Maybe you can’t get to sleep at night or perhaps you find that you wake several times in the night for no apparent reason.
Whichever is your problem (or both perhaps) worrying about them is definitely not going to help!
Longstanding readers of mine will know that I much prefer to try natural methods to deal with life’s problems rather than going down the route of taking medication. And when it comes to problems with sleep anxiety sufferers get the same response from me. Keep it natural!
So I’m going to give you a few simple tips here to help smooth the way to a better night’s sleep.
Sleep means different things for different people.
Some may positively relish the idea of snuggling down in a warm bed for a good night’s sleep. However, for many people the impending bedtime can become a bit of nightmare with the accompanying fears of not being able to get to sleep or worrying about how long they might manage to stay asleep for.
So the obvious first step here is to stop worrying. Or at least get your worrying out of the way by setting aside a Worry Time earlier in the evening. I’m a great fan of using private Worry Time and a Worry Notebook for getting your excessive worrying under control.
Even if your lifestyle means that you can’t always go to bed at the same time each night, the one thing you can control is getting up at the same time each morning. It doesn’t matter what time you went to sleep the night before – whether it was “on time” or what you perceive to be ridiculously late – make sure that you wake up at the same time each day. Out of your seven days a week, work out the earliest time that you ever need to get up (perhaps for work maybe) and make this the time that you will be waking up each day.
Yes, EACH day. That includes the weekend as well!
If you need the help of one or more alarm clocks to achieve this then go for it!
Your body is wonderful at self regulating. It likes nothing better than to behave in an ordered, structured way so by taking control of your waking times, your body will eventually even out its sleeping times and fall into a natural cycle of sleeping and waking at regular times.
The amount of sleep that you require is different from person to person. Some need more, some need less. It’s a very individual thing. Some people say you need less sleep as you get older . . . my elderly mother would quite happily dispute this any day! My advice is to not worry about it. Do what ever you feel is best for you and makes you feel alert and healthy.
Only go to sleep if you’re tired. If sleep doesn’t come within ten minutes or so, laying awake restlessly in bed, tossing and turning, isn’t going to help the process one little bit. You’d probably have been better off staying up a little bit later until you felt more tired. Likewise, if you wake in the night and can’t get back to sleep, get up. Do something that is restful (i.e. not stimulating) and only go back to bed when you’re feeling sleepy.
If reading a book in bed last thing at night helps you to drift off to sleep, that’s fine. But if by reading a book your imagination gets all fired up and you find your mind running at full speed then this isn’t the thing for you! Likewise, reading something like a thriller or any book that gets the adrenalin pumping just isn’t a sensible thing to do. Save it for a rainy weekend when you’ve nothing better to do.
It almost goes without saying that you should try to avoid alcohol or drinks that have caffeine in them. You should also know by now that I’m not going to recommend that you take sleeping pills unless there’s a specific reason why your doctor has said you should take them.
Regular relaxation will also help to improve your sleep problems. Also, don’t forget to watch your attitude. Going to bed each night ‘knowing’ that you won’t sleep well is a guaranteed recipe for a very wakeful night.
There is much truth in the saying ‘What you think of the most, you manifest!’
As with the way your anxiety affects you, it is your mind which controls how you perceive things. So each night when you go to bed, tell yourself that you will sleep well tonight. Picture it. Visualise how refreshed you will feel when you wake the next day. Really FEEL those feelings of alertness and enthusiasm for the day!
By combining regular relaxation with the suggestions made earlier for changing the way you go to sleep anxiety will no longer get the blame for keeping you awake at night! These methods will put you well and truly on the path to getting a better and more satisfying night’s sleep.
Yes, of course it will take time to achieve this. Anything that’s worth achieving takes time. It will take time for your body to adjust and settle into its new routine, and time for you to realise that you really can improve on things.
So make sure that you are patient. Don’t get frustrated if your sleep problems don’t appear to have improved within a week.
Give it time and your rewards will come. Learn to trust the process.
So all that’s left now is for me to wish you a pleasant night’s sleep!