If you want a good night’s sleep, you need to find ways to relax and decompress your mind. For many of us getting to bed feels like a nightmare. We can’t fall asleep because our mind keeps racing. Our overactive mind keeps us from falling asleep quickly when we go to bed.
Why am I so anxious at bedtime?
Anxiety is a normal human emotion. It is expressed by feelings of nervousness and worry. You may experience anxiety during stressful situations such as a job interview or arguments at work or at home. At times, anxiety can linger longer than normal, and when it happens it can interfere with your sleep patterns.
Nighttime anxiety is one of the most common types of anxiety. Clinical trials have found that sleep deprivation can cause anxiety. Based on research, we also know that anxiety disorders are associated with diminished sleep quality. Treating your nighttime anxiety is an important step toward improving the quality of your sleep.
How do I stop anxiety at bedtime?
When I can’t sleep for hours, I wish that I could turn off my brain just to fall asleep already. But, there is “no button to push” to quiet our mind and slip into sleep.
Excessive thinking at bedtime is a common cause of insomnia. Frequently, sleeplessness is a sign of stress and anxiety. Your mind is on high alert, fearful of falling asleep in case you forget something seemingly important, freaking out about something you “should” be doing. Sleeplessness is not always stress-induced. Sometimes we can sleep because we are anticipating something fun and exciting. Maybe you can’t wait to leave for vacation the next day. Whatever the reason, your thoughts won’t let you fall asleep until you feel you are on top of it.
How do you relax and unwind before bed?
Wondering how to unwind before bedtime? There are countless benefits of destressing and relaxing every night before going to sleep. Unwinding can be your gateway to a great night’s rest! Relaxing before bed has many health benefits, such as preventing depression and lowering the chance of heart attacks.
Therefore, try to take some time out for yourself at the end of a busy, tiring day, to help your body unwind before bed. Failing to do so often results in lying in bed wide awake, with the stress building up, making it difficult to fall asleep.
To relax and unwind before bed, you have to let go of anything out of your control. Make a mental note of all things out of control that stress you and recognize that no amount of worrying can change them. Accept that there are things out of your control, take a deep breath and let them go.
Why is it important to clear your mind before bed?
Having a nighttime routine to help you unwind before going to sleep is critical. It is the only way to drift off to dreamland. If you find a way to clear your mind before bed, you can stop your mind racing with everything that went wrong today and everything that may go wrong in the future. If you can’t clear your mind, you won’t be able to get the rest you need to perform at your best.
How do you decompress yourself before bed?
Start with identifying your stressors. Think about anything that is on your mind or causing you stress. It doesn’t matter what is stressing you out. Whether its trivial, nonsensical or something really important, if you are thinking about it, you need to deal with it.
Put it down on paper. Make a list of everything that causes anxiety. The list you create will allow your mind to let the stressor go until the following day. Keeping a pen and paper next to your bed simplifies this practice. If you think of something, you don’t have to get out of bed.
How much time should I give myself to decompress before bed?
Give yourself time to decompress before going to sleep. Trying to rush yourself to calm down doesn’t work. Ideally, set aside at least 30 minutes to one hour to wind down before bedtime. As you try to decompress, avoid anything that might be stimulating, including tablets, laptops, cell phones, texting. Create a routine to decompress and stick to it each night.
Understand that sleep is essential for healthy living.
Many of us fail to realize that sleep is a critical element of living healthfully. We sacrifice sleep too willingly if wer are pressed for time. But the price for sacrificing sleep is substential. Not sleeping enough hours for your age can cause a variety of health problems, including, anxiety.
When you don’t sleep enough you accept the fact the you will not perform fully and at your best. And sleep deprivation can increase your risk for serious health issues such as stroke, diabetes, and hypertension. Only after you understand the importance of sleeping enough can you begin your journey of finding ways to relax before going to bed.
Decompress in a way that works for you best.
Don’t feel that you have to decompress the same way others do. Experiment with different activities to decompress and stick to the activities that are the most effective for you. For some people watching TV before going to sleep is a bad idea, but it may relax you. If watching a relaxing show decompresses you, you might include it in your relaxation routine.
Talk with someone you love.
An intimate conversation with a friend or a loved one can help you calm down before bedtime. Talking with someone you love can take your mind off your troubles, and if you make love, you also physically release some of the tension you are feeling.
Take your mind on a mental vacation.
Imagine your favorite, most relaxing destination. For me, it’s the sea, listening to the sounds of the breaking surf. Every time I want to relax before sleeping, I picture myself on a sunny beach with warm ocean breezes caressing me. Feel your surroundings, hear the calming sounds, smell the salty air.
Take a relaxing bath.
It’s so easy and fun. Best of all, a warm bath is a great way to relax before going to bed. Beyond helping you unwind, a warm bath will raise your body temperature, helping you fall asleep.
Say a prayer or meditate to relax before bed.
If you are religious, a night prayer might be a great way to promote a restful mind and body. Praying or meditation can help you relax before going to bed. For many of us, it is hard to take the time to meditate. And yet, you should really make time for meditation and enjoy its relaxing benefits. Nighttime meditations will get you more in touch with your body and help relax your nervous system.
Relax with deep breathing.
If you aren’t religious, you might find deep breathing a way to decompress before bedtime. Simply take a few minutes to sit or lay still and breathe. Deep breathing is effortless. All you need to do is to be mindful of your breathing. And every time you catch your attention to wander, bring it back to your breath. It’s that simple.
Drink a warm beverage.
Exercise to fall asleep more easily.
Exercise is the healthiest stress reliever, and it can also help you fall asleep more easily. You shouldn’t exercise right before going to bed. But a daily workout routine could make it easier to fall asleep.
Calm yourself with aromatherapy.
Research shows that aromatherapy is a great way to destress before sleep. Essential oils are widely used as a natural remedy for nervousness and anxiety. For example, lavender oil is recommended for sleep and relaxation. A soothing scent such as lavender is associated with rest and relaxation.
How do you stop thinking while trying to sleep?
Some nights, no matter how exhausted you feel, falling asleep seems impossible. You are mentally dissecting the stressors of the day while also fearfully previewing the day ahead; sometimes, your thoughts even reach back into your mental archives and recall something scary or embarrassing you did back when you were 15 years old.
Racing thoughts at bedtime are far too common. There is no one solution guaranteed to work for everyone to fight bedtime anxiety.
Sleep experts recommend the following techniques to help you stop thinking while trying to fall asleep:
- Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb.” It’s even better if you automate this. Set your phone to shut off after 8:00 pm. Once your phone stops buzzing, you can truly wind down.
- Don’t stress about your sleeplessness. If you are struggling to overcome sleeplessness, you can worsen your insomnia. Learn to observe and accept your current situation without stressing about it.
- Stop thinking about trying to fall asleep. Wishing to fall asleep is a recipe for staying wide awake. The process is called paradoxical thinking. If you instruct yourself to stay awake, you’ll be more prone to fall asleep. This works because you are telling yourself that you are comfortable staying awake. You are no longer frustrated about tossing and turning, and your arousal level drops.
- Make a list of everything that frustrates you. Spend a few minutes to write down the things that freak you out. The list will include some “real” worries and some “hypothetical” worries. Make an action plan to address your real worries, and let the hypotheticals go.
- Construct meaningless mental lists. Try to quiet your mind a list of things of low importance. You could imagine reorganizing a toolbox or rearranging the furniture in your office.
- Get out of bed briefly to distract your mind from being unable to sleep. It’s critical to use this time the right way. Avoid looking at your email or checking Instagram. You could get up to drink a little water.
- Once you are in bed do some deep breathing. It is a powerful distraction technique if you are trying to fall asleep. Breathe out longer than you breathe in, then pause briefly and count to five when you breathe out, then pause. Focus on breathing and counting. If your mind wanders off, return your focus to the breathing exercise.
What are the most effective ways to relax before bed?
Listening to relaxing music before bed is a great way to calm down. You can also do a bit of clean up or reorganizing to calm down before going to bed.