There can be plenty of reasons for your head spinning when you go to bed. People find it difficult to sleep under stress as it has mental, behavioral, and physical effects. In other words, it affects all body systems, including gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, respiratory, and other hidden ailments. It’s exhausting and draining when you cannot sleep despite continuous efforts. A significant factor behind sleep deprivation or disturbed cycle is stress and anxiety.
Here are a few tips to sleep well even with anxiety:
Bedding and sleep environment
Your sleep environment matters a lot. Try to make it comfortable and remove all stressful and anxiety-inducing things. The bedding should be comfortable, including a pillow and blanket. Blue light exposure must be absent before bedtime as it interferes with the circadian rhythm of a person. Therefore, avoid using smartphones, tablets, or laptops before sleep. Your sleep pattern greatly depends on your pre-sleep routine and surrounding environment, therefore keep it light.
Try meditation, guided imagery, hypnoses, light yoga, deep breathing, acupressure, or any other relaxation exercises to relax your brain. An exercise is a good option as it produces feel-good chemicals in the body. You can try aromatherapy as it also reduces stress and improves sleep. Journaling before sleeping also helps in de-stressing a person a lot.
Good bedtime routine
If stimulants like caffeine, tobacco, or alcohol increase during stress, it’s one of the reasons for a disturbed sleep cycle. Replace it with any herbal tea like chamomile tea, which will be beneficial for better sleep. Take a break from the screen and go to bed early. Take a shower before sleeping as it makes you sleep faster. Eat a light dinner with an adequate quantity of carbs and proteins. Avoid heavy meals before sleep, as they cause major health problems and gastric issues, making it difficult to sleep.
Be your friend and practice self-compassion. Work on reframing your thoughts to get rid of those automatic anxious feelings. Manage your thoughts, and talk to a loved one before going to sleep, as it helps relax the mind. Train your mind slowly to get rid of fearful and stressful thoughts. Writing your concerns and thoughts in a diary will help you address and eliminate them.
The bed should not be used for work; its sole purpose should be rest and sleep. If you cannot sleep after lying for a few minutes in bed, get up and do some low-stress activity and then get back to bed. Set a bedtime schedule as it will make your brain shift to a sleep state after those particular tasks. If you notice that specific worries and thoughts stress you, especially at the end of the day, it may be because you have no time to think about them during the day. Although there are a lot of other tips that can help you sleep better under stress, the few mentioned are tried and tested.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.