Tips For The Anxious Insomniac: How To Have Good Night Even If You Don't Get Much Sleep

Leon Bowman

If you're seeing a therapist for your anxiety, the topic of insomnia has probably weaved its way into the conversation. Since anxiety can cause you to feel overwhelmed by social interactions, responsibilities, and so on, you may ruminate on these worries and thoughts instead of sleeping. If you want to alleviate your insomnia, you may want to try the following tips.

1. Practice Breathing and Meditation

Your therapist like Dr Paul Johnston may already be working with you on breathing exercises and mantras. While some people may think that meditation is about deep thought and enlightenment, Eastern practices believe that meditation is about clearing the mind. As you practice clearing your mind at night, don't judge yourself harshly if a stray thought flits in. Acknowledge the thought and then move fluidly into a positive mantra.

You may want to try counting your breaths. For instance, you could try holding your breath for a few counts, inhaling for a few counts and holding, and then exhaling deeply for a few counts. Byrdie.com says that people who are anxious usually take shallow breaths. If you focus on your breath, you'll take in more oxygen and slow your heart rate, making it easier to fall asleep.

2. Turn Your Clock Around

If you keep looking at your clock and thinking, If I go to sleep now, I'll get X amount of sleep, it's time to turn it away from you. If you don't know what time it is, you won't anxiously be counting down the hours until you have to get up.

3. Get out of Bed and Be Productive

This tip may seem counter-intuitive, but if you aren't able to sleep, there's no point in sitting in bed obsessing over your worries. You may be unintentionally turning your bed into a place of anxiety instead of a restful safe haven. Instead, enjoy your time as a night owl. Use the time to read a book, clean your house, do homework, or exercise. It's no secret that even light exercise can ignite endorphins and relieve some of your depression and anxiety. And if you're lucky, maybe your activity will tire you out.

4. Avoid Social Media and Artificial Light

Have you heard of "fear of missing out" (FOMO)? FOMO is relatively new term to describe people that can't stop checking their social media because they are worried they'll miss out on an important social interaction. If you find yourself obsessing about what your family or friends are doing instead of sleeping, you may want to try a "technology cleanse." If you don't think you can go without your social media for a few days, at least unplug your electronics at night and keep them out of your bedroom.

If you do need to use your electronics to keep your mind off of your anxiety, you might want to invest in blue-blocking glasses. Since the blue light from your electronics messes with your circadian rhythms, your body may feel the need to wake up rather than go to sleep.

With these tips and the help of a therapist, you can definitely relieve some of your symptoms of anxiety-related insomnia.


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