Sleep and Anxiety : What are the links?
There is plenty of evidence pointing towards sleep disturbance and anxiety, with sufferers staying up late into the night due to anxious thoughts. Indeed, constant worry does inhibit our brains from switching off – meaning that with thoughts racing in our minds, peaceful, beneﬁcial rest is rarely achieved.
Check out these tips for beating stress and stopping the spiralling cycle.
Limit caffeine and alcohol
Consuming too much caffeine, or, drinking the substance late into the day, can actually inhibit sleep and can even cause anxious thoughts to pop up as you try to get some rest.
A tip for avoiding caffeine is to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and if you feel the afternoon slump coming on, head out for a stroll at lunchtime to get some much needed fresh air – if you work at home, maybe head out for a run!
Embrace calming exercises
Anxiety can often manifest itself in a jumble of thoughts ﬂying around our heads, meaning that we ﬁnd it hard to focus on the most important thing: sleep.
Meditation and yoga are great for training our minds to clear away the clutter and focus on one factor. Try downloading a few apps and give them a try before going to bed, it deﬁnitely takes practice, but with the right approach, it can really help to curb anxious thoughts.
If you’re struggling, ask for help
At times, stopping anxious night time thoughts requires more than just exercising or turning your phone off, if the techniques discussed do not seem to work, then ask for help. Getting to the root of your anxious thoughts can be a great way to get a better nights’ sleep.
Limit screen time
Phones, tablets and TV screens tend to emit a substance called blue light, which can play with our natural bodily rhythms and can cause us to feel awake for longer. Trouble is, these devices are also pretty good at providing a welcome distraction from anxious thoughts.
A great way to still get this distraction is to read a book, the compelling story will pull your mind away from anxious thoughts, and the gentle reading will hopefully send you to sleep.
Write down your worries
A great way to combat stress and anxious thoughts in the evening is to write down everything you are worried out before heading to bed. This way, you can look down the list and work out how to solve each and every one of them – you’ll also come across a few that will make you think why you were even worrying about them in the ﬁrst place!
Plan you day
Along the same theme of writing down your worries, a great tip is to plan a to-do list for the next day just before you head to sleep. This way, you won’t be worrying about getting everything done in time, as your whole day will be planned for you before you even wake up!