In this day and age, we can all lose our ability to sleep soundly. We can get hit by insomnia for a night or two which may lead to developing long-term chronic insomnia that makes our lives harder than they should be.
One of the main drivers for chronic insomnia is anxiety and stress. Worrying can indeed prevent you from sleeping through the night which leads to decreased performance, lower ability to focus and can decrease your social skills when interacting with other people, which all leads back to more anxiety, more stress, and less sleep.
It’s like a rabbit hole, that once you get stuck in you can’t figure your way out. And it feels so lonely and so miserable since no one can help you even if they are trying to.
But with a systematic approach, any huge and complex problem can be broken down into smaller pieces that we can deal with.
Anxiety is one of the main reasons why you are awake at night, thinking about the future and worrying about upcoming events or being afraid of things that may not ever happen, all of this can decrease your sleep quantity and quality.
So here is how to deal with all of your bedtime anxiety and eliminate the feelings that are keeping you up at night.
When it comes to dealing with anxiety, in my opinion, you have 2 options :
- Avoiding what triggers anxiety within you
- Handling and settling down your anxiety
Each option of those has its pros and cons so it’s up to you to decide which option should you pick when facing anxiety.
Avoiding The Triggers
This approach is mainly about doing different kinds of activities that keep your brain busy. It makes your brain busy enough so it doesn’t drown in the negative cycle of anxious thoughts and feelings.
The activities that you engage in can be any kind of activity that completely consumes your focus, such as:
- practicing a hobby you love
- going to the gym
- doing any kind of exercises or sports
- doing yoga
- taking a warm bath
- listening to a relaxing music
- or you could even talk to a close friend.
These activities help to relieve the negative energy that starts to accumulate and that brings with it negative thoughts and feelings and lack of sleep! which you totally don’t want.
Or, you can make the harder choice …
Handling Your Anxiety
This is generally the harder choice, and in general, it’s not recommended for every situation you encounter. It’s the harder choice for because you’ll not always succeed in your attempt to handle anxiety, and things might actually become worse since you are anxious and frustrated.
That being said, this approach is preferred because it totally eliminates your anxiety allowing you to get rid of the elephant in the room, not just ignoring it. This is my preferred method but it indeed can burn you out if overused.
This method consists of two simple steps:
- Determining your anxiety source
- Strategically destroying it
Let us say you are anxious because you are having an exam tomorrow so you can’t sleep.
So step No.1 is determining your anxiety source which we have stated, it is your exam.
Step No.2 is understanding why are you anxious about your exam, haven’t you prepared well for the exam? if you didn’t, here you go the solution, go prepare the hell out of it until you are satisfied with your effort, but don’t forget to also sleep because sleep is crucial for performing well in exams.
Or are you fully prepared for the exam but still anxious? in this case, study no more, because studying is not your problem and doing more of it won’t solve your issue.
In this case, you have to dig deeper into the source of your anxiety, it may be the fear of exams, or any other reason, in this scenario you are going to have to understand what is your true source of anxiety and figure out how to resolve it.
That’s why it’s a harder method because it requires lots of customization because the problem is just specific to you.
If you feel like it’s an irresolvable anxiety and things can get worse, my recommendation for you is to go the first method and find out a way to relieve the negative energy that accumulated in the air.
This method is not a fast one, resolving your anxiety might take weeks or even months before it’s fully resolved. But once it is, then you have cleared out one more bump on your road and you are completely satisfied with your life.
A Quick Suggestion
If you want a quick advice that can help you handling your anxiety I would suggest investing in a weighted blanket. A weighted blanket is an implementation of Deep Pressure Therapy, which is targeted to solving anxiety and insomnia problems and it has other theraputical benefits.
Weighted blankets dilver you a feeling of being hugged or held, which promotes comfort, security and relaxation in your body. Once you sleep under a weighted blanket the production of stress hormones such as cortisol will decrease and the production of melatonin and seratonine, the sleep inducing hormones, will increase Which can increase the chances of you getting faster, deeper, and longer sleep.
Your anxiety source might slowly die on its own if you just follow the first approach for a consistent amount of time, and this is its advantage, you don’t have to deal with the monster, it will just leave or you can just ignore it and live peacefully.
Dealing with your anxiety is preferred to me, because it gives me a sense of control, that when things are going way overwhelming to me and the anxiety monster is making a loud noise, then I know That I can deal with it and destroy it if I work long enough to do so.
I think balancing between the two methods is the way to go because not all of the monsters deserve your energy, but the louder ones need to be beaten ’til they leave away.
That’s how you can reduce anxiety before bedtime.