We’ve all been there: you’re laying in bed at night waiting to fall asleep; the room is set up perfectly, just like you have it every night; the lights are out, the shades are drawn, and the fan is set to “low”; the kids are asleep, and the blankets are cozy. Everything is perfect, except for your racing mind.
Falling asleep can be difficult. I’ve always thought the act of falling asleep is such an odd one. At some point, we close our eyes, and our body hits some sort of perfection to where it goes into a new mode that allows us to “sleep”. What happens when we don’t get into this moment of “perfection” that allows us to fall asleep?
Five Tips to Calm Anxiety at Bedtime
Prepare the room appropriately.
If you are used to sleeping in the dark, make it dark. If the clock is ticking too loudly, get rid of it. If the temperature is too warm, kick off some blankets or turn down the heat. Make your environment comfortable to allow your body and mind to relax.
Do a calming activity prior to closing your eyes.
Many people use their phones right before trying to fall asleep, and we know this is not helpful. Put down your phone and engage in something soothing and uplifting. Identify what went well during the day, or mentally list a few things you are grateful for. Not only do these exercises help calm the mind, but they also help us to fall asleep feeling emotionally filled up.
Use a notebook to write down thoughts that crop up before bed.
For many people, thinking of tasks is what keeps them awake. This happens when we are laying down and all the sudden think of the appointment we forget to schedule, the email we forgot to respond to, or the bill we forgot to pay. If this is you, leave a notebook next to your bed to write down these thoughts when they occur, then lay back down. Getting these thoughts out of your mind often times will allow your brain to calm enough to fall asleep.
Use visualization to help slow your mind.
If you have been laying down for some time and know that falling asleep is going to be difficult, use a visualization. I know, you are probably thinking it sounds how ridiculous, but try it. A visualization that starts out quickly and then slows down works best. For example, picture your pet jumping over a fence quickly. After visualizing this for a few seconds, then slow it down. Slow your pet down so much, to where you can literally see the hair on your pets back slowly moving in the wind. You can also do this with tires on a car. Picture the tires going quickly, and eventually slow it down to a level where you can see the tread of the tires and the little tiny threads that stick up, moving in the wind. It typically won’t take long, before you find yourself in a sleepy slumber.
Speak to a medical provider or mental health therapist.
If falling asleep has become a consistent problem, it may be time to speak to a medical provider or mental health therapist. Difficulty sleeping can be very common for those struggling with anxiety or depression. Reach out to your provider so you can talk about what is going on.
We all know that lack of sleep can cause poor concentration, the need for liters of coffee the next day, low patience, mama yells, and much more. Hopefully, these five anxiety calming techniques can help you to decrease coffee consumption and yells and increase patience, concentration, and nightly zzz’s.