If you’re reading this, then I suppose that you have a hard time sleeping at night. If yes, then this post is going to help you to know how to sleep better with anxiety.
I also share my own personal experience of how I finally solved my sleeping problems naturally as I slowly let go of my anxiety.
Only those who have been through it know what hellish feeling it is to not be able to sleep at night when all you desperately want is to sleep.
Your body is tired and craving for sleep, but you can’t. It is like going through hell every night. As the night keeps progressing, and you already hear the birds chirping, and you still haven’t slept a bit, your anxiety starts to increase more and more.
You turn around to change your sleeping position from left to right, then again from right to left, but nothing works. Your mind is too active, your mind is racing too much and you don’t know when your mind will be quiet to let you fall asleep.
I went through this torture of sleepless nights for more than a month and I wouldn’t wish it to my worst enemy.
This was the time when I was having great anxiety and had gone into a deep depression. I didn’t know then that it was depression. I didn’t even know what was causing it. I was just depressed, sad and weak.
But 5 years forward, I now sleep peacefully and easily. I go to bed by 10:30 pm and fall asleep in no time. I wake up at 5 am to do my morning rituals and my life is free from all sleeping problems which I previously had.
So how did I change my situation?
To answer you, I want you to first understand anxiety so that you can sleep better with anxiety.
In this entire post, I share all these things which have helped me sleep better with anxiety and eventually be free from it.
Understanding anxiety to sleep better at night
Table of Contents
Becoming free from anxiety wasn’t a one-time event. It took me a long continuous process, but it changed only when I decided I had to change and do something about it.
Slowly I realized the causes and now I know that anxiety always happens because of these four reasons :
- Because of our attachment to the ideal- of how we want to control everything, of how we want things to be instead of just letting it be in the present moment.
- Because we’re not in the present moment.
- Because of too much focus on the future, looking into this future with fear and believing they will be true.
- Engaging with this fear unknowingly by too much negative self talk and negative auto-suggestion. We then start doubting ourselves, our potential, which eventually leads us to stop loving ourselves.
I have already written an in-depth post on how to let go of anxiety and heal yourself, so I won’t go into the details here.
But as I became more clear about what was truly causing my anxiety and depression, I realized that I had to be kinder to myself.
I had to change my lifestyle, my state of mind, and all the negative auto-suggestions I was giving myself unknowingly which was making me miserable.
I had to go to the root cause of it. When I did this my sleep returned naturally and I was able to sleep better even with anxiety.
I never went to the doctor or had any kind of sleeping pills. My sleep problems got cured naturally as I took better care of myself and started focusing on eliminating toxic habits from my life. (10 toxic habits to quit immediately)
P.S But you should know that I am not against any kind of medication. I wish I had gone to the doctor at that time of my life. But I am also glad that I was able to cure myself naturally.
What I share here is from my personal experience and it should not be taken as an alternative to seeking medical help or direct medical advice from a doctor or clinician.
So this was my story. Below I mention all the things that helped me sleep better with anxiety and eventually be free from it.
How to sleep better with anxiety
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1. Don’t mind your mind
Thoughts are just thoughts and they don’t have any power until you start believing in them. Anxiety only creeps in when you start believing what your mind is telling you.
You can’t sleep at night, because your thoughts are too dominating and make you feel fear as if they are already true or will be true.
Earlier the reason why I couldn’t sleep at night was that, when heavy thoughts and anxious thoughts came pouring in, I kept rolling on with those thoughts. I kept going on and on wherever those thoughts would lead me.
And the biggest reason- I almost believed that all those thoughts were true. Believing they were true or were going to be true made me more and more fearful and anxious and left me sleepless.
The only known way to deal with it is to not go rolling on with your thought. Instead, just become the observer to those thoughts and fears. Watch your mind as if you are a visitor looking through the window.
Now I don’t mind my mind. I detached myself from my mind and I don’t take my mind as ‘me’ (like I did previously). Now I only believe the things which ‘I’ want to believe, not whatever my mind says.
Some nights when my mind thinks too much, I just don’t mind it now. I just accept the fact by saying, ‘today my mind is thinking too much but it is okay. I will just see what my mind is thinking about.
I simply notice it and become the observer. When I do this and keep noticing it without obsessing over it, I don’t even remember when I fall asleep.
So if you can’t sleep at night because your mind is causing you too much trouble, remember that you are not your mind and you really don’t have to believe all that you think.
Simply become the observer, release, and let go.
2. Be concerned with resting rather than sleeping
One reason why anxiety worsens during the right is that we worry whether we will have another sleepless night again.
Release this worry in the first place. I noticed that when I am too focused and concerned with whether I will be able to fall asleep or not, I used to have a hard time sleeping.
So I slowly started to be more concerned with giving my body a good rest. I just kept my eyes closed and told myself, I just want a good rest for my body, and stopped obsessing over the anxious thoughts as I became the observer.
This eased me as I didn’t pressure myself to go to sleep. The result? I could actually go to sleep.
3. Come back to the present moment
Anxiety only happens when your thoughts and more so, your fears about the future dominate the present. Maybe you are stressing about what might happen at work tomorrow or what will happen to your future.
This is usually greater at night when you are trying to go to sleep because all the thoughts you had tried to neglect during the day and tried to distract from appearing during the day, come back haunting to you during the night.
But whenever anxiety comes, see it as an opportunity to become mindful and to come back to the present moment.
When thoughts of the future come and cause you to be anxious, detach from it and instantly return to the present moment- to your breath, to what you’re doing, to what you’re feeling, to what you’re touching, to what you’re seeing and observe the present moment.
In this present moment, absolutely everything is alright. Just be in the now. Ask yourself, ‘Is there anything wrong in this moment?’ You will always find the answer, ‘no’.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in this space of ‘Now’. Just focus on the now.
There is nothing to harm you. There is no one who can. You are protected in this present moment.
4. Move your body in the day to keep your anxiety at bay
If you have anxiety or depression I know how it sucks the entire energy out of you. You’re not even lazy, you just don’t have the strength to get up and do things.
When I was suffering, it was great suffering for one whole month. I couldn’t sleep at night and this left me with no energy the next day. I even lost all my appetite as I was consumed with anxious thoughts.
My knees felt weak as if I couldn’t walk. I stayed in bed all day. At that time I didn’t know what was wrong. I went to a regular doctor but said I didn’t have any illness. Then I knew it was an illness of the mind.
This went on for a long time until I decided I couldn’t be like this forever. I didn’t want to always feel weak. So I decided to start working out again. I pushed myself to work out. It was hard, but I did it.
Slowly it helped ease my anxiety and sleep better. As my body started to feel strong, my mind also started to feel strong.
Exercising and moving my body helped me a lot and slowly my sleep returned and I started to sleep better.
So I just want to say that you have to push yourself and you have to win your own self. Don’t resign and accept your weakness. If you don’t do anything about it, nothing will change.
You have a vast amount of energy you don’t even realize, but you will once you get started and move your body. You have to move your body. There is no other more curable remedy.
5. Avoid letting in too much information to sleep better at night
One reason why we can’t sleep at night is that we let in too much information all through the day.
From the moment we wake up, most of us are all busy with our phones checking social media and there is not a moment of rest for our minds.
In such a case the only time our mind gets rest is when we try to sleep at night, but because of too much functioning through the day, our minds still remain in the same active mode in which it was all through the day.
Also, all the information that we are allowed to enter our minds starts playing in our heads in that space of rest, and sadly, there is no switch you can turn off.
So if you have anxiety and want to sleep better at night avoid letting in too much information and also be aware of what kind of information you allow to enter your mind.
Don’t check your phone too much. Log out from social media. Do more things offline. Here are some things to do instead of checking your phone.
6. Keep your room and bed tidy
Our surroundings, especially the ones where we spend the most time in and sleep have a great impact on our mental wellbeing.
If your room is messy and your bed is untidy, it immediately has a draining impact on your mind. I now always keep my room and bed neat and tidy. This immediately calms my mind.
Changing bedsheets often and staying in a clean surrounding is essential for good mental health and sound sleep. It really helps to sleep better with anxiety. Try for yourself if this is what you need.
7. Don’t use phone 1 hour before sleeping
Do you go to bed scrolling your phone? If yes. Stop immediately if you want to have a better sleep.
Set a time where you put a restriction till when you want to use your phone. Then leave your phone and keep a nighttime ritual.
The main thing of importance is to keep your mind relaxed and your headspace light before going to sleep.
This has personally helped me sleep easily. I have noticed that whenever I keep my mind too busy with information and distractions just before I go to sleep, I have a hard time sleeping.
Whereas on other days when I simply unwind and let myself do other things, I fall asleep much faster. Here are some things that keep headspace light:
- taking a warm water bath before going to bed
- Setting a timer and reading a good book for 20 minutes
- Writing your journal ( journal prompts for 21 days of self discovery )
- Drawing in colouring books
8. Focus on your breath/ soothing music
You can’t sleep at night because your mind is too active.
When your thoughts start running loose and your mind is racing to cause you to be more and more anxious, go back to focusing on your breath or open soothing music and just focus on the tune.
Try focusing on your breath and thinking at the same time. Try it. You can’t. You can’t do both things at the same time.
Keep going back to your breath, again and again, no matter how many times you fail. Don’t be disheartened. Your breath is there with you all the time and will act as an anchor to your mind.
Or simply give all your attention to the tune of the music and be present. Don’t be concerned with your thoughts. Just let them just be and as I said, don’t mind your mind.
9. Let your body have sufficient natural light through the day
In this digital and modern world, we tend to forget that we are actually human beings, that we are actually natural beings.
Cities are worse. Some people live in apartments that have no openings for natural light to enter their rooms and they have to have their lights on 24/7.
Please don’t forget your true essence. Every being on this earth understands its true nature except us.
I see my dog Bella, she makes sure she gets a sufficient amount of vitamin D. She loves the sun and sunbathes even on hot summer days.
Dogs and every other animal naturally do that, because they know how essential being out in the sun, staying close to nature, and soaking in natural light is. That is why I think dogs and animals are actually so happy.
So make sure that your body gets sufficient natural light in the day if you want to sleep better at night.
Turn off your lights and open your doors and window. Go out for a morning walk. Let the sunshine touch your face and feel your body and when the sunbeams reach you, don’t forget to be grateful.
10. Pray for strength and good night’s sleep
Prayers are simply our deepest wishes and our earnest resolve, but when we pray we communicate with nature’s intelligence or whomsoever you may call by name.
Whenever I fear that I might not have a good sleep, I pray. I pray for strength to overcome my fear and I pray that if suppose I really can’t sleep easily at night, I pray that I may not make a big deal out of it, but simply accept it so that next night, I don’t repeat the same fear cycle again.
Keep at least 5-10 minutes for praying before you go to bed. Pray for strength to not worry, pray for your heart, pray to release and let go, pray to be thankful, and pray for a good night’s sleep.
Prayers truly work if you pray from your heart and earnest resolve.
11.Be kind to yourself
We are actually anxious and depressed because we are too unkind to ourselves. Our mind tells us all these things which we tend to believe and then we start to have a poor conversation and self-talk with ourselves.
If you want to sleep better at night with anxiety, don’t punish yourself and your mind. Instead, do things that I have mentioned and they will all help ease you.
When you can’t sleep at night, it’s probably because you are putting yourself in a negative or low light or you are putting some future situation in low light.
The only remedy for this is to be aware of your relationship with yourself and be kind to yourself. Be aware of how you treat and talk to yourself.
Be the kindest to yourself. It is the beginning of kindness to everyone else.
Once you learn to be kind to yourself, your mind and your heart will cooperate soon after and you will have a good night’s sleep.
Wish you a good night’s rest and sound sleep.
- P.S How to practice self care on tough days
- How I became a morning person
- 3 little tricks to build self discipline
- How to practice self love when hurt
- 20 ways I simplified my life
- 27 years of my life so far
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