Insomnia and Anxiety – How To Sleep Better:
Is anxiety driving your insomnia and keeping you awake at night? Or maybe you worry about the prospect of going to bed and all those hours you’ll be lying awake and wondering why? And could it be that when you try to go to sleep, or if you wake up in the early hours, all those thoughts swirl around your mind and you can’t shut them out?
Insomnia and anxiety are often closely linked and often become so interconnected that you can no longer tell which is leading to which.
Many people I help find that their insomnia creeps in first and before they know it they start to dread those hours of lying awake at night. Other clients find that their anxiety has spread into their nights and they lie awake with their mind still going in overdrive over all the worst case scenarios.
And of course, the more tired you feel from insomnia and anxiety, the harder it becomes to find the physical and mental energy to finally break that pattern.
If you are fed up of being stuck on the insomnia and anxiety treadmill then now is the time to start effectively addressing it. Rather than lying awake at night, dreading night time and feeling exhausted from insomnia, you can make changes that will start to send you in a new positive direction.
These are the sort of changes that Eloise put into place and you can watch her video about the results she enjoyed here: Eloise End Sleep Anxiety
Whether you think the main issue is your anxiety or your insomnia, you can start to take these actions to start improving both:
1. Cover The Bedtime Basics
Now I’m not going to spend too much time talking about the basics because changes are, if you are currently sleep deprived then you’ll have researched and read these things in every article about insomnia.
You know your bedroom should be dark, comfortable and a place for rest and relaxation. You know you should avoid caffeine after midday. You know that you need to avoid all screens from an hour before you plan to go to bed until when you are ready to get up and have a routine and gradual wind down.
If you aren’t doing these things (even though you know you should) then get right on it. They may not lead to a sudden sleep breakthrough yet at least you know they aren’t getting in the way and stopping your other actions from helping.
2. Sort Your Daytime Anxiety
If your daytime worry and anxiety is over-spilling into your night times and keeping you awake then you need to take action through the day to diffuse it.
Many people put all their effort into distracting themselves from anxiety in the daytime rather than diffusing it. You feel anxious and so you find something else to keep you busy and focused. Later on, in a quiet moment, more worry and anxiety fills your thoughts and you keep yourself busy again.
Then, in that quiet moment when you want to sleep, all those anxious thoughts and feelings come accelerating back, and there is nothing to distract you, so they build and build relentlessly. You find yourself lying awake in bed feeling anxious and you start to associate bed time with anxiety.
So take action in the daytime to ease that anxiety so it doesn’t come flooding back later.
Do the following:
a) Go for a 10-15 minute walk every day to give any stress and anxiety an outlet. Prioritise it and you’ll soon notice it cumulatively helping.
b) Do 7/11 breathing – regularly throughout the day, take time to breathe in for a count of 7 and out for 11. This will fire up your natural relaxation response and start to allow you to generally feel calmer and more in control.
c) Start challenging those thoughts – if you start thinking about what if something doesn’t go well then start also thinking about what if it does go right. If you are thinking of worst case scenarios, ask yourself what evidence there is for that? Is it just an opinion rather than a fact? What would be the best case scenario? What is the most realistic scenario? What would someone else say about it? Anxiety can lead to a narrow focus of unhelpful thought so dilute it by challenging it and considering other possibilities.
3) Programme Your Mind
Often when people struggle with anxiety and insomnia, any time they think about night time, or going to bed, they start to feel dread and imagine lying there wide awake again feeling anxious and frustrated.
Start shifting your thoughts to imagine sleeping better and better each night. Use 7/11 breathing and the audio below to feel nice and relaxed as you do this. Your mind will soon be primed to feel calm and relaxed about sleeping easier and easier.
4) Use This Audio
If you are one of those people who thinks you just can’t relax and switch off, or if you are completely fed up of lying in bed hour after hour feeling stressed and frustrated then get my free audio, which will really help you (get Creating Calm here).
You can use this in two ways. Firstly, during the day you can use it to learn how to relax easier and to imagine sleeping better each night. You can also use it as part of your sleep routine – as you plan to go to sleep, click play and close your eyes and start to learn how to feel relaxed ready for sleep.
5) Forget About Sleeping
So many people with insomnia try to jump from being wide awake to being fast asleep in a heartbeat. When that doesn’t happen you get frustrated, stressed and annoyed. So forget about sleep! Take away that self created pressure.
At night, just focus on relaxing. You can use the 7/11 breathing, my hypnosis audio, relaxing music or any other way you know of focusing on mentally and physically relaxing. Do this and let sleep be a by-product of feeling more and more relaxed.
These five actions will all push things in the right direction so that you sleep better and feel calmer. Yet if you need more tailored personal support to ease anxiety and end insomnia then get in touch and ask to book your complimentary strategy session. And pretty soon you could be really looking forward to bedtime.
To your success,
Anxiety Management Expert
Ely, Newmarket, Skype