Adulting really teaches you the importance of sleep, Amongst the other things I wasn’t prepared for. It also makes me appreciate our parents having such strict rules around getting an early night’s rest. I now find myself searching for that someone to tell me it’s time to wind down and go to bed, but being an adult means that someone is you.
We have to set those boundaries and self-care routines for ourselves. We know just how important sleep is for our health and wellbeing and yet we still find ourselves getting fewer hours than we should be getting. The lifestyle a lot of us live in the city, can feel extremely busy and the majority of the time we feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to match the hustle and bustle around us.
When we sacrifice sleep it makes it much harder to use our time effectively, concentration becomes difficult and we tend to spiral into other unhealthy habits in order to keep ourselves awake and functioning. In order to truly live our best lives sleep alongside other healthy habits have to become a priority. And even more so for those of us who have anxiety, because the two tend to go hand in hand.
“Which comes first, the anxiety or the disruption of sleep? Researchers have found that the relationship between sleep problems and anxiety is bidirectional. This means that sleep problems can cause anxiety, and anxiety can disrupt your sleep. And just like anxiety, sleep problems can impact how you function emotionally, mentally, and physically.” – PSYCOM : Anxiety and Sleep
The Link Between Anxiety & Sleep
The older I get and the more I play around with my sleep, the more noticeable my anxiety symptoms become. I have not got all of the answers, and I do not always stick to a routine however, I wanted to share a few of the things that have helped me get a better night’s sleep, whilst making it easier to manage my anxiety.
It’s not always easy to get the right amount of sleep or the right kind of rest for everyone and depending on your situations the quality of sleep you have may be affected by things outside of your control.
When you’re presented with stressful situations and difficulties your quality of sleep is probably the first thing to change and then that leads to other issues that again affect your sleep. There are things within our control that we can do to distress, relax and prepare for a good night’s rest.
Tips to Improve Sleep & Anxiety
Overthinking and an overactive mind can make it tricky to switch off in the evening. Sometimes we need to mentally and physically prepare ourselves for the evening. You can do this by changing/improving your room and incorporating healthy practices into your routine like:
- Moving your body and exercising.
- Limiting your screen time.
- Changing your environment.
- Reducing alcohol and caffeine intake.
- Relaxation exercises like meditation, yoga, breathing exercises etc.
I have found writing down a to-do list before bed and just having a good ole braindump helps.
Write a list of things you want to do for the next day, then write another list breaking it all down. Once you have done that write down your thoughts from the day, it doesn’t need to be in full sentences, nor does it have to make sense, it just needs to be a space for you to release all the things that are on your mind.
1st List – Tidy room, Meal prep for the week and reply to emails.
2nd List – Tidy room; start by sorting out your wardrobe, throw out any rubbish, clean tops and organise drawers etc. Meal prep; look at what you have in your cupboards that can be used up, make a list of meals and ingredients, shop for ingredients etc. Reply to emails; set aside an hour to read emails and take your time to respond to each email.
Breaking things down make tasks more manageable, it also gives you a reason to spend more time just organising your thoughts which works as a great distraction from the overthinking. Take your time doing this and preferably do this a few hours before bed, this gives you time to do anything else that might need doing before you jump into bed.
Not being comfortable can also cause you to have trouble sleeping, I have found that eating a few hours before bed allows for me to feel more comfortable in the evening. Noted this may not be something you can do all of the time.
Also having a warm relaxing bath and/or drink in the evening has helped me sleep with fewer anxiety symptoms. I’ve been drinking a lot of chai tea with honey lately and have found that it works wonders for my anxiety, also sleeping with a hot water bottle and having wax melts burning before I sleep has made me feel a lot more relaxed at night and helped me to drift off without the anxiety and overthinking keeping me awake.
Create the right space for you to get the best sleep you can. The right temperature, lighting, bedding and general ambience of the room can have an effect on your sleep. Keeping your space tidy, separate from work as well if you can and comforting with candles and essential oils can also help. What are some of the things you do to get you ready for bed?