Is Anxiety Keeping You Up at Night?

Is Anxiety Keeping You Up at Night?

For people who struggle with anxiety, invasive thoughts and worries can leave them struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep. Even when they’re exhausted, it seems like the second their head hits the pillow, their mind starts to race thinking about things that went wrong that day or something that may go wrong tomorrow. Once they manage to quiet their anxious thinking, they catch a glimpse at the clock and realize they only have three hours left to sleep. Their anxiety shifts from worries about what may be on the agenda tomorrow to whether or not they’ll be able to get to sleep, and even if they do fall asleep, is there any point since they don’t have enough time to get a full night’s rest? It’s easy to see why anxiety and insomnia often go hand in hand, so if your anxiety is keeping you up at night, you are most definitely not alone. Some better news, the Lansing Counseling team has tips and strategies to help you combat insomnia and get better quality sleep. You can read more about it in our blog, and you can also schedule therapy for anxiety to help you manage symptoms like insomnia.

Tips for Beating Anxiety & Sleeping Better

If you’re struggling with anxiety-induced insomnia, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Be consistent – by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, you’ll train your brain and body to associate the time you’re in bed with sleep, making it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep each night.
  • Decrease or stop napping – napping during the day can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep at night. If you’re struggling with insomnia, you may need a short nap to keep going. Just keep your naps under an hour, and preferably, only nap for about 30 minutes.
  • Minimize caffeine consumption – caffeine is a stimulant, and it can stay in your system for eight hours or longer, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Exercise – don’t work out too close to bedtime, but make sure you’re getting plenty of exercise during the day. This helps to release excess energy from the body, leaving you feeling tired before you turn in for the night.
  • Review your nighttime routine – drinking alcohol, eating big meals, or even drinking a lot of water within an hour or two of bedtime can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. You should also consider environmental stimuli that may be making it harder for you to fall asleep. TVs, smartphones, and other devices can create too much stimulus for your brain, leaving you struggling to fall asleep.
  • Relax – before bed, take a bath, read a book, do some deep breathing exercises, or otherwise engage in activities that are calm, quiet, and relaxing. Gradually reducing the amount of stimulation in your environment before going to bed can be a very effective way to allow your body to slowly fade into sleep.
  • Keep your bedroom for sleep – watching TV, working on your computer, or spending an excessive amount of time in bed outside of sleep can make it harder for you to fall asleep once you get into bed.
  • Turn your clock around – if you find yourself repeatedly checking the time on your alarm clock or cellphone, make sure you can’t see the time while you’re sleeping. Worrying about the constantly decreasing amount of time left to sleep can actually trigger anxiety and make it more difficult for people with insomnia to get to sleep.
  • Focus on sensations – if you can’t seem to turn your brain off, focus on physical sensations instead of thoughts. Concentrate on what you’re experiencing with your four senses (keep your eyes closed and skip sight). What do you hear around you? What do you smell? Is the taste of toothpaste lingering in your mouth? What do you feel? Finally, starting at your toes and working up, begin to gently tense muscle groups, hold the tension, then release. This can help keep you focused on your physical body instead of your thinking.
  • Do some deep breathing – take a deep breath in, hold it, then slowly release the breath. Concentrate on just your breathing. If it helps, you can count to five as you inhale, seven as you hold, and nine as you exhale.

Work with a Therapist to Combat Insomnia & Other Effects of Anxiety

If you want to learn more about how to manage anxiety symptoms like insomnia, the therapists at Lansing Counseling are here for you. Reach out to our team when you’re ready to schedule a session. We look forward to hearing from you.

Contact Lansing Counseling today to Schedule a Counseling Session

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Lansing Counseling

Lansing Counseling

5030 Northwind Dr Suite 101
East Lansing, MI 48823

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