Tips for Overcoming Insomnia and Anxiety
Hands up if you're suffering from insomnia and anxiety! (Well it's nothing to be proud of really but ya know, just tryna hype you up).
But you're here to find a solution to get rid of anxiety and insomnia.
To give you an idea of what insomnia is, it's a sleeping disorder where you have trouble sleeping. Like, if you ever get ready to go to bed but the reality is, you end up staying up for more than 3 hrs but stay up late all night, then you know you have insomnia.
Anxiety is when your mind creates a future fear that hasn't happened. This is created from experience from what you heard or see but hasn't happened to you.
Both insomnia and anxiety is unhealthy for your body and mind because you're not getting the right amount of sleep. The normal amount of sleep is between min 8.1 hrs (for teens and adults) and if you're sleeping less or more, you'll encounter long-term health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or strokes.
Well, I've suffered insomnia and anxiety nearly my whole life. I did have this sleep disorder way back between April & May and sometimes now during the holidays, I usually tend to stay up and play video games until 5am.
The thing is if you ever looked upon "how to stop insomnia", there are many different ways and steps to stopping insomnia. I did look it up and used some of these technics to stop insomnia and anxiety.
Now I'm here to share with you how you can overcome insomnia and anxiety. It all depends on what works for you.
So, grab your mug of coffee or tea and let's get right into it!
1. Fixing that Sleep Schedule
This might be the most important thing when it comes to fixing your sleep schedule. Try sleeping early and waking up early. The more you do this, the more you get into the cycle of not having to sleep whenever and wake up whenever.
It might be hard, I know! But you can do this! I would definitely try something that makes you fall asleep faster like reading a book, colouring in an adult's colouring book, watching a few YouTube videos or even sketching down ideas.
Depending on if you work or go to school, do sleep early at 9:30-10:30pm and waking up at 5 am-7am. The benefit of waking up at 5AM can improve your health, career and personal life.
“People who get up early often report feelings of positivity and achievement that continue throughout the day”.
~ Read More Here
You're more productive throughout the day rather than waking up later than 10 am.
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2. Don't Eat Before Bed
Don't even think about food! I did a post about my unhealthy eating in the past (it's not up anymore) and all I could say is, don't eat near your bedtime. Especially after 9 pm.
If you eat before bed, your digestive system will start digesting food (aka working), hence keeping you awake. Lying down while you're digesting food is actually not a good idea as you're supposed to be in an upright position to digest what you ate (oops). Be aware because this could lead you having digestive diseases!
This could also lead to unhealthy eating habits (like me) and weight gains. Based on dietitian Leslie Beck, it is recommended to eat large meals no later than 2-3 hours before bed.
So guys, make sure to not eat after those 2-3 hours when getting ready to go to bed. Oh yeah, same with coffee, it is recommended to drink coffee before 2 PM or you'll end up staying up late at night!
3. Use a Night Light (aka Screen Dimmer)
Hence why I mentioned "watch a few Youtube videos" in my 1st step, you can do that while using a night light. A night light or screen dimmer (but I'm gonna stick with saying night light) can be installed anyway on your devices.
For phones and tablets, you can download an app called "Twilight" free from the app store. With Twilight, I use the custom time setting to let it automatically set the nightlight based on the time and day that it is near my bedtime. For example, I set mine to 8:30 PM and it will automatically enable the night light when it strikes that time. When it comes to 5 AM, it will automatically turn it off so you can use your phone casually.
You can also customise the red light based on your preference and how bright you want the screen to be.
Update: Apple products, Samsung products and Windows tech all with latest updates have a Blue Light Filter installed within their systems.
To find out where you can use the blue light, you can check your settings and then go to "display".
Or your settings bar, you can find a blue light filter icon.
4. Write in a Journal
Sometimes, you may have trouble sleeping because you got all these thoughts in your mind that you can't get rid of. It could be from what you did today, the day yesterday or just thinking about the future in general.
That is why I suggest writing in a journal before bed so that you can place all those thoughts down onto a paper and refresh your mind for the next day. You don't have to write it down physically on paper and pen because there are plenty of free apps like notes or SimpleNotes where you can keep a journal on the go.
Have no clue what to write? Here are some suggested topic ideas to get your brain spot onto paper:
- A diary of what you did today
- What you are grateful for
- Something that is stuck in your mind
- A dream or goal
- An emotional reflection
5. Play soft music or sounds in the Background
Because I can't sleep in deep silence, I always have to use an app called Sleepo where I can simply just play any white noises (your choice) such as rain for 2 hours for me to fall asleep. And it really works if you want to find a quicker way to fall asleep.
Do you remember when you were sung a lullaby as a baby to make you fall asleep? This trick also works with anyone, young or old. It's a great relaxation technique for the body and mind but can also calm you down.
6. Balance the room temperature
I mean, you can't sleep when you're freezing cold or boiling hot (you gotta be crazy to do that!). The recommended room temperature should be between 18-22 Celsius (60-67 Fahrenheit) degrees to have a good night rest.
For me, when it's Winter, I always put my heater to a minimum 1-3 max (additional to 2 more blankets) and when it's Summer, I put my fan to 1. If it's really hot, then 2 at max. Any more and I'll end up complaining about how hot/cold it is.
Oh, but it really depends on your body temperature really. Don't be leaving one leg out and the other leg in to balance the temperature (is it weird how I use to do that?).
7. Comfortable Bed?
If you're having trouble sleeping or you're rolling around a lot, then it's probably because you have a bad mattress or you're pillow is flat (aka out of date aka expiry).
Yes, surprisingly, both these sleep items have an expiration date, which can be seen on one flat side of your pillow and for the mattress, it depends on your mattress really.
Usually, a good mattress lasts for 9-10 years (based on the National Sleep Foundation) or the norms, where mattresses last only 5-6 years.
Why do I know this? I had an old expired pillow once and I found it hard to stay comfy or fall asleep since it was flat. It was until I decided to buy two new pillows that changed my sleep schedule. I ended up falling asleep much quicker than before since it was all buff and soft. So if you're having issues, try checking out the expiration date.
8. Wear an eye mask
If you can't sleep with the lights on, try wearing an eye mask before you go to sleep.
I find it hard to sleep with the lights hitting my eyes so I would always have to wear an eye mask to help block that light and make me fall asleep faster.
The reason why you can't sleep with lights in your eyes is because of your melatonin (which manages your wake-sleep cycle). When light hits, you brain will alarm you to wake up. When it's dark, your brain will signal and prepare itself for sleep.
It is shown that when your brain senses darkness, it produces melatonin to help you sleep. If you're afraid of the dark, then maybe you can try wearing one depending on how bad your phobia is or take melatonin sleeping pills before bed.
So those are my tips for trying to overcome insomnia and anxiety. If you've tried out all these tips but still having problems sleeping, I suggest checking up with the doctors.
They may be able to prescribe you with pills if some of their non-treatments don't work. Have a lovely rest!
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