Everyone has those nights where they just can’t fall asleep. Sometimes getting to sleep isn’t the problem, but staying asleep is.
I can’t tell what’s more frustrating: lying in bed wanting to fall asleep but being held back by your racing mind, or suddenly waking up during a restful sleep full of anxiety.
When worries keep you from sleep – whether from falling or staying asleep – it can be a slippery slope. One night of lost sleep can lead to all kinds of problems, including more to get stressed and anxious about.
What should you do?
If your mind goes into hyperdrive when it’s nestled into a pillow, remember one thing: it’s typically going to be about things you can’t solve at the moment.
All the little problems you didn’t have time to think about during the day will creep to the front of your conscious, and the time to deal with them has already passed or will occur well into the future.
Aside from practicing good sleep hygiene, getting some exercise during the day, leaving your phone alone, and making your bedroom a relaxing place, you can try the following:
- Eating a bowl of cherries a couple of hours before bed to help boost melatonin.
- Drink a mug of chamomile tea. It might reduce anxiety and help you relax.
- Try eating a Brazil nut or two. They can help with thyroid function, which might help with better sleep.
If you find yourself awake in the middle of the night, some strategies that might help include:
- Journaling. Jotting down your worries may help you detach from them and offer some comfort.
- Soothing music. Turning on some slow, relaxing music may help slow your breathing and reduce your heart rate and blood pressure by calming your autonomic nervous system.
- Get up. Getting out of bed to go sit quietly somewhere else can also help you fall back asleep. Just make sure to keep the screens off. If needed, turn on a dull light and knit or do something else that isn’t stimulating.