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  • Finding Sleep When Anxiety Tries to Keep You Awake

    We know what sleepless nights are like. We toss and turn, hoping to find sleep. Instead, minutes pass, hours even, and we’re still wide awake. Or maybe we manage to fall asleep fairly quickly, but after a couple of hours, we wake up and can’t find sleep again. It eludes us.

    Why can’t we sleep? Because we get anxious. We start thinking about everything that happened to us, everything we did wrong. We start thinking about how those things will affect our future, how things will fall apart right in front of us, and we won’t be able to stop it. Sometimes, we might even think of improbable scenarios that seem very real in the dark. If you find it difficult to sleep because anxious thoughts keep you awake, here are some tips to help your sleepless nights turn into peaceful ones.

    Exercise Regularly

    Doing a little exercise in the morning or early afternoon can help you find sleep. Exercise not only tires you out but also helps you cope with your anxiety if you do it often enough. Between the tiredness and the diminishing of your anxiety, you might find it easier to sleep. All you need to remember is not to exercise right before bed. Exercise wakes you up, and if you do it too late at night, you might find it just as hard to sleep as if you hadn’t done any exercise at all.

    Avoid Naps

    When you don’t sleep well, taking naps throughout the day can be tempting to help you keep going. While in theory, that’s a great idea, in practice, it can make your sleep problems worse. If you keep your naps short, maybe up to one hour at most, and you avoid them after three in the afternoon, then you should be okay.

    But if you sleep too late in the afternoon, or if you sleep for three hours, you might find it difficult to fall asleep later that night. Your body will feel energized and can keep you awake for a few more hours, and anxiety will take over, keeping you awake and telling you why you should be worried about every aspect of your life.

    Keep the Bedroom Dark

    Teaching your brain to accept day and night as entirely separate occasions can help you fall asleep. If you keep your days bright and surround yourself with sunlight or bright lamps, you’ll teach your brain to know this is the time you should be awake instinctively. Of course, you’ll need to do the opposite at night. You’ll need to use soft lights and make your bedroom as dark as possible. If you can keep it relatively cool and quiet, it will be even better.

    Relaxation Techniques

    Meditation and breathing exercises can help you relax and keep anxiety at bay while trying to sleep. If you struggle with those, you might want to listen to calm music or background noises like rain. This doesn’t work for everybody, but it’s always worth trying.

    Don’t Force It

    Sometimes, doing the opposite of what you want is the key to getting it. In this case, if you can’t fall asleep after thirty minutes of trying, then you might as well get up and do something else. You might want to avoid electronics, as the brightness of the screens can keep you awake longer. Eventually, you’ll start feeling tired, and you can try sleeping again.

    Ask for Help

    Anxiety is a difficult thing to deal with on your own. If it’s also affecting your sleep, you might want to find professional help. And we’re here to help you. So, don’t be afraid to make an appointment. We can help you keep your anxiety at bay, especially at night, so you can get the sleep you need.  Call JoyFeel Therapy today!

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