8 Sleep Tips for Worriers
Relax. Be happy. Get some sleep and leave the worrying for tomorrow. Here are some clever ways to stop anxiety and embrace restorative sleep.
Schedule Your Sleep Time
Opening your eyes at the same time every morning triggers a series of biochemicals that, as the day winds down, tell your body when it’s time to sleep.
Hide The Clocks
If you need a clock to wake you in the morning, just turn its face to the wall right before bed rather than having the clock staring at you all night. You’ll hear it just as well and you won’t have to wonder how many hours of sleep remain if you wake in the middle of the night.
Head For The Bath
A warm bath before bed will not only relax you, it will also adjust your body’s temperature to a point that signals your brain: “Hey, honey, it’s time for sleep.”
Act Like A Kid
Create a nurturing post-bath, pre-bed routine that’s intended to help you wind down. A little reading, a little soft music- whatever makes you feel nurtured and relaxed.
Have A Bedtime Snack
Milk contains sleep-inducing tryptophan, but you need carbs to get it into your brain, so have a cookie or crackers with it.
Put Worry on a Schedule
Schedule worry time on a regular basis, early in the evening – any time before 8:00 p.m. Sit down with a stack of 3 x 5 index cards and ask yourself, “What am I worried about?” Then write down one worry on each card. When you seem to have written down your last worry, go back to the first card, reflect on the worry it describes, and give yourself a reality check. Does the worry involve a problem that you can do something about? If not, rip up the card. If there is something you can do, write down possible actions and tuck the card into a worry box. You can give it more thought in the morning and decide what to do.
Nix The Nightcap
While alcohol might help you fall asleep, it actually shortens it because it causes arousal in your body while your system tries to metabolize it. A glass of wine with dinner is fine, but anything after that may impact your sleep.
Stop Those Thoughts
Once you get in bed, worry time is over. If you find yourself thinking about tomorrow and saying, ‘It’s going to be a bad day because I’m never going to sleep,’ immediately think: ‘STOP. Don’t go there. I know I’ve done this before. If I don’t fall asleep, I’ll get out of bed, flip through a magazine, but I am NOT going to focus on this stuff!’ Sounds simple, but once you try it, you’ll find it works!