Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by theworldofsleepstaff
We all know that sleep is essential for our health and well-being, but sometimes it’s hard to get those restful hours in when you’re feeling anxious. Whether you struggle to get some rest or remain asleep, anxiety can keep you up at night and make the next day feel like a struggle.
What’s more, anxiety doesn’t just affect your sleep. Your daily life may be affected, as well as your relationships with others and your mental health. That’s why it’s vital to find ways to manage your anxiety to get the rest you need to feel healthy and happy throughout each day.
Whether you’ve always been sleepless due to anxiety attacks or want to learn how to get sleep fast, we’ve put together a list of ways to improve your sleep habits and manage your anxiety so that your mornings are less stressful and more productive.
40+ Tips To Get Rest When Anxiety Is Keeping You Up
1. Take Several Slow, Deep Breaths
One of the best techniques to calm yourself down and get to sleep when feeling anxious is taking several slow, deep breaths. It can help you relax, reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, and put your mind in a more relaxed state.
To do this, inhale for 4 seconds through your nose, hold it for 2, and then exhale for 6 seconds through your mouth. Repeat this exercise 10 times or for just five minutes every night before bedtime.
2. Practice The “File It” Mind Exercise
One step to getting good sleep when you have anxiety is to practice the “File It” mind exercise. This activity helps you train your brain to think about the things causing you stress and then file them away in a mental folder, closed and out of sight.
It’s a simple technique that helps you focus on one thing at a time and lets you practice staying in the moment. It also helps you get better sleep with anxiety by helping you quiet your mind before bedtime.
3. Schedule A “Worry Time.”
Set aside time each week or even every day where you let yourself worry about whatever’s stressing you out at that moment. We call this “Worry Time” technique.
Worry time is an opportunity to take a moment and think about what’s going on in your life. You can use this time to reflect on the things causing you anxiety so that your mind is more relaxed when you go to bed at night. Just be sure that this “worry time” is not right before bed.
When you don’t get adequate sleep, it can worsen anxiety, making it even harder to sleep. So meditation can be an effective method to help alleviate that vicious cycle and get some restful sleep.
Meditating is a way of focusing your attention, and that focus can have a calming effect on the body. When you’re calm, you’re more likely to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
5. Take A Bubble Bath Before Bed
Taking a hot bubble bath before bed is one of the best ways to help you fall asleep. While this can seem like a strange remedy for anxiety, it works in several ways and helps prepare your body for rest.
When stressed or anxious, our bodies release cortisol, an adrenal hormone that tells us to stay alert. By lowering cortisol levels with a warm bath before bedtime, we signal our bodies that it’s time to go into “rest” mode, which means we’ll sleep better.
6. Light A Scented Candle
Scented candles are a great way to relax and reduce anxiety levels, and they can help you get better sleep. The scent can help put you in a relaxed and peaceful state of mind, which will help you sleep better. Scented candles have been shown to create positive moods that make it easier for people to fall asleep more quickly.
Scents like lavender, lemon, verbena, and chamomile all have calming effects on our brains. These help lower stress levels and increase feelings of relaxation, essential for getting good quality sleep at night, no matter what time zone or climate zone we may be living in today.
Just make sure you put out the candle before falling asleep.
7. Pet Your Dog Or Cat
If anxiety doesn’t let you sleep, consider petting your dog or cat before bedtime. It’s been shown to increase calmness and reduce stress levels, and it could even help you get a better night’s sleep.
When we cuddle our pets that releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller, into our system, which reduces anxiety by making us feel happier and more relaxed.
Petting also increases oxytocin levels, the bonding hormone that helps us feel connected to others, which reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation. It makes us more likely to sleep soundly without waking up during the night because we’re worried about things going on in our lives.
8. Read A Good Book
Reading helps you relax, and it’s easier to fall asleep when you’re relaxed. Along with assisting you to unwind and sleep, reading can also help you stay asleep throughout the night.
When we read something interesting, our brains become engaged and distracted from our worries, which helps us feel more at ease. And when we feel more comfortable, we become less anxious, making it easier to fall asleep.
9. Limit Your Screen Exposure
Limit your screen exposure because our phones, tablets, computers, and TVs emit blue light that can disrupt our brain’s natural circadian rhythm. If you’re using these devices before bed, it could cause you to wake up earlier than usual and feel groggy when you wake up in the morning.
Try setting a timer for yourself so that you only spend 20 minutes on each device before switching it off or putting it away. It will help ensure that your body gets enough time to wind down for sleep without overexposing to blue light.
10. Set A Regular Time For Bedtime Each Night
The best way to get a good night’s sleep is to go to bed simultaneously every night, even if you don’t feel tired. It may seem counterintuitive, but your body likes routine. Your body needs consistency to function correctly.
If you keep your sleep schedule consistent, your body may modify your circadian rhythm so that it knows when to wake up and be aware and when to prepare for sleep.
11. Keep Your Wake Time Consistent
Set a consistent wake time every day, even on weekends and holidays. It can be challenging if your job has no schedule, but it’s worth it. You’ll feel better in the long run if you stick to a regular wake time regardless of what is happening in your life.
If possible, try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Even if you don’t manage to fall asleep right away, by making an effort to go to bed and wake up at the exact times each day, your body will start getting used to going through its natural circadian rhythm.
12. Create A To-Do List For Tomorrow
When you’re anxious, it can feel like a million things you need to do, some of which might seem impossible. That’s when it’s helpful to make a to-do list for tomorrow that focuses on the little actions you can do to improve your mood.
Write down everything you need to do tomorrow on a piece of paper, and then lay it somewhere visible where you can see it when you’re trying to fall asleep. That way, your brain has something else to focus on besides your anxiety.
13. Find The Sun
The sun is a great way to get good sleep with anxiety. It works with the body’s internal clock, which controls sleep quality and energy levels. The sun helps the body stay in sync with its circadian rhythm by increasing melatonin levels and making you feel sleepy.
If you have insomnia or any sleep problem, getting enough exposure to sunlight can help boost your sleep quality. Exposing yourself more often to daylight can also help reduce symptoms of depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and anxiety.
14. Use Sound Machines or Ear Plugs
Sound machines and ear plugs are an easy way to drown out the noises in your environment while you sleep and also help decrease anxiety.
By drowning out noise, sound machines and ear plugs allow your brain to focus on breathing and heartbeat, which can help alleviate some anxiety symptoms.
15. Drink A Cup Of Tea
Tea has long been known to have calming effects, which are especially beneficial for people who struggle with anxiety or sleep problems.
Drinking tea before bed – such as ginger tea – can help you get better sleep and lower your anxiety levels by reducing nervous system arousal. It will relax your mind and body after a long day, enabling you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep all night.
16. Have A Good Body Pillow
Body pillows are specially designed to provide comfort and support during those restless nights when anxiety keeps you from getting the rest you need.
They can help keep your spine aligned so that your muscles don’t tense up throughout the night, which can cause pain in the morning.
17. Listen To Audio Books
Audiobooks can help you relax, which will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer because they distract you from those anxious thoughts that keep you up at night.
Listening to an audiobook focuses your brain on the story than what might be going wrong in your life. It gives you a chance to let go of those worries. Audio books help you fall asleep faster by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, two things that can keep you awake at night if they’re too high.
18. Use Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets are an excellent option for people who suffer from anxiety. A weighted blanket is a blanket filled with pellets or beads to give it weight.
The idea behind weighted blankets is similar to swaddling an infant. They are meant to mimic the feeling of being hugged by someone who loves you even if no one is embracing them. When under a heavy blanket that gives off pressure points in all the right places, it helps regulate your body temperature and blood flow, making you feel relaxed and ready for sleep.
19. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils have been used for centuries as natural remedies for stress, anxiety, and depression. Essential oils are made from plants and have many benefits, including aromatherapy.
They work by helping to balance your endocrine system and relieve stress on the body. It can help calm your mind and body so that it’s easier for you to fall asleep at night.
20. Make Your Bedroom Cooler Than Normal Temperatures
The best temperature for sleeping is between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit because this is cooler than any other time during the day or night when we are awake. Keeping your bedroom cooler than normal temperatures during the day and night will help calm down any anxious feelings about being hot or sweaty while trying to fall asleep in an overheated room.
When you’re sleeping, and your body temperature drops, it triggers a hormone called prolactin, which helps people sleep. Cooler temperatures also make your breathing slower, which can help put you in a deeper sleep.
21. Change Your Bedroom Lighting
The best way to improve the quality of your sleep is by changing the lighting in your bedroom. The lighting should be warm, cosy, and dim enough for you to feel relaxed.
A bright white light will cause fatigue and make it harder for you to fall asleep. Instead, choose lamps with yellow or orange bulbs that produce more melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep.
22. Listen To Soft Music
Soft music can reduce stress, lower heart rate, and blood pressure, increase endorphins, decrease cortisol levels or the stress hormone, and even improve memory.
So if you’re having trouble falling asleep because of anxiety or other reasons, consider playing soft music at night to help calm your mind. You’ll feel more relaxed after your session and hopefully have an easier time falling asleep.
23. Use An Eye Mask
An eye mask is a simple yet effective way to get better sleep for people with anxiety. It can help you relax and fall asleep faster, leading to more restful sleep.
An eye mask blocks light from reaching your eyes and makes it easier for you to fall asleep. They’re handy if you have trouble falling asleep because the sun is coming in through your window or if you live in an area with many streetlights.
24. Don’t Take Long Naps During The Day
Naps are a great way to gain your energy back, but when it comes to anxiety, they can make things worse. That’s because napping during the day can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
When you take a nap, your body releases more melatonin, which helps keep you awake at night. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, try skipping out on those long afternoon naps.
25. Exercise Regularly
If you suffer from anxiety and are having trouble sleeping at night, try adding exercise to your daily routine. Make sure not to work out too close to bedtime, though, because training can affect your ability to fall asleep if done too closely.
Exercise boosts serotonin levels in your brain, which helps you feel calm and relaxed. It also increases melatonin levels, a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. It can also help you manage your symptoms without medication. Exercise can help reduce stress and improve self-esteem, essential factors in managing anxiety.
26. Don’t Watch Scary Movies Late At Night Or Ever
If you have anxiety, you probably know that watching scary movies can be a big no-no. The more you watch and enjoy scary movies, the more likely you’ll think about them when trying to fall asleep. And this can lead to some serious sleep issues, which will only worsen your anxiety.
If you like thrillers or horror, watch them during the day. That way, they won’t interfere with your sleep cycle at night. Just make sure you don’t watch them too close to bedtime. You want to give yourself plenty of time before bed so that any adrenaline from the movie has worn off.
27. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can make your body tenser and make it harder for your muscles to relax while resting. If possible, drink at least eight glasses of water per day, more if it’s hot outside.
Being well-hydrated helps with both parts of this vicious cycle, keeping your body healthy and giving your mind a break from its worries. Drinking two cups of water before bed can help improve sleep quality. It is beneficial when symptoms are particularly severe or frequent, like when you’re going through a particularly stressful period in your life or during a manic episode.
28. Don’t Drink Alcohol
If you suffer from anxiety, it’s tempting to try to medicate your symptoms with alcohol is tempting. After all, alcohol is a depressant. It slows down your body and mind, which can help you relax. But drinking to calm yourself down isn’t the best way to handle your anxiety.
While alcohol might make you feel more relaxed at the moment, it doesn’t address the underlying causes of your anxiety. Alcohol may make your symptoms worse. Alcohol can increase feelings of panic, leading to dissociation or flashbacks. It can also cause insomnia and nightmares that can exacerbate anxiety in the long run.
Recommended: How Alcohol & Snoring Are Linked
29. Write In A Journal
Simply writing about your worries can be helpful because it gives your brain a chance to process them and come up with solutions. It also gives you an outlet for your feelings and helps you realise that they’re not just things happening to you. They’re part of who you are.
Writing down what’s on your mind before bed will help put those thoughts aside so that when it comes time to sleep, they won’t be in the forefront of your mind. You’ll have time to deal with them tomorrow, after all.
30. Follow A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is the best way to improve sleep for people with anxiety. Diet plays a significant role in how well you sleep. Overeating food or not eating enough food can lead to sleeplessness.
Overeating food can cause indigestion, interfering with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. In addition, if you eat too little food throughout the day, your body will likely go into starvation mode at night, which means it won’t produce enough melatonin when needed.
Recommended: Foods To Avoid With Insomnia
31. Consider Taking Some Supplements
Try taking some supplements to help promote better sleep. There are many different kinds available. Some are made from natural ingredients, while others contain chemicals or drugs. Most contain melatonin, which helps regulate your circadian rhythm and promote relaxation.
It’s best to choose ones that contain only natural ingredients if possible because they won’t have side effects like other types.
32. Do Yoga and Stretching Before Going To Bed
Yoga and stretching before bed are excellent ways to improve the quality of your sleep. The benefits are many, including reduced stress levels and improved circulation.
One way that yoga and stretching help with anxiety are by reducing cortisol production. By releasing this hormone earlier in the day, you’ll have more energy and be less likely to feel anxious at night. Another way yoga and stretching help with anxiety are through improved blood flow in your brain. It helps you get the restful sleep necessary for a healthy mind-body connection and a reduction in anxiety symptoms overall.
33. Try Acupressure For Sleep
Acupressure for sleep is a beautiful way to get the rest you need, especially when you have anxiety. The pressure from the acupressure points will help calm your body and mind and help you to reduce stress and all its effects on your body.
It’s a great thing to do before going to bed, but also if you wake up in the middle of the night. Even though it doesn’t require much effort, acupressure is still an effective way to improve sleep quality.
34. Practice A Hobby
Hobbies can help you relax, make you feel less alone, and give you something constructive to focus on when it feels like your anxiety is taking over. Hobbies can be an excellent way to connect with others by sharing a common interest or experience. It can be beneficial if socialising is difficult due to anxiety symptoms like feeling shy or awkward around others.
Choose something you regularly enjoy, like playing the piano or gardening. It should be something that doesn’t require too much brain power, so you don’t zone out. Find something that brings joy into your life and the lives of those around you.
35. Welcome Humor
If you have anxiety and find yourself tossing and turning at night, watch a funny video on YouTube or read a joke book. While you might think laughing won’t help your anxiety, it can improve your sleep quality.
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins in your body, which give you a feeling of joy and well-being. So even if you’re not laughing about what’s happening, you might laugh at the clowns in your favourite movie, but your body will still benefit from the positive feelings you get from watching something funny.
36. Spend Time With Friends And Family
One way to improve your sleep is by spending time with friends and family. Spending time around those who love you and care about you will help calm your mind, which in turn will help you relax and fall asleep more easily.
People with anxiety often feel very isolated, but don’t let that be the case. Make time for friends and family so that you can feel connected, which will help decrease anxiety and make it easier to sleep. You can even try a new hobby or activity to meet new people and make new friends, which will help decrease your anxiety levels.
37. Stay Away From Social Media
If you have anxiety, avoiding social media can help you manage your symptoms better and improve your sleep quality. Social media can be a great way to connect with friends, family, and even new people. But it can also be a source of stress and anxiety.
Social media can make you feel like everyone else’s life is better than yours, especially if you spend too much time comparing yourself to others. It can also cause isolation when it seems like everyone else is having fun without you. At the same time, you’re cooped up at home, avoiding human contact altogether or maybe just avoiding people who might trigger your anxiety.
38. Spend Time In Nature
Research has shown that spending time in nature can reduce stress levels, increase energy, and improve mood. These are all things that can help us get better sleep.
If you’re looking for an easy way to improve your sleep quality, try going outside for an hour or so every day, even sitting in your garden or walking around the block.
39. Get Organized
Getting organised is one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety in your life. Getting better sleep is essential to managing anxiety, so better sleep comes with better organisation.
You can find things quickly when you’re organised, so you don’t waste time looking for them or worrying that they’ll get lost. You also don’t have to worry about forgetting things, which can cause more anxiety than just overlooking something. And when you know where things are, your mind can relax a bit because it doesn’t have to worry about where things should be. It knows that they’re there.
40. Seek Help From A Mental Health Professional
You can do many things to help yourself get better sleep, but sometimes it just doesn’t work as well as you’d like it to, especially if you have anxiety going on for years. When that happens, there’s another option, seeking help from a mental health professional, which is one of the most effective ways to improve your quality of rest.
A mental health professional is someone who specialises in helping people who have issues with anxiety and sleep problems. The therapist will work with you to develop and implement a personalised plan to address your sleep issues. They’ll also help figure out what causes them in the first place so that you can put an end to them once and for all.