Fall Asleep Fast-6 Tips For Sleeping With Anxiety

Fall asleep fast

Trouble Sleeping?

Does the ability to fall asleep fast sound more like a super power than reality to you?

Sleeping when you have anxiety may seem impossible at times.

This comes despite the fact that you may have felt tired all day long.  The mind has this shitty little habit of turning on as soon as the lights go off.

Have you ever just rolled on to your back and stared at the ceiling thinking, “well I guess I’m not sleeping tonight?”

or

Looked at the clock and realize you work in 5 hours and you still haven’t slept a wink?  Now that you know you work in 5 hours, it makes you even more stressed about not sleeping?

I’ve been there too many times to count.

In fact, I feel if I could actually fall asleep within 5 minutes, I would probably have at least a year of extra sleep by this point in my life.

All this restlessness has caused me to find a few helpful tricks that work a majority of the time.

 

 #1 Get up and stretch for 10 minutes.

Now maybe you’re thinking “but I don’t have 10 more minutes of sleep to lose I work in five hours!”

I promise you, if you are in that state of mind you will NOT be asleep in 10 minutes.  You have been up for hours already…

Stretching works to help you fall asleep fast for a few reasons:

  • Stretching will cause you to get out of bed and think about something besides sleep
  • Stretching reduces cortisol which is released when you are anxious.  Cortisol needs to be low to sleep
  • Stretching will leave your muscles nice and relaxed.  When you lay back down in bed you will likely be much more comfortable
  • Last but not least, stretching will cause you to focus on your breath which will slow your mind
How to Stretch

There are no rules when it comes to stretching, do what you find most effective.

For each stretch you want to go just a tiny bit past comfort.  Remember you are not warmed up so don’t hurt yourself.

Focus on your exhale and the release of tension on the muscle.

Some good stretches to start with: stretches-to-help-you-sleep

 

#2 Give in and stare at the ceiling.

This may sound counter productive but hear me out.

If you can’t beat em, join em right?  This is the hardest one to bring myself to do but it works great to help fall asleep fast.

Here’s how you do it.

Stare at the ceiling and just focus on your breathing.  Set a number of breaths you wish to count before you allow yourself to close your eyes.

Let’s say 10.  Now by breath 8 your eyes might feel heavy but don’t give in.

At 10 close your eyes. If after 5 minutes you haven’t fallen asleep try again BUT DOUBLE THE BREATHS.

I promise by breath 15-17 your eyes are going to be begging you to close them.

This trick is actually extremely effective if done repetitively.

I often end up counting as high as 60 but with persistence, it is probably the most effective trick on this list.

#3 Take a hot shower to fall asleep fast

A little more obvious and less practical but it really helps.  Muscles relax and it is a good place to leave your thoughts behind.

If you have kids or a spouse sleeping close by, maybe try it before bed if you don’t already.

Even better than a hot shower is a hot and cold shower.

Alternate every minute between as hot as you can handle and as cold as you can handle.  This will increase circulation.  It will also improve skin quality.

Most importantly it will leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed. You will feel so comfortable when you get in bed, that you will fall asleep fast without question.

 

#4 Propanolol

This is a medication so you must speak to a doctor before using it especially if you have a heart condition.  It should also be your last resort.

(I am not a doctor disclaimer)

This medication is especially useful if anxiety is keeping you awake.  It will calm your heart rate considerably and help put you in a relaxed state to fall asleep.

It is by no means a sleeping pill, but it makes you feel a lot less on edge which helps sleep greatly.

This is my secret weapon when all else fails or even if I am having trouble sleeping during the night.

I personally take 20mg as needed, usually 1x/week and notice no side effects  (that being said I am a healthy young male who does not smoke or drink regularly).

It is a beta blocker, which to the best of my knowledge slows the heart rate through signals in the brain.

This medication is a blessing for panic attacks too.  In fact I have not had one since I found this medication.

I like it because I can use it on an as needed basis, so it serves as a nice safety net.

#5 ABCs exercise

This is a breathing exercise and essentially it is used to calm your breathing and distract your mind.

Calm breaths + Quiet mind = Lowered cortisol = You sleeping like a log.

Here is how you can do the exercise:

  • get comfortable preferably laying on your back
  • as you exhale say A B C twice
  • repeat this 3 times with A B C
  • after 3 times remove the first letter and add the next letter in the alphabet
  • B C D, B C D x3 seperate breaths
  • Continue this while taking nice slow breaths on the exhale all the way through the alphabet

You may not even need to do the whole alphabet before you fall asleep!

#6  Cut out the coffee

Coffee is one of the biggest reasons people with anxiety have trouble sleeping.

It can stay in your system for over 8 hours!

It can mess with your cortisol for even longer if you have adrenal fatigue.  If your cortisol is elevated when you should be going to bed..

Good luck sleeping. http://fixmybrokenmind.com/anxiety-coffee/

 

 

I hope you found this list useful.  If you did I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

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About the Author

Sharing my past experiences battling anxiety, fatigue and depression in hopes that I can help you with your own personal struggles.

Leave a Reply 2 comments

KingKratom - 12/12/2016 Reply

hey Alex

the irony to me reading this post right now, is that i actually am very sleepy
(and i do NOT want to go to sleep right now)

that being said- normally when i am “anxious” and i am laying down telling myself i need to go to sleep… i have a few habits i do that could be defeated by some of your *TIPS*

I continually, involuntarily- flex my back muscles. This is one of the most annoying things I do. I do this pretty much anytime I’m anxious- but to a worse degree when i am tired and i am trying to sleep.

Your tip #1 (concerning stretching) will very likely help me to disarm this involuntary habit i have…
(by quite literally, loosening up)

I also bite my finger nails and/or pick on my skin when i am trying to sleep but cannot… #2 and #5 will likely give my mind a cause to actually FOCUS on something… and thereby- reduce anxiety so i can just happily go to sleep

I’m personally going to pass up on #4 because HOTT showers mess with my skin (personal experience).

I have no personal experience with Propanolol- so i cannot share any experience on this… i do not have that difficult of a time with sleeping so I’m not driven hard enough to desire medication for sleeping. Maybe someone else can share their experience with this? (might have to log it in my brain, just in case sleeping becomes more difficult in the future)

#6 gave me quite a laugh. Sort of like common sense. Aside from the fact that apparently coffee can affect our cortisol levels for longer than 8 hours!!! That’s pretty insane. Common sense would tell me that coffee stops affecting me after a few hours…. so that was educational for me.

Thankx Alex I’ll have to check out more of your thoughts here in the future. Your community is going to be centered around battling and beating anxiety/depression, and we all know that sleep is highly integral to having a strong, fueled mindset in which is attack life itself. We all know we need to get high quality sleep… however many of us don’t get it, and might not realize just how much it is putting us at a disadvantage in life.

Thanks again Alex. I must say I am not tired anymore. The irony 🙂

KingKratom

Regan - 13/12/2016 Reply

Hey KingKratom thanks for the response and welcome to the blog!

I definitely think stretching would help you. As for the medication I totally agree, and wouldn’t use it as anything beyond a last resort.

You are absolutely correct sleep is absolutely crucial, a tired mind is a troubled mind.

Look forward to seeing you back 🙂

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