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?”
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.
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.
Share this with someone who could benefit!