How to Fall Asleep When You’re Anxious

I’ve been struggling with sleep anxiety for a few years. Thankfully it doesn’t effect me every night, but in light of the current situation it has been more frequent than usual. I’m sure it is the same for a lot of you. And some of you might even be experiencing it for the first time.

Sleep anxiety is surprisingly common and completely understandable, especially given the current climate.

There are a few tricks I use to help reduce my anxiety before going to bed, and to help tackle sleep anxiety if it arises.

Before Bed

  • Create a nighttime routine. Your brain will begin to associate this with feeling tired, and falling asleep, and it should help you to switch off.
  • If you’re already feeling anxious, have a bath before bed. It will help your mind and body relax.
  • Drink a sleepy tea. My favourite is Tesco’s Wind Down Infusion, but I also like Pukka’s Night Time tea, or any chamomile tea.
  • Try to limit your screentime. Staying off your phone for an hour before bed is ideal.
  • If possible, keep your bedroom as a sleeping room only. Although it’s especially difficult at the moment, avoiding working in your bedroom will help your brain associate the room with sleep and relaxation.

In Bed

  • Use a sleep spray or mist. They are normally scented with lavender or chamomile and are wonderful at helping you switch off. This Works Pillow Spray is highly recommended but there are many budget options available too.
  • Use CBD. CBD is incredible at reducing anxiety and comes in many forms. At night Sam and I both love using Balance Me’s CBD Roller Ball, we swipe it over each wrist and it makes a huge difference in how quickly we fall asleep as well as our quality of sleep. It’s scented like a sleep mist too!
  • Use the Headspace app. This app has been invaluable to me, it’s helped to massively reduce my anxiety not just around sleeping but also around flying and even pain. I cannot recommend this app enough.
  • Listen to a Headspace Sleepcast. Their Sleepcasts are stories with ambient sounds which you can adjust so you can hear more of the story or more of the sounds. My favourite is ‘Beachcomber’. They all start with a 5 minute wind down exercise which always makes me feel much more settled. You can also do a wind down exercise on it’s own.
  • Count back from 1,000. Although this is the simplest trick of all I have found it the most effective. I count back slowly, visualising each number popping up one by one and saying the number in my head, 9ninehundred, and 9ninety, 9nine, 9ninehundred, and 9ninety, 8eight, 9ninehundred, and 9ninety, 7seven… I have only ever counted as far back as seven-hundred-and-something before falling asleep. I find this incredibly effective whenever I’m feeling anxious. When I’m feeling very anxious my mind often gets distracted from counting but every time I notice I’m not counting anymore I go straight back to the last number I remember and continue.
  • If you’re still feeling anxious get out of bed and do something you have to focus hard on to distract your mind until you feel tired again. I like to do Sudoku’s when my mind is racing.

I’ve also found it very helpful in the current climate not to read the news or talk about the situation before bed or in bed. Trying to stay completely present and not considering what is happening outside of your personal space helps massively to reduce anxiety. There is a lot of pressure to be constantly up to date and it is a privilege to be able to turn off from the outside world, but we can’t take care of anyone else without first taking care of ourselves so please do not feel guilty for giving yourself some respite.

I hope you are all doing as well as you can be. Sending my love to you all.

Stay home xx


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