Many people suffer from nighttime anxiety and anxiety that happens right before you try to fall asleep. I like to call this, ‘sleep anxiety,’ which is basically due to having anxiety about not being able to fall asleep. You get worried that you won’t be able to fall asleep and then think that you are going to be very tired tomorrow and it isn’t going to be okay. These thoughts can keep you up at night and lead to interrupted sleep, restless sleep, or even no sleep at all.
So, how can you go about calming the anxiety before bed? I have found that taking time to decompress and clear your mind has helped many patients. Creating some form of a transition from daytime to sleeping is highly recommended. We can’t just expect the mind to go to sleep on demand. We need to transition just like we transition to go outside or when we get home. I would recommend that you minimize screen time before bed, take a warm bath, engage in deep breathing, leisurely reading, or even listen to a sleep story on the Calm app. The goal is to reduce the nervous thoughts in your head, so your mindset is clear, calm, and positive before you head off to sleep. Try to reduce the pressure that you put on yourself to fall asleep. Accept that you may just end up resting and that is also good for the mind and body. Also, remind yourself that worrying about it is usually a much worse feeling in the moment versus the next day when you are feeling tired. You won’t feel as anxious, and it won’t be as bad as your imagining, and it never usually is. Also, remember that you don’t need to try to fall asleep. When your mind gets as relaxed as it can be, it does the work itself and involuntary.