Meet Brian Ferrett, a writer who focuses on all things sleep. Best stay awake for this guest post ;) If an anxious mind is keeping you awake all hours of the night, we hope these tips can help reduce stress levels so you can fall sleep.
Feeling a little stressed is a part of life. But when that stress becomes anxious feelings that
won’t go away, then it’s time to take action. There are different degrees of anxiety and it’s difficult to find a one-size-fits-all solution for everybody. It can be difficult to fall asleep when we are worried and stressing about what might happen tomorrow or in the near future. So here is a list of techniques to help ease your mind so you can sleep peacefully with your fluffy pillow and blanket tonight. Reorient your mind and relax for a good night’s sleep with the following tips below:
1. Reduce stress levels: Maintain a daily journal
There are many benefits to writing daily:
● It gives us a healthy outlet for any overwhelming emotions we are having
● It also gives us time to come up with a plan for the challenges we are facing, and
● Labeling our thoughts and emotions seem to help us better cope as well
The great thing about journaling is that it’s relatively simple: We can start with a pen and paper right now. You can place it beside your bed or make it a habit to digitally type out our thoughts into a text document.
As for what to write, go with your gut! Journal about what feels right to you, and let your mind wander to wherever it takes you.
Once we have captured down our thoughts, we can either come up with a plan or continue to nitpick them for understanding until we are satisfied.
2. Listen to some music with good feeling vibes
Our mood sometimes get ahead of us which can make sleep rather difficult. Our emotions also tend to affect the way we think and judge, causing further stress to ourselves despite nothing serious happening in the moments before bedtime.
By using music, we can manipulate the way we feel so we can transition to sleep easier What kind of music can you try?
Anything can do, really! We find people sleep better with both spectrums of sound: from
peaceful, serene, and natural to heavy metal-banging, head-smashing music.
Take some time to explore your taste in music by searching around on YouTube and Spotify.
Eventually, you can stumble upon what sounds right to you.
White noise is also an option. Used by parents to help infants sleep better at night, simple
consistent noise such as rain, wind or a running fan can help the mind ease into sleep.
3. Clean out and organize your living space
It’s easy to let ourselves go and wound up with a home we barely recognize. For some people, our home is a sanctuary. For others, it’s a place to eat and sleep before we go about our day.
Whatever the case might be, it can be the ‘canary in the coal mine’ for our minds. What we
mean is if our home is disorganized and a total mess, our thoughts and feelings might be the same way. In other words, our home can be a reflection of our lives. So start cleaning a little each night!
Cleaning also has the added benefit of accomplishing something we know we must eventually do. Plus, a clean home can impress any unexpected house guests!
If your home is a real doozy of a mess right now and time is short, start small with bite-size goals you can chew on every night:
- Pick an important and small area to start cleaning, such as your desk or kitchen counter.
(Start smaller if you have to, like a particular spot on your desk!)
- Set yourself a timer, maybe 5 to 10 minutes, and spend only that much time decluttering the target area.
- Once you are done tossing junk out and wiping down the surface area, give yourself a
pat on the back for a job well done. We can begin again tomorrow.
- If you have the time and energy to keep going, then all the more power for you to finish
up! If you find the task tedious, consider putting on some good tunes or listening to podcasts. You might need your hands and fingers to clean, but the ears are free to listen to whatever you so please!
4. Anxious? Reach out to someone
This might not be a 5 to 10-minute trick, but the benefits can be felt immediately.
When we spend too much time dealing with one problem after another and not enough time enjoying ourselves, the stress-fueled emotions can be overwhelming. This is evident when we are in our bed wanting to sleep, yet have a million and one thoughts zooming through our minds and keeping us from sleep.
Speaking to someone, like a trusted family member or a close friend, about the challenges we face can be enlightening. By acting as a sounding board, our conversation partner can help us find perspective, thereby helping relieve an anxious mind.
We also have the added benefit of building a support network of relationships we can rely on for help. If not to help ourselves, someone dear to us might be thankful we reached out to them! We can start today by sending a short text or email asking how they have been.
5. Rest your back against a wall, close your eyes, and meditate
When we become restless, it’s easy to get carried away with the feeling of needing to do
something. One of the ways to cope with restlessness is by spending some time to mentally
You don’t necessarily have to be resting your back against a wall with your eyes shut. Simply offering yourself a time-out might be enough to help ease that anxious mind.
We can give ourselves a moment to sort out what is bothering us so we have the right frame of mind for truly falling asleep. The goal is to become present, in the here and now, without finding ourselves thinking (or rather living) in our past and future.
Breathing exercises can work wonders as well to reduce stress levels. You can read more on the different breathing methods here. In essence, we want to control and focus on our breathing. This gives us a place to go whenever our mind wanders too far from where we want it to be.
Keep in mind it might be very frustrating at first. This is something that takes time and patience. Not only can moments like these help us calm our minds for bedtime, but can also be called upon during the most hectic of times.
Making the commitment to practice each night. Eliminate distractions. Get comfortable and
relax. Inhale, then exhale. Repeat.
6. Pop open a window for some fresh air
There is nothing like breathing in a brisk of fresh air to help ease an anxious mind. Our entire body including our brain needs fresh air. Proper oxygenation of our brain cells helps our cognitive processes function in an efficient and effective manner.
If you find yourself having a very long and out-of-control day, then the fresh air can be a
reminder of the peacefulness that is within your grasp. It’s all part of your efforts to reduce stress levels.
Popping open the window also allows for better airflow that can lower our room temperature, promoting quality sleep. When we include breathing exercises and practice mindfulness, we can reduce stress levels enough for you to sleep a little better tonight.
You can also spend the time to think about your day and write a journal entry about it, too.
7. Dive into a book before going to sleep
Based on a research conducted at the University of Sussex, Dr. David Lewis a cognitive
neuropsychologist found reading done at it’s best can reduce stress levels by a whopping 68 percent (source).
Simply by reading for six minutes, we can reduce our heart rate and ease tension in the
muscles! We can also enjoy a good story or learn something new while reading, too.
So how can you get started?
First off, avoid reading anything from a screen especially when we are too close to bedtime. The blue light emitting from devices such as our smartphones and laptops increase mental alertness and wakefulness. This isn’t good for our sleep.
The best way to start reading is to pick up a book beforehand. We can visit a local library or
purchase a new book from a bookstore. You can also order books online from Amazon.
Our recommendation is to choose three to borrow so you can have a selection each night.
Commit at least 5 minutes of reading before bed, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself yawning, drowsy, then sleeping like a baby. Reduce stress levels, starting tonight.
It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of our busy lives. When our day-to-day stress leaks into our sleeping hours, then it’s time to put our foot down.
Whether you are anxious or not, knowing the different techniques available to you for combating troubles with sleep is important. Having a list like the one above can help when times are tough and you want to reduce stress levels.
Bookmark this page and refer back to it from time to time as a reminder of what you can do for your sleep. Future You will thank you.
What bedtime activities or sleep habits help you fall asleep when you’re anxious? How do you take care of your sleep each night? Let us know in the comments below!
About Today’s Writer
Brian Ferret is a sleep enthusiast who enjoys a good bedtime story. He is on a
mission to create awareness on the best practices for sleep. His goal is to educate others on how they can sleep better so they can live happier, healthier, and better lives. Follow him on social media to learn how you can improve on your sleep. Find Brian on Facebook and Twitter.