One of the most challenging times of the day for people with anxiety is the time right before bed. After a long, stressful day, a person with anxiety may struggle to decompress, which can often lead to sleepless nights, which only contributes to the anxiety and stress felt the following days. Finding ways to relax before bed is the key to getting to bed in a timely manner. Here are a few ways to combat nighttime anxiety and fully relax before bed time.
1. Stretching – We hold so much tension in our bodies, especially at the end of a long, stressful day. Doing some simple, light stretches can help release some of this tension, which will help the body relax overall. Many people with anxiety also have issues with soreness and even bruxism (teeth grinding), so getting some stretches in before bed helps to prevent both of these things so you can wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, not sore!
2. Meditation – Meditating before bed helps you find peace and quiet in your mind so you can drift off to sleep with ease. Find some peace and quiet in your own home and meditate for a little while before going to bed. If quiet is hard to come by in your home, lie down and listen to a guided meditation through headphones. You can find many free guided meditations on YouTube to help you get ready to drift off to sleep. Try this one!
3. Essential Oil Diffuser – Many studies have shown the benefits of using essential oils for those struggling anxiety, depression, physical pain, stress, and more! There are particular oils that have been proven to benefit anxiety in particular. These include lavender, rose, chamomile, bergamot, ylang ylang, vetiver, and frankincense. Choose your favorite scent, put it in an oil diffuser, and turn it on when you are beginning your relaxing process before bed. Find essential oils and diffusers on Amazon.
4. Coloring – Adult coloring books have become the newest trend, however, did you know that they can help improve anxiety and sleep? Coloring is a relaxing, soothing activity that help with a number of mental and emotional issues. Focusing on coloring actually turns down the brain’s response to stress. Additionally, it is an activity before bedtime that does not require you to sit in front of a screen. Watching TV, playing on a cell phone, and other activities where one must stare at a screen have actually been proven to deter people’s ability to fall asleep. However, coloring still keeps a person actively engaged while also relaxing the mind.
5. Journaling – Many people know the feeling of lying awake in bed at night ruminating on all of the problems of the day, month, and/or year. However, writing a journal entry right before bed time gives us a chance to let out all our anxieties, worries, and fears. We can put the journal away right before bed along with all of these stressful emotions so that we can fall asleep easier, having already expressed the emotions that would normally be in our minds when we’re trying to sleep.
If you struggle with anxiety, stress-management, or sleep issues, schedule a free consultation with our director Dr. Ross to develop a wellness plan unique to your needs. Call 781-444-9115 or click here to schedule an appointment.