Don’t Stress About Sleep

“If you have a tendency to stress, you increase your own risk of having insomnia.”

  • Stressing about sleep (or a lack of sleep) can make it worse. This can create a vicious cycle of poor sleep and stressing.
  • Stressing may disturb your sleep, regardless of whether you are an already anxious person.
  • If you have a regular pattern of poor sleep and feeling tired during the day, you may feel less sure of your ability to ever sleep well again.
  • Insomnia that started during a time of high stress may not go away, even after you have dealt with the tress.
  • To tackle insomnia, the primary thing you should focus on is being more relaxed and sleepy before actually going to bed
  • Drinking alcohol to aid relaxation may lead to worse sleep. It’s a myth that alcohol improves sleep.

Stop feeling anxious about sleep!

It is imperative to know that waking up at night is normal. Everyone does it to a greater or lesser extent. Some people remember waking up and may worry about it. Others do not remember waking up. Stressing about sleep usually makes the sleep worse. Change your way of thinking. Instead of thinking “I won’t be able to get through my day unless I get back to sleep”.  Try thinking: “I have been able to function on less sleep in the past and I will make it through tomorrow”. You may want to try doing relaxation exercises before heading off to bed. If your sleep anxiety continues, you should consider contacting your doctor. If he or she is not able to diagnose you, they may be able to refer you to a sleep specialist of psychologist.

I don’t have anxiety, but still haven’t been sleeping well.

In order for an overactive mind to interfere with a good night’s sleep, you do not necessarily need to have what is commonly referred to as anxiety. Stress is one of the biggest contributors to not being able to sleep well. But even if you lead a generally stress-free life, ‘lack of sleep’ could be the thing making you worry. By itself, it can interrupt the quality of your sleep. You must attempt to decrease overall levels of worry or ‘stress’. Diet and exercise also play major roles in how well you sleep.

Will drinking alcohol help me sleep?

Caffeine and alcohol can be detrimental to your sleep. It is vital to make sure that both are consumed in moderation.

This will ensure better sleep quality. Most importantly, you should never drink either caffeine or alcohol for at least 4 hours before going to sleep. Drinking alcohol to relax and unwind before going to bed will not help you sleep. It may assist in getting you to sleep initially, but it will interrupt your sleep during the night. Drinking an excessive amount of caffeine will make you too alert to sleep well.


Which medication will make me worry less about sleep?

Medicine such as hypnotics or anti-anxiety medication might not always work. Their efficacy decreases over time and they can be addictive, making it difficult to ever get to sleep without them. The best way to decrease anxiety about sleeping is to change the way you think about sleep. There are various effective and proven ways to learn to change the way you think about your sleep. Including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness.


What to do if you mid just doesn’t seem to want to “shut down”

Even if you are not stressing or anxious, you may simply have trouble “switching off” at night.
Here are some ways to avoid being kept out of sleep due to an over-active mind:
Try to disengage from the stress and events of your day long before actually going to bed. Prepare yourself for sleep by disregarding all work-related things including technology like cell phones or tablets. Much like you would spend a certain amount of time preparing for your day, do the same for going to sleep.
Avoid doing any “serious thinking” once you are in bed. After a while you condition your mind to do this and it will be a hard habit to break. Instead, try to deal with what is on your mind before getting into your bed, especially during periods of increased stress.
A change of scenery might help if your brain is too busy to fall asleep. Get out of bed and process your thought in a different location. Once you feel at ease, you can try going back to bed.

Is it possible to suffer from anxiety but still sleep well?

Suffering from anxiety does not mean that you won’t sleep well. Extremely anxious people are still able to sleep well and not feel too tired the next day. But if they start to sleep badly, this could result in them feeling sleepy and listless. This in turn could cause them to start worrying about the sleep they lost and this could start a vicious cycle resulting in chronic sleep problems.


What to do if you are having problems with your sleep.

Speak to a doctor. And if that doesn’t suffice, you could try a sleep specialist. There are centres dedicated to diagnosing and treating sleep disorders that could help. A psychologist could assist in determining what mental factors are contributing to a lack of sleep, which could offer some relief.
But if you are not yet ready to consult a medical professional, you could try the following on your won:
Try not to pressure yourself to sleep
Let sleep come to you naturally
If possible, try to keep a regular daily routine, with consistent times for eating, sleeping and other things
Learn or be taught some relaxation methods
Accept that the reason why you don’t sleep well might be because you worry about sleep too much
Don’t lie awake in bed for a long time. Allow yourself 20 minutes, then get up and go and sit in a dark, quiet room, until you feel sleepy again
Sleeping tablets may have negative side effects, try to avoid using them.
Avoid having too much alcohol or caffeine