Sleep and Anxiety

The mortal enemies of getting a good night’s rest

Night sets over San Francsico

We all know the feeling. Its time for bed. You find yourself yawning. Your eyes are getting sleepy and having trouble staying opened. Your body says its time to get vertical and get some rest. So you go through your normal routine: brush your teeth, wash your face, read, etc, etc. You turn off the light of and sink into your bed. Your smile to yourself at the expending pending enjoyment. CLICK — your mind wakes up and starts to accelerate. You ride the wave, maybe enjoying it for a few minutes. Your heart races. Your body tenses. You are fully awake now, in the dark. Its perplexing.

Your thoughts race from one to the next, creating a bizarre linearity of understanding. You begin to push back. You sigh. You try and fight it and think of nothing. See darkness. You toss and turn. You open your eyes to try and interrupt your racing mind. You look at the clock. No luck. You are stuck. The fear of being stuck in this dark awake limbo sets in. So what should you do now?

  • Fight, Fight, Fight: love this wonderful response. AKA the toss and turn. Find that perfect spot on the bed. You can do it! (well maybe). Sadly it does create more intensity and might really bother your partner. Wink!
  • Close your Mind: BLANK IMAGE. NOTHING. SPACE. Put yourself here. Try and embrace the emptiness and move into its calmness. Its hard but a wonderful exercise in itself of mind over body. Give it a whirl.
  • Shake it Up: Get out of bed and do something. Stretch, walk, drink water, read, watch TV — whatever it is, but try and rest the clock. The idea of getting out of bed can seem daunting, but might be exactly what you need to wake up rested.

These might work, but here’s a better question, how can we prevent this in the future? What can I do to go to bed and quickly fall asleep? How can you remove yourself from the daily anxieties and temptations so you can get some rest?

  • Pre Sleep Routine: Who doesn’t love watching Netflix before you go to bed?!? But create some time to wind down before you get into bed. TV (the noise and imagery) actually stimulates your mind and keeps you more awake.
  • What You Eat(limit sweets): Blood sugar levels are SO important to understand when you talk about sleep. Increased blood sugar levels will directly impact your sleep (and make it much harder to sleep). Think about that extra cookie or scoop of ice cream with dinner every night and try and resist, limiting sweets will help you sleep better.
  • Daily exercise: Exercise is key into sleeping well. Feeling tired and rested in part of the reason many of us go to the gym (even when we don’t want it). Important note — exercise can raise your heart rate and body temperature, so leave plenty of time (hours if you can) of lower level activity before bed time.

I am sure we can agree, whatever the daily investment is, its worth it, so you can hit the pillow and close your eyes, each and every night. Sweet Dreams!


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