Sleep is where your body finds balance for its many functions, from the emotional to the cognitive, all the way down to the immune system and we need it to function at our best. Anxiety is a common cause of disrupted sleep or insomnia.
Here are five ways to prepare yourself for sleep that will also help with managing anxiety.
Mindfulness is present moment awareness that involves intentionally observing and allowing your experiences to be without judgement. When you’re preparing for sleep, notice the sensation of the sheet, the pillow, the doona, then work through the other senses. Breathe through your nose and out through your mouth. Let your thoughts pass by like clouds in the sky and imagine your worry thoughts sitting on a cloud, floating away.
Journaling helps take the worry thoughts out of your mind and puts you in more control of the thoughts rather than your thoughts in control of you. Note down your worry thoughts as they arise throughout the day and separate them into what’s in and out of your control. Engage in active problem solving to deal with the things that are in your control and try not to spend time on the things that are out of your control.
Meditation is a fantastic tool for enabling quality sleep. There are many types of meditation, so find one that is right for you. Breath meditation is similar to the mindfulness exercise and the beauty of this style of meditation is that you have your breath with you all the time, so you can meditate anytime. Transcendental meditation is where you focus on a mantra or you can try listening to a guided meditation.
Phones or any other electronic device are best kept out of the bedroom. In order to slow down the brain, you need to switch off from your devices including your phone, TV, laptop screen and tablets, at least half an hour before bed. Having your phone in the bedroom is just too tempting to check before bed, during the night or first thing when you wake up.
If you are experiencing anxiety and not sure what to do about it, I recommend engaging a clinical psychologist to help you with identifying practical strategies to help you overcome any challenges. Start by going to see your local GP and they can put you on a Mental Health Care Plan and help you find a clinical psychologist to see.
This is an excerpt from our Sleep Cleanse eBook.
Looking for more tips on how to improve your sleep? Check out our Sleep Cleanse eBook for information, recipes and a guide on how to give your sleep patterns a makeover.
Blog post by Dr Jodie Lowinger from the Sydney Anxiety Clinic.
Dr Jodie Lowinger is a Clinical and Corporate Psychologist, Leadership and Peak Performance Coach, and Keynote Speaker. Jodie is the Founder and Principal Clinical Psychologist of the Sydney Anxiety Clinic and Founder and CEO of Mind Strength Coaching and Consulting. She is regularly sought after by the media, businesses and schools as a thought leader in anxiety, resilience and peak performance.