We all have those nights where no matter what we try to do, how tired we are, or how early we go to bed, sleeping just seems out of the question. You toss and turn, even though you've been exhausted all day. Your mind seems to never shut off, and then it's a vicious cycle all over again when you wake up.
While it can be normal to have sleepless nights, if it's stress and anxiety keeping you awake, then there are a few things you can do to ease it. We all deal with stress differently, I know when I'm stressed or anxious about something I cannot sleep at all. Others may only want to sleep, and that's okay as well.
If you find your mind is always racing, whether it's during the day or at night, then these next few tips are life changing. You can choose to do one or all of them, it's up to you!
I'm sure we've all heard this and rolled our eyes at some point. What does sitting in silence have to do with calming my mind? Won't my thoughts race even more? It seems like you'd just have more time to think, right? However, guided meditation is used so that you stay thinking about nothing, and it clears your mind. It helps you focus when you're super anxious, and keeps you focused on the present. There are a ton of meditation apps that will help guide you until you feel like you may be ready to do it on your own. One of the most popular is called Headspace, where you can choose which meditation you'd like to do. If you've never tried meditating before, it has actually been proven to lower stress and anxiety and it can help you to feel more accomplished without negative thoughts.
Journalling if you have a ton on your mind helps so much. Even if you just need to write down your thoughts and feelings into your notes app on your phone, that's fine too. However, writing things down can be life changing. If you feel like you have the same thoughts over and over again, then they need to be placed somewhere else. You can write little bullet notes, or write a whole journal entry. It's up to you! Putting your concerns and worries on paper lets you worry about them later on, and will help you relax. You can do this right before bed so your mind is relaxed and calm.
Set a worry timer
As a therapy technique, they often tell you to set an timer so that you can worry for a small amount of time, around 10-20 minutes, and then you can't worry for the rest of the day. This allows all of the negative thoughts to roll through your brain, and then once the timer goes off, you're done and you're not allowed to think about it anymore. It can be about multiple things, a certain situation, it doesn't matter. Totally devote all of your worries during this time, not allowing yourself to say they're irrational, and at the end of the worry time take a few deep breaths and get on with your day. You can do this in the morning before work or right before bed, whatever works best for you!
I know a lot of people feel like they don't have the energy to work out, but I promise that will change as soon as you make a routine. You can't worry or have negative thoughts when you're working out because you're so focused on what to do next. Working out makes you focus on the present, and it's actually helped me sleep SO much. I used to wake up around 5 times a night, and now I rarely wake up during the middle of the night. Working out helps you create a more positive body image, it releases endorphins which is the happy hormone, and it makes you feel more positive all together. If you're someone who is a beginner at working out, try yoga instead. Yoga is all about being in the moment, with slow movements, and you have to focus on your breath.
One of the only ways I ever feel truly relaxed is when I'm reading. I don't have time to think about other things because I'm so wrapped up in a book. Taking up reading as a hobby can really relax you, especially before bed. Recently I've been reading before bed and waking up a little bit earlier to read and it's done wonders for me. I can actually feel my body getting tired when I'm reading, and it's way better than watching TV. It doesn't matter what kind of book you like to read either! It can be a mystery, a biography, a fiction book, just whatever you're interested in.
Take a magnesium supplement
A deficiency in magnesium can lead to stiff muscles, anxiety, headaches. When you don't feel well, you can become even more anxious. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and taking this before bed can really help relax your body and will promote a better sleep. Of course, talk to your doctor before you assume you have a magnesium deficiency, but if your body hurts all of the time and you're always anxious, magnesiums natural calming effect can really help you.