Trying to fall asleep when your mind is racing can be very difficult. When you are dealing with problems in your life and you finally lie down in bed, your mind may drift towards those things that are causing you stress and you find you are unable to sleep. Sleep is critical and provides necessary rest for our brains. When you are already suffering from anxiety you might feel your heart or your thoughts start to race and suddenly you find you are wide awake.
So, what can you do when anxiety keeps you awake? For my clients here in New York City we work together on a two pronged approach. We begin by trying to uncover and then examine the issues. We look at what is causing all the stress and axiety in your life. Once we reveal the problem we strategize together on a plan to work through the issue. It could be a problem at work, a financial crunch or even discord within your marriage. Many of my patients lie awake at night when they are going through infertility treatment and need assistance getting through the process.
Once we know what is causing the problem we can then work together on activities (and non-activities) that will create a bit more peace for you at bedtime.
- Brain dump – when you start to cycle through all the things you have to do the list can seem overwhelming, until you write it down. Once you have all the stressful details out of your head you can then start to tackle the list. And, sometimes, writing them down makes you feel as though you have begun the process of putting a plan in place.
- Exercise – under the direction of your doctor, starting an exercise program can be one of the most beneficial plans for you. Physical fatigue will help your mind relax. Make sure you do not exercise right before bed – leave a good hour or two before turning in.
- Wind down long before you go to bed. Stop checking work emails and your bank accounts if these are things that are stressing you out. Plan to do these activities at the beginning of your day. If you and your spouse have stressful things to discuss then start those conversations long before you need to go to bed.
- Presleep activities: You can read, meditate, listen to soothing music, anything to bring on sleep. If these do not resonate with you then we will try to figure out the particular thing that calms you down.
- Go to bed at a reasonable time. Sometimes the stress of knowing you are not going to get enough sleep is enough to cause you to lie awake at night and brings on further anxiety.
- Cut back on caffeine and alcohol long before it is time to turn in. Both caffeine and alcohol can keep you awake and can cause disrupted sleep patterns.
- Limit your time in front of your computer, phone, and television. These tend to stimulate your brain and interrupt normal sleep rhythms.
We can work together to tackle whatever is causing you to feel anxious and bring about more peace and balance into your life. You will come to understand your triggers and with that, we will develop a plan to help you move forward, enabling you to cope with your anxiety and ultimately, get some sleep.