Tomorrow’s conference call. Your grocery list. The kid’s soccer game.
These are just a few of the endless thoughts that fill your mind when you finally lay your head down at the end of the day. And it’s these same racing thoughts that keep millions of people awake at night, struggling to relax, let go, and achieve a quality night’s sleep.
On average, it takes most people between 10 and 20 minutes to fall asleep. Others find themselves tossing and turning for hours as sleep evades them. If the latter describes you, keep reading. Here we’ll offer advice on how to calm your anxious mind before bed and finally get the deep sleep you desperately need and deserve.
What Causes Anxious Thoughts at Night?
Nearly 20% of the adult population suffers from some form of anxiety. Irritability, restlessness, excessive worry, and lack of concentration can make it difficult to enjoy a productive, healthy life. Unfortunately, anxiety symptoms for most people only worsen at night.
Daily distractions keep your mind from wandering to stressful thoughts or triggers. At night, these stressors come to the surface, increasing both anxiety and the risk of panic attacks. Instead of reducing anxious thoughts and relaxing your body and mind for sleep, some people let their anxiety flood over them as night creeps in.
The good news is, there’s hope! With the right techniques, mind frame, and some good sleep hygiene tips you can finally calm your anxious mind before bed to achieve a quality night’s sleep.
Let’s take a closer look at effective techniques for doing just that.
How to Calm Your Anxious Mind Before Bed
With countless sleep aids and medications on the market, you may be tempted to reach for the medicine cabinet to finally calm your racing thoughts and fall asleep. Even if your doctor prescribes anxiety medication to ease symptoms, there are some other, natural methods you can try.
Listen to Calming Music
One way to ease anxious thoughts at night is to distract yourself in a calming way. Instead of busying yourself with activities that will cause your adrenaline to spike or energize you, try adopting more relaxing and stress-reducing habits.
Listening to calming music is a great way to distract yourself while also relaxing your body and mind. Dim the lights, close your eyes and play whatever type of music you find most soothing. Studies show that relaxing music can help calm your autonomic nervous system, leading to a reduced heart rate, slower breathing, and lowered blood pressure.
Take a Soothing Bath
Why not pair your favorite tunes with a warm, soothing bath? If your home has a bathtub, fill it with warm water, bath salts, or essential oils. Create a calming atmosphere using candles and soft lighting.
Hot water helps relax tense muscles, preparing your body for sleep. Relaxed muscles are beneficial for both physical and mental tension and help alleviate anxious or racing thoughts.
Try Natural Supplements
You don’t need anti-anxiety medication or even a prescription sleep aid to reduce stress for bed and achieve sleep. There are plenty of natural supplements available that offer a natural alternative.
Melatonin, for one, is the calming hormone that your body produces as it prepares for sleep. Taking a melatonin supplement can help establish a healthy circadian rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep. Chamomile is another popular and holistic choice as a natural sleep aid. Enjoy a hot cup of chamomile tea before bed to help reduce stress and welcome sleep.
Invest in Essential Oils
Essential oils are another holistic approach to reducing anxiety and stress while also achieving a quality night’s sleep. Certain scents like lavender, chamomile, and Ylang Ylang are best for inducing sleep. These same oils, along with orange, sage, and sandalwood, can help ease anxiety symptoms and thoughts.
An essential oil diffuser will fill your bedroom with a relaxing, calming aroma and may also double as a night light! You can also place a few droplets of your favorite oil on your pillowcase or sheets for a stronger effect. Some people choose to ingest essential oils, simply inhale them from the bottle, or apply them topically before bed.
Keep a Journal
One reason anxious thoughts persist at night is that it’s the only time your body and mind are relaxed and quiet enough to give them attention. Instead of lying awake for hours staring at the ceiling with a racing heart and dry mouth, try writing in a journal.
Getting these troubling, unwanted thoughts down on paper is a therapeutic process. It offers a healthy way to analyze and release these thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, the mere act of writing down what’s bothering you is enough to ease tension and purge negative thoughts once and for all.
Writing in a journal every night (even if you’re not feeling anxious) is another great way to establish a healthy sleep schedule and routine. By performing the same activities before bed each night, you’re training your mind and body to take these as cues for sleep.
Meditation and Mindfulness
As more people discover the many benefits of meditation and mindfulness, these two stress-reducing practices are growing in popularity. Mindfulness teaches you to be aware of “something”, while meditation focuses on the awareness of “nothing”. Both practices help you identify, acknowledge, release, and control negative permeating thoughts. This is an especially useful technique as you try to calm your racing thoughts at night.
Both meditation and mindfulness can be done in a quiet, comfortable space in your home and only require a few moments of your time. Practice your meditation routine before bed or as a relaxing technique when you’re struggling to fall asleep. Choose a place that’s quiet, comforting, and free from interruptions. As you learn to acknowledge and release negative thoughts, you can apply these same techniques as you close your eyes and drift to sleep.
Learn to Quiet Your Mind and Welcome Sleep
With millions of people suffering from different degrees of anxiety, it can be difficult to achieve a restful night’s sleep. As you wind down from your busy day and finally have a moment to breathe, those pesky thoughts that have been nagging at you all day start to slowly invade your mind. And you’re left thinking, “Why now?”
What’s even worse is that the stress or fear of not being able to fall asleep can only exacerbate anxiety symptoms, making quality sleep seem like an unattainable dream (pun intended). By learning to calm these anxious thoughts and relax your mind and body, you can finally reduce your nighttime stress and achieve a blissful night’s sleep.
At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in therapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic on (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.