Many people who have anxiety disorders have difficulties sleeping. This is a problem. Not getting enough sleep can affect your mood, which can contribute to depression and irritability. Critical functions occur during various stages of sleep which leave you feeling energized and rested or help you forge memories and learn. Usually, sleep improves after an anxiety gets treated. Another thing that helps is to practice good sleep hygiene. The following are some steps that you can take:
- Wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day, including on weekends.
- Daylight helps to set sleep patterns. Try spending at least 30 minutes per day outside while it is light out.
- Exercise on a regular basis (but not right before bedtime). Working out in the afternoon is ideal.
- Only take short naps – under an hour – and do not take naps after 3 pm.
- Avoid consuming caffeine (contained in many soft drinks, chocolate, many teas, and coffee). It can as long as eight hours for it to wear off. You might need to completely avoid caffeine if you suffer from panic attacks since many individuals who have panic attacks have been found to be extra sensitive to caffeine.
- Consult with your doctor to review your medications to see if any of them are stimulants. They are a common culprit that keeps many people awake at night. You may be able to switch medicines.
- Several hours before going to bed, avoid drinking lots of fluids, foods that cause heartburn, and alcohol.
- Quit if you smoke. Many health problems are caused by smoking, which includes compromising sleep in various ways.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool, without any distractions like a computer or TV. When reading in bed, do not use an electronic device. The screen’s light can cause your brain to think it is daytime. Replace your mattress if it is uncomfortable. Read this helpful hybrid mattress guide.
- Deep breathing, taking a hot bath to relax before going to bed, listening to music, or read can all help you fall asleep.
If you do not fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed (or you wake up and are unable to fall asleep again within 20 minutes), get up and do something relaxing until you start to feel sleepy.