We went to bed after an exhausting day of work. This is the time we spend all day dreaming, and our eyelids ask us to close them: it is bedtime.
We enter our beautiful bedroom, put on our pajamas, undo the bed and go inside. We turn off the light and … we can’t sleep.
What is happening? Are we not tired enough? We are tired and want to sleep, but surprise! all the worries of the day, all the tensions of the vigil come to us when the light goes out. How to control anxiety before going to bed? We will try to resolve this issue below.
How to control anxiety before going to bed?
Anxiety is unfortunately a part of the life of many of us. One of the ways it can manifest, perhaps one of the worst, is when it comes to us right before bedtime.
Lying down, we notice how the heart, for no apparent reason, accelerates us and, no matter how hard we try to slow the heart rate down, it seems to be on the rise. Plus, focusing on the beat of our heart makes us even more aware of what the turbo has put us. It doesn’t seem to help, because although we are tired we wake up even though we want to sleep.
But it’s not just the heart that keeps us awake. Lying down and trying to sleep, all the worries of the day come to mind: how will my family be? Will they fire me? Should I go to the doctor? Why am I not able to do things when it’s playing out? and many other questions which, in a terribly untimely way, come at a time when we should be leaving our minds blank.
The more questions there are, the more turns we give to everything and, of course, the more nervousness this generates, the worse the quality of the later dream.. It is these concerns, along with physiological symptoms such as increased heart rate, that are one of the main causes of sleep problems. In addition, if at night we are too cognitively active, the next day we fall asleep, distracted and do not function well. We can’t work well, and neither are we active when the time comes.
Anxiety is closely related to what we do and what we think and feel. Whoever comes to control these three aspects acquires the key to take his anguish by the horns and put it in its place: far from us.
Change the way you do things
The first thing to keep in mind is that a change in habits is necessary. There is no point in doing the exact same thing that we do every day, or rather every night just before bed. If this lifestyle hasn’t worked for us, what will make it work now? We have to change the lifestyle, we have to change what we do.
1. Be careful what you eat
Too heavy eating just before going to bed is fatal to the quality of our sleep. Foods high in salt and sugars make digestion an odyssey and prevent us from sleeping longer.
Lying down, and with a stomach ache, we began to regret having taken this delicious kebab or pizza that we wanted so much before but no longer let us sleep and, in addition, we try to force sleep.
Pay attention to what you eat. A light dinner, such as salad and yogurt, and no later than two hours before bedtime is the best diet advice. to avoid having nocturnal anxiety.
2. No alcohol or coffee
Coffee and tea are stimulating drinks, as everyone knows. Stimulating is synonymous with activation and therefore speeds up the heart and thought and can also produce anxiety if consumed too much. These are drinks to avoid after six hours.
When it comes to alcohol, the ideal is simply not to take it. If taken, unless it is too late as it affects sleep.
Milk is a good drink to help you sleep and relax. If we are not lactose intolerant or vegans, cow’s milk is a great, and easy to get, sweet dream option.
4. More exercise
Exercise is a classic for treating anxiety, not only because it tires us out physically, which is great for falling asleep earlier, but also induces a natural state of chemical happiness through the release of endorphins and reduces cortisol.
But you have to be careful. It is not advisable to exercise too much before going to bed. Ideally, do this no later than nine in the evening. This is because the heart is activated, especially in aerobic activities such as ellipticals, biking, or running.
If after exercise we find that the heart is still accelerating, the best thing to do is take note of the following recommendation.
5. Take a shower
Taking a hot shower right before bed is great to help you fall asleep as it can be a very relaxing experience.
The idea is to keep the water warm and, if available, to use an exfoliant all over the body.. Many scrubs are made from salts with similar effects to bath salts, which are known to be very relaxing.
6. Establish consistent schedules
Anxiety is often accompanied by a disorganized lifestyle, and the clearest example of this is when people go to bed at a different time each day.
The body must establish constant schedulesBecause otherwise he can hardly get used to anything. We should try to go to bed at the same time every day, with half an hour at most.
Sleeping at the same time every day regulates circadian rhythms, allowing for natural, quality sleep. Thus, the habit of sleeping is acquired, almost automatically, at the right time, leaving little time to worry once you are in bed.
7. The bed is for sleeping, and nothing more
A lot of people use the bed to work with the laptop, play sports, play on the console, watch TV … all those bad options.
The bedroom, if possible, and in particular the bed, should only be used for sleeping. So the body is generally associated, at least what becomes the bed, with the act of sleeping.
8. Create a pleasant atmosphere before going to bed.
If it is not possible to make the room where we only sleep, either because it is too private a place for us or because it is where we work, which we can do this is, before going to bed, make it a more pleasant atmosphere.
As much as possible, we can change the color of the lights, the temperature, light a scented candle, put on relaxing music …
With all of these options, and the many more that can come to us, we can make our bedroom a place where anxiety is unwelcome or unwilling to come.
9. No screen
I know it’s hard not to look at your cell phone or leave your computer turned off for several hours before bed, but it’s better.
Use electronic devices, especially blue light screens. it delays when we go to bed. We try to avoid having them for two hours before bedtime.
Change the way you think
Concerned about not being able to sleep, we take this same idea even further: why don’t I fall asleep? I need to sleep, I want to sleep! And that doesn’t help, because it further increases anxiety.
But what if we change the way we look at things? What if instead of falling asleep, we tried to sink into rest. Forcing things is not good, because it generates tension, one of the words (almost) synonymous with anxiety and stress. How are we going to relax by forcing rest?
Let’s calm down. Sounds easier said than done, but it’s all about knowing the strategy. There are countless techniques, cheap, comfortable and easy to carry, to bring the body to a state of relaxation.
1. Body scan
One of the most useful relaxation techniques in bed is the body scan. This is a mindfulness technique and although their primary goal is not, in fact, relaxation, relaxation is a positive side effect of the process.
While lying down, we focus on the sensations of different parts of the body. We try to get the full attention of each member, buttocks, abdomen, head, heart …
During the process, if done with complete care and attention, the mind, focusing on the parts of the body, takes the place of the worries that can happen to us while we are trying to sleep.
2. Accept that at night the problems are not solved
Worries, which can be of any kind, are a key factor in sleep anxiety. The problem is, no matter how many times we give it away and how many “solutions” we try to find, things, at night, are not resolved. The word “pre-chord” already says it, take care of it before you can at least do it.
Thinking over and over is useless if we don’t apply it. For example, if we are concerned about our health and want to go to the doctor, it is better to go to the doctor when we can, that is, during the day. We don’t turn it around at night when we can’t make an appointment.
Night is the time to sleep. It might seem like a simple thing to advise to stop thinking about things that can only be resolved during the day, but the truth is, since there isn’t much we can do while lying down, why think about it any more?
3. Drugs and psychotherapy
However, in cases where this is necessary and where the advice described above has not been effective, it is preferable to turn to a professional who can study the particular case and opt for the necessary therapeutic route.
There are over-the-counter medications that help you fall asleep, but their side effects, such as drowsiness, do not recommend them for work life at all.. If they are needed, they should be taken, of course, but it is better to go for psychotherapy or, if you need medication, see a doctor or psychiatrist.
But the truth is that in most cases the onset of anxiety before bedtime is due to problems in the social sphere of the person, and not physiological causes. For this reason, the first option of therapeutic research is to go to the clinical psychologist, who will diagnose the possible associated anxiety and sleep disorder, opting for a whole behavior change strategy to get the person to stop. to suffer from nocturnal ruminations and to obtain a better quality of sleep. .
- Antón, A. (2014). Cognitive-behavioral treatment in a child with sleep anxiety. Journal of Clinical Psychology with Children and Adolescents, 1 (1).
- Subirana, SR and Adell, M. To. M. (2014). Treatment of nocturnal restlessness and insomnia in the elderly. CME-Continuing Medical Education in Primary Care, 21 (2), 104-112.