One of the problems people with anxiety or depression often struggle with is getting to sleep. When clients who come to my therapy practice in Wilmslow with this issue here are the suggestions I give to them:
Put a routine in place
Do the same thing every day. This way your body will get to know what to expect. Make this routine sensible and doable. Set yourself a bed time and aim to hit it every day.
Prepare yourself to get more sleep
Now you have set yourself a bedtime work backwards. Have at least an hour away from electronic devices before going to bed. Drink milky drinks before going to bed (yes, hot chocolate is shown to help you sleep) and relax yourself by taking a warm bath.
Move your TV out of the bedroom
Do your best to keep your bedroom for sleeping and sex (which often helps you sleep too). Watching TV in your bedroom sends the wrong message to your brain about the space you are in.
Though alcohol does act as a depressant it can impact the quality of sleep you get. You may find yourself going to sleep quicker with it but waking up in the early morning.
What’s the worst that can happen?
So you can’t sleep? So what?! Seriously, what’s the worst that can happen? Your mind may tell you that this is a disaster and you will be horrendously tired the next day but what does your life experience tell you?
My guess is that you know from experience you will feel tired the next day but will function perfectly adequately.
Remember, your mind is not your friend, don’t buy into everything it tells you and go with experience every time.
If you wake up during the night
Try counting your breaths to see if you go back to sleep this way. Notice the thoughts coming in and out of your mind and acknowledge they are there, then go back to counting breaths.
If you have no success with this then why not get up for an hour and do something relaxing that you enjoy. Read a good book or listen to some music. Once more try to avoid electronic gadgets which have a stimulating effect on the brain.
And remember, not sleeping is not the end of the world, it just means you might be tired the next day which is perfectly OK.
Do you have ways in which you get yourself off to sleep? Let me know about them below.