Occasional anxiety is part of our normal stress response that clues us into dangers or threats. Like stress, it’s supposed to turn off once we know the danger has passed. But if that’s the case, then why does anxiety decide that bedtime is the best time to pop up and share its doom-and-gloom list? If you struggle to fall asleep at times because your mind is racing and your anxiety is working overtime, you’re not alone! But the benefits of sleep are far too important to spend that precious time worrying and overthinking.
Read on to learn some tips to keep those feelings in check and make sure they don’t cut into your much-needed sleep time. By the way, if you deal with the Sunday Scaries, these strategies should be part of your weekend-winddown routine.
1. Establish good sleep hygiene.
This phrase sounds sterile, but it refers to all the habits, behaviors and environmental factors that influence sleep. Good sleep hygiene includes habits like shutting down screens a couple of hours before bed, making your room comfortable to invite rest and having a toolbox of self-care strategies to help you relax at night. Poor sleep hygiene could look like: Scrolling your phone until the moment you fall asleep, trying to sleep in a loud and bright room or not having a specific bedtime schedule. Start with these 11 tips to get a better night’s sleep.
2. Clear your plate, your palate, etc.
As Elsa says, “let it go!” Whether you had a spat with your sweetie, feel overwhelmed by your new manager’s expectations or can’t figure out how to help your little one with a problem, worrying about it all night won’t help you or anyone else. If rumination — aka the hamster wheel of worries, negative thoughts and “what ifs” — keeps you awake, find an outlet to release it. Try journaling before bed, texting with a friend (after confirming they have the emotional bandwidth) or even talking to your pet. Just get those worries out of your mind so you can chill out and relax!
3. Ground yourself.
Sometimes anxiety shows up not in our minds but in our bodies. This can especially be true if a nightmare wakes you in the middle of the night. When you have one of those nights, where you feel ill at ease in the pit of your stomach, focus on grounding yourself. Grounding techniques help remind you that feelings are not facts. They help you come back into the moment and break the cycle of whatever you’re feeling. This breathing exercise could help. Next time that “taking a test in the buff” dream wakes you up with cold sweats, try this: Sit up or stand up, get out of bed, splash some water on your face, inhale some calming lavender, etc. (This is also a good time to reach for a Hello Dreams™ Sleep Strip with Melatonin and Calm Down™ herbal blend.)
4. Listen to a sleep story or meditation.
While this tip might seem to contradict the next one, sometimes it’s OK to break the rules. Keep your screen lights low and queue up a sleep story or try this sleep meditation. Both practices offer welcome distractions to keep your racing brain occupied so you can begin to relax and wind down!
5. Resist the siren song of screens.
Doomscrolling and binging Netflix aren’t habits that invite sleep. (They definitely count as poor sleep hygiene.) Whether you are struggling to fall asleep or you’ve been awakened at 3 a.m., don’t peek at your screens. The light will only wake you up — and the content will offer your “mind hamster” more fuel to keep running in circles in your mind. If you can’t keep your hands off your screen, charge it in another room overnight.
6. Say Hello Dreams™ and put anxiety to rest.
Our minty herbal strips are a triple threat to P.M. worries and woes: They are formulated to help you fall asleep, stay asleep and fall back to sleep if you wake up, all so you can start out tomorrow feeling rejuvenated.* Since you don’t need any water to take them, you can keep them right on your nightstand and make them part of your just-about-to-nod-off routine!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.