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Is worry consuming you as you head to bed? These tips can help

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REVIEWED BY: Meredith Landy, PhD.

How often do you find yourself tossing and turning at night? Do you notice that it’s your worry about not being able to fall asleep that’s impacting your ability to rest? If yes, you’re not alone.

It is common to worry more about your inability to sleep as your sleep worsens, and for this to, in turn, contribute to your difficulties sleeping. Enter the vicious cycle of worry impacting your sleep. For sleep to occur, stimulation (physical, emotional, and cognitive) associated with normal wakeful activities needs to be reduced. It is hard to fall asleep when we are in a state of high autonomic arousal (scared, upset, worried etc.).

Research shows that insomnia is associated with a busy mind and that the thoughts themselves are likely to be anxious thoughts. Sometimes the content of thoughts can be related to day-to-day worries and sometimes the content is related to not being able to sleep. Both types of worried thoughts can interfere with sleep.

So, what can you do about this all?

  • Associations are a very powerful thing. If you notice yourself worrying/thinking, get out of bed. You want to decrease the likelihood of your bed being a place where you worry. If you’re going to worry, do it elsewhere!
  • Have a wind-down routine. If you are busy until the moment you try to fall asleep, you may have a hard time turning your mind off. A wind-down routine that helps you relax (take a bath, read a book etc.) may help reduce some of that stress and give you time to think about important things before you get into bed.
  • Learn tools that help you differentiate between helpful and unhelpful worry. Problem solve where you can, and try to let go of things you cannot change - MindBeacon’s digital therapy programs can help you with this.
  • Exercise is a powerful tool in reducing general anxiety. Being active during the day can help tire you out, and may also help you calm your mind in the evening.
  • Keep a piece of paper next to your bed – if something important comes to mind, write it down on the piece of paper. Knowing you won’t forget it might prevent your mind from bringing it back up.

If you're struggling with sleep, MindBeacon is here to help with a variety of supports available in our Virtual Mental Health Therapy Clinic. If you are part of our Workplace Mental Health Program, please visit your company page for access to services covered by your workplace.

 

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Stronger Minds content is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to establish a standard of care with a reader, you should always seek the advice of your mental health professional, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. If you think you may have a medical or mental health emergency, call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department, or call emergency services immediately. You should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained herein. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information herein should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.