While we dream about getting back into bed from the moment we hear our alarm clocks in the morning, falling asleep at night can be challenging, and actually staying asleep can feel like downright fantasy. And a lot of it could be attributed to our not-so-dear old friend, anxiety.
Between worrying about tomorrow, panicking about your life choices, and cringing at that one time you called your teacher “mum”, anxiety can make it difficult to let you get the amount of sleep your mind and body needs.
Thankfully, we’ve rounded up the nightly rituals that will soothe anxiety and make drifting off to dreamland easier.
Doing yoga at night can actually help you wind down after a long day. Though certain types of yoga can be considered vigorous and should be avoided before bedtime, practicing a few gentle, relaxation-inducing postures can help ready you for a restful slumber.
Try it: Yoga poses like light stretches, forwards folds, and twists can calm the mind, lower stress levels and relieve tension in the body, making the soothing practice an effective natural sleep remedy.
Yoga with Adriene is a great place to start to learn some simple and effective routines.
A messy, cluttered bedroom can affect you more than you might think. In fact, a study conducted by New York’s St. Lawrence University revealed that a messy bedroom can lead to a poor night’s sleep and increased anxiety.
Licensed clinical psychologist, Sarah Schewitz, Psy.D., explains that the clutter in your room can create a cluttering effect in your mind. “The way your room looks definitely impacts anxiety. Clutter around the house or in your bedroom serves as a constant reminder of the ways you are falling behind.”
Try it: Your bedroom should be a place to rest and relax – a makeshift laundry room-slash-office, it is not. To help you catch the zzz’s you need, about 45 minutes before hitting the hay, make your bed, pick up everything off the floor, bin any trash, and fold any clothes that need putting away.
While many of us associate keeping a diary with being an angsty teenager, journaling is scientifically proven to be an effective stress management tool. The theory is that by writing, you add structure to anxious feelings, which in turn reduces stress and its physical impact on your body.
Try it: An easy way to get into journaling is by writing down three to five things that you have achieved in the day. Anything from “going outside” to “meeting a deadline” should go on the list. With time, it will become easier to remember positive moments, which can help soothe anxious thoughts.
Give yourself a facial massage
It’s 2020, and there’s probably not one person who doesn’t have a skincare routine (even Kourtney Kardashian’s son has one, and he’s 10). The idea of layering products that give our skin some much-needed TLC can be soothing in its own right. But, why not take it a step further?
Research shows that facial massages reduce anxiety and negative moods, and increase sympathetic nervous activity. We tend to hold emotional stress in our face (particularly in the jaw and at the temples), and eventually the tension can lead to pain which carries through to the spine and the rest of the body.
Try it: Following your skincare routine, gently roll a jade roller over your skin in slow, rhythmic motions. If you don’t have a jade roller, try massaging moisturiser onto the face with upward, outward circles using firm pressure.
Say no to screen time
“There is evidence to support that looking at screens that produce blue light right before bed makes it more difficult to sleep.” Blue light can negatively impact your circadian rhythm, your body’s natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. “It’s important to get a good night’s sleep to help manage anxiety, so anything that interferes with your sleep will likely only increase your anxiety,” Licensed clinical psychologist, Sarah Schewitz explains.
Try it: A good solution to sidestep the tempting beckoning of all those whatsapp messages and Instagram likes is putting your phone in another room. By knowing that you can’t reach for your phone, your mind rests a little easier, while the lack of blue light helps keep your sleep cycle in check.
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