Do you feel anxious at night?
This is more common than you might think. You may have mild symptoms throughout the day, but it isn’t until you’re laying in bed and finally able to relax that you start experiencing every feeling and emotion that has been put on the back burner all day. It’s while you’re resting in a quiet room that you suddenly feel the panic start to set in.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
You probably know by now that caffeine and alcohol aren’t the best choices for anyone with anxiety or panic disorder. Both caffeine and alcohol can speed up your blood pressure, cause you to feel jittery, and make your anxiety a whole lot worse. Not only should you reduce (or eliminate) caffeine during the day, it’s essential you’re not drinking soft drinks, coffee, or alcohol in the evenings. Try switching to decaf coffee or tea if you like to have hot beverages before settling down for the night.
Start a New Night-time Routine
Having healthy routines each day helps tremendously with mental health issues, including a night-time routine. Start a new routine in the evening that sets you up for a relaxing sleep with lowered anxiety. This might include coloring (there’s so many fun adult coloring books available) or reading while in bed, taking a long, hot bath with Epsom salt and essential oils added to the water, or enjoying some fun TV time with your family. Think of how you like to relax when you’re feeling anxious or panicked and try incorporating that into your night-time routine.
Participate in Relaxing Activities
It’s really important that you find activities that are relaxing and help you sleep, but also help with your anxiety. You might love dancing, but if it tends to get you hyped up, it might not be the best choice before you lay down in your bed. Instead, think of more calming activities, whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood with your dog and kids, or doing yoga shortly before you start your evening routine. If the weather is nice, you might want to try “earthing.”
Earthing is a method of resetting our circadian rhythms. Just take off your shoes and socks and stand on the ground for 10 to 20 minutes. It’s especially effective while watching the sun go down. The energy absorbed from the earth has a calming effect on our body with a multitude of health benefits — one of them being inducing a good night’s sleep.
Try Essential Oils to Relax
Essential oils can be great for you if you have severe panic or anxiety in the evenings. You can add them to your bath, light essential oil aromatherapy candles, or use drops of pure oils in an essential oil diffuser. Try out different relaxing scents until you find the ones that work best for you. Chamomile, lavender, rose, and ylang ylang are good ones to start with. Use one at a time or mix together to create your own relaxing blend. Be sure to use a brand you trust to avoid absorbing unwanted chemicals in your body. If you need help or suggestions, let me know. I have a variety of doTERRA essential oils that I use on daily basis for sleep and energy.
Turn Off or Turn Down Your Devices
The blue light that emits from cell phones, tablets and televisions sends a signal that tells your body you want to stay up. It activates your adrenal glands to excrete cortisol, a stress hormone. By powering down your devices or at least changing the setting to a softer, yellow light, you’re less likely to feel stressed about not being able to sleep when you’re ready to turn in for the night. I have my phone and tablet set up to automatically to dim the brightness from 7PM to 7AM.
Shift Your Focus
When I’m struggling to fall asleep, I do my best not to get worked up about it because that usually wakes me up even more. One of my favorite night-time habits to help me shift my focus is a body scan meditation. I basically start at my feet and work my way up to my head. Starting with my toes, I tune in to what’s going on and give them a little wiggle. Then I move on to the soles of my feet, heels, ankles, and the tops of my feet. All the while I’m checking in. Is there any pain, tension or discomfort? If the answer is yes, I take three deep breaths and envision the healing breath going down to the area that needs a little TLC. I continue with this process, stopping to take three, mindful breaths anytime I encounter an area that’s not 100 percent relaxed. By the time I reach the middle of my body, I’m usually asleep.
Some nights are better than others. Repeat the exercise as needed.
Like any new habit, give it a chance before you give up. It’s not going to happen overnight, but I promise you each night will get better.
Do you have a night-time ritual that helps you get to sleep? I’d love to hear about it. Please feel free to share in the comments section below.
Best wishes for a peace-filled, restful night’s sleep!