How to combat and manage sleep anxiety during Quarantine
Who wouldn’t love the idea of falling asleep as soon as you hit the bed? It surely is so calming and relaxing to not struggle for better sleep. But if you are like me who tosses and turns hours awaiting a normal sleep then you might be having sleep anxiety.
Some struggles cannot be explained to others because they really haven’t been in our shoes. I know how it feels to wait for not better but at least a normal sleep where my thoughts would just stop and let me rest. However, this is a super rare case and I have to drain myself the whole day to get sleep as soon as I jump in my bed.
I strongly feel having a good night’s sleep shouldn’t be this hard but when the things inside your head don’t stop, you have no other alternative than being wide awake in the moonless night staring outside your window and pleading some night fairy to bless you a better sleep.
I will be utterly honest here as I have been through this and am currently suffering through the same due to Quarantine. Suddenly there is the worry, tension, anxiety all over the world and it eats me up at night as if there lays a monster beneath my pillow who won’t ever let me sleep. However, I tried a few of the following tips and trying to manage my sleep anxiety at night and I know they will help you too.
How to combat and manage sleep anxiety during Quarantine
Dealing with sleep anxiety may not be a super new experience or something commonly spread but we all deserve peace and calm. Hence, here are the tools that I use for better night sleep and I hope they are useful to you as well.
1. Unplug before an hour
A strict NO to technology before an hour of your sleeping time. I seriously have struggled following this routine but trust me it is helping me at the end. I couldn’t just put my phone down before sleeping and used to binge watch some shows.
Also, this quarantine gave me another chance to ruin my sleep schedule and get hooked up on the shows. I used to think that if my eyes will be tired enough, I will fall asleep sooner without trying to yell at my thoughts to stop. But that wasn’t the case.
Even though my eyes got tired of binge-watch, my thoughts wouldn’t and that would ruin my entire next day too. Hence, I am following this practice of avoiding technology one hour before my sleep schedule.
Screens give off blue light, which suppresses melatonin. Melatonin controls our sleep-wake cycle and the decrease in the hormone makes it harder for you to be asleep at night.
2. Dive into reading
There is no such pleasure as a quiet peaceful night with a soul-nourishing book by your side. Just grab a book and dive into its depth, you will soon realize how someone’s story healed you. I also suggest having some self-help books in your TBR.
I am currently reading Super Attractor by Gabby Bernstein and it is helping me a lot to manifest peace and calmness.
Being an author, reading came to me as a boon to enhance my creativity + help me reduce my anxiety. Here is my book Silent Defiance: An open refusal to everything that hurts the soul on healing and self-love which you can grab from Kindle Unlimited for free.
3. Breathing exercise
The last few nights have been extremely heavy and I was having my worst sleep anxiety phase. During this time, I allowed myself to relax and practice breathing exercises. There is a scientific explanation of how breathing relaxes your mind.
The long breaths dress your mind from fight or flight conflict which then reduces your anxiety. I try this even during the day time because it’s such an easy and simple tool yet so efficient.
I follow this 5-5-5 chain. Inhale up to the count of 5, hold till 5 and then exhale slowly till the count of 5. I cannot stress enough on how this simple exercise makes me feel relaxed. Guided meditations followed by breathing exercises are also helpful for reducing sleep anxiety.
Here is some useful guided meditation for better sleep:
A meditation for easing into sleep via mindful.org
4. Keep your bedroom dark
If you are like me who hates even a beam of light in the bedroom then you totally need to cover up your room. I usually use these blackout curtains for extremely peaceful night’s sleep.
However, if you don’t light it too dark, maybe having those little fairy lights set up the mood to sleep.
Besides this, the Himalayan rock salt lamp also gives the aesthetic feel of relaxing sleep + it has proven benefits of reducing anxiety.
5. Avoid working on bed
Keep your bed solely for rest so your brain is wired to the idea of sleeping when you lay on the bed. Find some cozy nooks to work if you are working from home. I always have these super affordable succulents in my room and they give such a positive vibe.
6. Take a hot shower or bath
It is necessary to calm yourself before hitting the bed and nothing can beat the soothing feeling of a hot bath or shower. After a long tiring day, you definitely deserve some self-care and having a little candle + a book in a hot bubble bathtub.
I recently found this ” Twilight ” bomb which is so pretty and when you drop it in the tub, it gives the feels of the dreamy night sky.
7. Avoid frequent naps
The core reason I found that was hindering my peaceful night sleep was my habit of taking long afternoon naps. As I had early job hours, I used to come home by late afternoon all drained and the first thing I used to have in my mind was me hitting my bed as soon as possible. This used to ruin my night schedule and all I was left with the anxiety for not being able to sleep.
It really took me hard to be awake at noon and I do take a short nap that makes me feel fresh for my evening work. Try to have a quick short nap and have a fixed time for afternoon naps too.
8. Exercise daily
Have a regular habit of moving your body at least for around 40 mins a day. Due to quarantine, as we work from home, we tend to neglect our physical and mental health. It is also necessary to have frequent breaks while continuously working. Having 5 mins of a break for every 25 mins of your chair work is highly recommendable.
The daily workout has helped me get proper sleep during the night and is also helpful in reducing my sleep anxiety.
9. Avoid caffeine
Coffee is love, I know and who wouldn’t love having one while working long hours. I totally agree with how coffee makes us feel sane again but at the same time, it becomes super harmful for our sleep schedule.
Try avoiding or cutting off your caffeine intake during the evening and replace it with some fresh homemade banana smoothie or a cup of hot chocolate. Also remember, nothing is dangerous unless it becomes an addiction.
10. Listen to some calming pods
I am a huge fan of podcasts and I love how they stuff everything wonderful in such little time-span. Recently I have been hooked on Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls podcast which is like a fairytale for adults and I am so in love with it. Try finding some pods of your interest and listen to them while you doze off. Some have such a soothing melody that tucks you back to sleep.
11. Surrender to the Universe
When anything and everything fails to snatch me out from this sleep anxiety web, the only thing I rely on is the Supreme power. At times especially uncertain times, all we have is our faith beholding us. The little ray of shine yelling from behind the clouds that the sun is here and this too shall pass.
I just leave things on him because he knows what is best for me. All we need to do is have faith in his timings, he is our father and won’t ever let us down.
Surrendering to the Universe gives you the power to take a step back and relax.
This book taught me how to surrender and transform my fear into faith.
I deeply believe in Lord Krishna and hence I listen to this soothing dhun whenever I am attacked by sleep anxiety and hope you too find peace listening to it.
I know, life gets super hard sometimes but we really need just a single ray of hope to hold onto and remember that tomorrow will be better, that we will rise again.
[pb_blockquote author=”Sonia Motwani”]Sometimes, the only way you can breathe is by letting faith drive through your journey of struggles.[/pb_blockquote]