Updated: Aug 10, 2021
What is sleep anxiety?
Sleep Anxiety is defined as fear or stress around going to sleep. Most people feel sleep anxiety because they have experienced the inability to sleep, to rest, and to recover. So, when night comes, they experience extreme amounts of anxiety, stress, and fear that they might not sleep.
So, which came first, the anxiety or the loss of sleep? Research has shown that sleep and anxiety have a bidirectional relationship. This means that anxiety can interrupt a good night’s rest, but unrest can also increase anxiety.
Some Things to Implement for a Peaceful Night’s Rest:
Melatonin: Lots of people have tried to supplement with melatonin. The reality is, synthetic melatonin is a hormone. And increasing unnecessary hormones can have more consequences than benefits. So, before you reach for the melatonin, there are natural ways to increase your melatonin:
NATRUAL melatonin production:
o Increase foods like: Tart cherries, goji Berries, Eggs, Fish, and Nuts.
o Increase natural day light: Spending 10 minutes in natural day light (especially in the morning) can increase your production of melatonin when the sun sets.
o Decrease or Limit blue light: Cut down computer/phone time at least 1 hour before bed time or think about buying some blue light blocking lens.
Magnesium: Magnesium is literally the EVERYTHING supplement. Magnesium not only helps with sleep, but it helps with muscle cramps (including during menstruation), anxiety, stress, bowel movements, and more. Magnesium occurs naturally in our food sources.
o Increasing foods like pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, cashews, black beans, avocados, rice, bananas, cocoa powder, salmon and broccoli could be very beneficial. The only issue, our foods aren’t what they used to be!
o The BEST way to make sure you are getting adequate sources of magnesium, take a supplement!
Recommended Supplement: Magnesium (Glycinate) – Brand: Pure Encapsulations
Begin with one supplement at a time. Increase gradually. Once stool becomes loose, then you know how much
Breath Work: Breath work is one of essential tools to be used in all of mental, physical, and emotional health. Breath work can be done at any time in any place. Here is an easy exercise to use:
Inhale to a count 5-7
Hold for a count to match
Exhale to a count to match
Hold for a count to match
When your mind starts to wander, gently bring your attention back to the counts, to your breath. This will trigger your parasympathetic nervous system (your rest and digest system). Allowing you calm and cool your body down, in preparation to rest.
Yoga: Yin yoga before bed can increase circulation to the brain and increase breath awareness. Allowing the body to come to full relaxation.
NEVER exercise at night! This can increase your cortisol levels at night which can increase sleep disturbance.
Stop drinking caffeine by 10am or completely cut out.
Journal gratitude before bed.
Written by Kaitlin Naatjes, LCPC.
Please NOTE: Always talk to your primary care physician when introducing new supplements or medications. I am not a licensed prescriber of medication.