The nocturnal anxiety is one of the most common manifestation when suffering from sleep disorder. It is a phenomenon that many people suffer from and that is characterized by symptoms such as worry and nervousness when we have to rest.
Eating a lot before going to sleep or consuming certain substances such as tobacco or alcohol are some of the triggers of this disorder when we should be sleeping. To avoid this, we bring you a list of 9 tips to treat nighttime anxiety, being treatments tested by the scientific community.
The most usual thing is that people who suffer from this type of alterations look for substances or medications that allow them to be calmer and sleep better.
However, we are rarely aware that most cases of nocturnal anxiety can be redirected through a series of guidelines, and the use of drugs or herbs is not always the best solution.
Anxiety is highly linked to what we do, think and feel, so depending on how we manage these three aspects during the previous moments of sleep we will be calmer or more nervous.
So, if we do not follow a series of basic guidelines to reduce levels of anxiety before going to sleep, it will be very difficult to get to sleep.
How to manage nighttime anxiety?
The nocturnal anxiety is a phenomenon that appears in certain moments of the day and that flows of a slow and progressive form.
In this way, during the previous moments to sleep, certain thoughts of nervousness, feelings of restlessness and beliefs that today we are going to spend another night in white can begin to appear .
These symptoms appear little by little but if we do not do anything they can end up taking over us and preventing us from falling asleep.
Likewise, as we get nervous we are noticing how our body adopts a more tense and anxious state, and very often we can get carried away by those sensations and adopt a series of behaviors that feed our nervousness.
So, in the same way that we can get carried away by our thoughts and develop a state of high anxiety, we can also adopt a set of guidelines that allow us to put a stop to it.
Normally, nighttime anxiety does not appear suddenly and in the end it is the fear of not sleeping that makes us nervous and unable to do so.
For this reason, as long as the nighttime anxiety is not caused by other organic or psychological pathologies, the best option to end it is to learn to manage it and perform a series of actions that break the vicious dream-anxiety cycle.
Obviously, getting it is not easy and nighttime anxiety does not disappear from one day to the next.
However, if you are constant and work daily to solve the problem, you will surely get it.
9 essential steps to treat it
1- Keep schedules constant
This aspect is probably the most important of all and the one that should be taken into greater consideration. The maintenance of schedules also does not only include the previous moments of sleep, but must extend throughout the day.
In order to understand why it is so important to maintain a schedule that allows us to sleep, it is necessary to adequately conceptualize what nocturnal anxiety is.
First of all, we must bear in mind that nighttime anxiety is not synonymous with insomnia, although this is the main symptom that causes nerves at bedtime.
The key to everything lies in that it is not that you can not sleep, but that being nervous prevents you from doing it.
This means that your body does want and demands a few hours of rest every day, however, anxiety takes care that these do not appear when they should appear.
For this reason, to be able to eliminate nighttime anxiety or what is the same, to be able to fall asleep at night, it is important that your body wants to sleep at those times.
This fact implies following a set schedule, so it is important that you get up and go to bed at the same time.
Waking up late on a Sunday can be a handicap too big for the same day at night nerves do not appear and you can not sleep.
Although taking naps or sleeping a few times brings many health benefits, in this case can be a great ally of nighttime anxiety, so they should be avoided completely.
2- Practice physical activity
In a very linked to the previous point appears the realization of physical activity.
The best way you can sleep at night and not give time to appear anxiety is to be tired.
Carrying a high pace of life in some cases may be sufficient but in others it may not.
Practicing a sport or other physical activity assures you a greater expenditure of energy, a greater fatigue of your body, a greater need to sleep and, in addition, allows that all these aspects are not accompanied by stress or nervousness.
Thus, physical activity calms you down and tires you, two basic aspects to be able to overcome nighttime anxiety.
Taking the habit of going for a jog, going to the gym or doing some sport, preferably during the early hours of the afternoon, is one of the measures you should take to be able to rest well at night.
3- Avoid overeating before going to bed
As we have seen, the first two guidelines to follow to treat nighttime anxiety include different time slots at bedtime.
We must bear in mind that before nightfall, we must have done something to predispose our body to rest. If we do not do it, we will have it much harder and the behaviors to do before going to bed will become more complicated.
However, in the moments before going to sleep it is very important that we perform a series of actions that will lead us to a state of calm and will keep us away from nighttime anxiety.
Among these actions highlights the feeding, which should be taken into account when we have problems sleeping.
Eating involves a process of digestion that forces our body to work and, therefore, to activate.
Making very copious meals can be a very bad idea, and eat shortly before going to sleep too.
In this way, it is important not to overeat at night and try to do it a few hours before going to bed.
On the other hand, avoid intense activities at night such as studying, working or doing household chores is another aspect that will allow us to reach the bed.
Taking a bath of warm water before and doing quiet activities after dinner will help you a lot to be calm.
4- Avoid alcohol or tobacco
In the same way as the previous point, it is important to avoid the consumption of substances that can increase your brain activation.
The Alcohol or snuff are two substances that many people consume before, during or after supper. A search of these substances at those times can increase your state of nervousness.
It is true that there are important personal differences in the effects obtained from these substances. There are people that a small glass of wine serves to calm down or smoke a cigarette after dinner provides the moment of greatest calm of the day.
Therefore, everyone must know how to manage what they eat at night and what effects it achieves, but it is generally discouraged to abuse these substances before going to sleep.
In any case, throwing cigarettes or alcohol to try to alleviate the anxiety of not being able to sleep can also be a bad idea.
5- Create a pleasant atmosphere
Another of the key factors that will dictate our ability to fall asleep is the characteristics of the site where we are going to do it.
If we get nervous before going to sleep, trying to rest in a noisy, light or disorganized environment can be totally impossible.
It is important that the bedroom is in optimal conditions, minimally collected, isolated from any type of noise, without lights that can distract us and with a calm and pleasant environment that allows us to be quiet.
6- Use the bed only to sleep and have intimate relationships
It is very important to take into account what we use our bed and what we do in the bedroom. Often people choose to have a television in front of the bed or a laptop on top.
However, we must be aware that the bed should be the place where you sleep and rest, so if you have nighttime anxiety it is recommended that you move away from it all kinds of distractions.
7- Relax before going to bed
The moments before going to sleep are the most delicate and in which nervous thoughts and anxiety states usually begin to appear.
For this reason, we must have a lot of tact with the activities that we carry out in those moments.
Starting from the premise that we are tired because we have maintained an adequate schedule and have done physical activity, and we are more or less relaxed because we have not dined in excess and we have given a good calming bath, we must continue with activities that prolong this state of calm.
The activities that can be carried out are many, and each person will feel better than others.
There is someone to read that reassures you a lot and helps you to fall asleep, while another person will be calmer to listen to music or chat with your partner.
Here each one must choose what is best for them and decide what they will do based on the level of calm they provide.
8- Reduction of negative thoughts
Another of the classic elements that make anxiety appear and that prevent us from sleeping is the appearance of negative thoughts.
These usually arise when one is already in bed and can manifest through multiple modalities.
Thoughts that today I will not sleep, worries about labor aspects, ruminations about personal problems or of any other type can appear at this moment.
To avoid this, it is important that when we go to bed, we redirect our thoughts on positive or neutral aspects and, above all, leave possible concerns for tomorrow morning.
Remember how well you spent the weekend, the interesting conversation you had with your friend or the great game your football team has played will be thoughts that will not make you nervous and allow you to sleep.
9- Deep breathing
When you are already in bed, a very effective technique to avoid distractions, worries and anxiety is to perform relaxation exercises through breathing.
This exercise will allow you to focus your attention on your own breathing and prevent any thoughts that can make you nervous and prevent you from sleeping.
- Breathe deeply through the diaphragm, directing your attention to the movement of the air that enters and leaves your belly.
- Release the air slowly through the nose and in each breath mentally repeats a word or phrase like “I’m calm” or “what a dream I have”
- At the same time, imagine a landscape or a mental image that transmits calm and serenity.
- Do not force yourself to sleep.
Finally, the last aspect you have to keep in mind is that you should not force yourself to sleep.
Most of the time the nocturnal anxiety appears by the pressure that generates one by the necessity to sleep.
I have to fall asleep because tomorrow I will be very tired, tomorrow I have a lot of work and it can not be that I am still awake, not sleeping will affect me …
This type of thoughts must be eliminated completely. Sleeping is not an obligation but a right, so it must be conceptualized as such.
Some days it will cost you less to sleep and others, but in none of them you have to self-press because if you do the only thing you will get is to be more nervous and have more difficulty falling asleep.