8 Super Easy Ways to Fall Asleep Fast (when Anxious)

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Today you’ll learn some super easy ways to fall asleep when anxious.

Nobody likes lying in bed and being unable to fall asleep.

But with the tips in this article, you’re on your way to a great night’s sleep.

Lets dive in!

THIS is why you feel anxious at night

Isn’t it weird that when you finally lie in bed to rest, you start to worry and feel your anxiety increase? 

Actually, no… and here’s why…

Most (anxious) people are very good at distracting themselves from anxious feelings and stress during the day. Whenever they feel an uncomfortable sensation in their body, they grab their phones and try to distract themselves with cute kitten or puppy videos. 

Do you do this as well? Are you someone who goes to the toilet with their phone to scroll, because being alone with yourself is too boring or uncomfortable? (To be honest: I did that.)

This creates a problem: not spending time with yourself.

What happens when you don’t spend enough time with yourself? You build up stress, don’t deal with worries and don’t check in with your feelings. This happens when you avoid your feelings, distract yourself and don’t spend time with yourself a few times a day to check in.

And when you finally turn off the lights to sleep… all these unprocessed thoughts, emotions and unfinished business from the day can finally reach you.

And this results in worry, overthinking and feelings of discomfort right before bed… because NOW you are forced to be with yourself and your build-up stress from the day.

Your mind thinks: “Hey, I wanted to reach you the entire day, but you didn’t listen. I see you have time now, so these are all the concerns I had today!”

And BOOM: your mind starts to run, you worry, you feel anxious and your thoughts spin out of control until you worry about everything. 

Your mind notices you feel stressed and releases cortisol and adrenaline in the hope you fix your problems, but all you want to do is sleep. This could even make you worry about not being able to fall asleep… a common one!

Your mind thinks: “Hey! There is a reason I flush cortisol and adrenaline through your body. It’s to help you take action… but all you do is try to sleep!”

You’ll notice it becomes hard to sleep, because of these stress chemicals. And when this happens regularly, you have linked “worry-time” with going to bed.

To successfully fall asleep, we have to train our brain to worry elsewhere and associate our bed with sleeping, instead of worrying. 

Before I forget it… do you recognize the following symptoms of sleep anxiety?

According to Cleveland Clinic, they are:

  • Feelings of being overwhelmed.
  • Inability to concentrate.
  • Irritability.
  • Nervousness.
  • Restlessness.
  • Sense of impending danger or doom.
  • Digestive problems.
  • Fast heart rate.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Sweating.
  • Tense muscles.
  • Trembling.

Now you know what causes sleep anxiety, it’s time to give you 8 powerful tips to fall asleep fast when anxious.

Here’s the first one!

Tip #1: Slow down during the day

One of the most important things you can do to overcome your sleep anxiety and fall asleep faster is to slow down during the day.

Let me repeat this: slow down during the day!

If you distract yourself from unwanted thoughts, feelings and worries… all you are doing is saving them up to deal with them all at once, the moment you want to go to sleep.

Why is that? 

Because suppressing and repressing your thoughts and feelings may give you temporary relief, but all this does is creating internal pressure (stress) that comes out when you are forced to be with yourself: the moment you want to sleep.

Brianna Wiest explains this very well:

“Your emotions are like the notifications on your phone. When you check them a notification shows up, you can never get things done in life. But when you ignore them forever, you’ll be overwhelmed by a 100.000 notifications the moment you grab your phone. The key is to check in a few times a day and let things come up.”

Brianna Wiest

Slow down during the day. Just sit with yourself a few times a day to just “feel and think”. You have to deal with your worries, thoughts and emotions anyway… so why not in digestible bits, instead of all at once when going to bed.

Tip #2: Resolve your worries

A part of slowing down during the day is working out your worries. Ignoring your worries is often time-consuming and doesn’t work.

It’s like pushing a balloon under water. It takes a lot of energy and if you stop doing it, the balloon immediately comes up again.

Worry is the same.

To give you a better understanding of what worry is and how you overcome it, make sure you read this article where I explain you everything about overcoming worry.

But if you don’t have time to read the article on overcoming worries, I want to give you at least the following tip.

Instead of worrying the entire day… or to not worry at all: why not schedule some worry time?

This means setting aside 10-20 minutes a day to just worry.

If you are a chronic worrier who worries 24/7… save your worries for your worry time. And if you try to not worry during the day and are now faced with your worries before bed, try to worry in your worry time, instead of when you are trying to sleep.

Doing this during the day will help you with unpairing worry time with bedtime. You literally train your mind to worry elsewhere.

And if you lie in bed and want to worry, tell yourself you’ll worry about it during worry time the next day.

Just write down your worries and tell yourself to think about them tomorrow. That way you don’t need to resolve them when lying down to fall asleep.

This is just a brief tip from the full article on how to overcome worry.

But you need more, so let’s go to tip #3!

Tip #3: Develop a nightly routine

Now you are going to associate your bed with sleeping, instead of worrying… it is time to turbo-charge this process.

And that is why you need a nightly routine. 

A nightly routine is like a morning routine. Instead, the morning routine is your ritual for preparing you for a great day, while a nightly routine helps you prepare for a great night.

Around 60 minutes before you want to go to bed, try to create a routine that helps you prepare yourself for sleep. 

This could be:

  • Reading fiction
  • Taking a warm bath
  • Eliminating blue light (phones and other screens)
  • Meditating

Having a ritual to relax before sleep is a great way to de-activate your stress response and feel more relaxed.

But you also need the following tip…

Tip #4: Work on the cause of your anxiety

In my Limited Time Free Masterclass I explain how important it is to work on the cause of your anxiety. For most people this is the build up of long-term stress, caused by unhealthy thought patterns.

When you are anxious for long periods of time, your body becomes sensitive to stress. For the silliest and smallest triggers, your brain can activate the stress response.

The goal of overcoming anxiety is to decrease the intensity of your threat response (sympathetic nervous system) and to further engage your rest and digest system (parasympathetic nervous system).

The following article will help you with doing exactly that.

But a few tips to get started are to eliminate coffee and alcohol, start exercising, increase your intake of healthy foods and practice destressing during the day. Think of practising mindfulness or meditation.

But what if you still feel anxious in bed? 

That’s why you need tip #5!

Tip #5: Practice the Art of Allowance

Most people do the following whenever they feel anxious before sleep:

“Oh god… I am feeling anxious again. How can I ever sleep? I am feeling so anxious right now that I cannot even fall asleep. Now I miss an entire night of sleep again!”

They try to force their anxiety away. 
They get frustrated for being anxious again.
And worst of all: they are angry at themselves!

Being angry at yourself, trying to force anxiety away and being frustrated don’t help you fall asleep! Instead, they make it very hard to fall asleep.

What to do instead? The opposite.

Allow your anxiety to be present whenever you start to feel it. Tell yourself it is OK, that you are fine and that you allow it to be present.

You don’t do this because you like the feeling. You do this because you now show your mind that anxiety isn’t something to be scared of.

Doing this will stop fueling your anxiety and help you win the tug of war you are playing with your anxiety… which you can win quickly by taking your hands off the rope… instead of pulling harder. 

This article explains the strategy in full depth. I highly recommend you read it next!

Now it is time for tip #6!

Tip #6: Tell yourself the following things

If you find yourself anxious when trying to sleep, there are some things you can tell yourself to ease your anxiety.

“Even when I am just lying in bed… I am also resting.”

Tell yourself that just lying in bed also makes your body rest. Don’t pressure yourself to fall asleep as quickly as possible. And don’t believe that the only way to rest is to sleep 9 hours straight.

You can eliminate the worry of “not being able to fall asleep”, by telling yourself that even lying down also means you are resting.

Tip #7: Make your bedroom more comfortable

The most practical tip of this article is to make your bedroom more comfortable.

How can you expect yourself to fall asleep quickly when your bedroom is far from comfortable?

Don’t worry: you don’t need to buy a new, expensive bed to make it more comfortable to sleep. 

According to Harvard, here are some things you can do:

  • Remove clocks from your bedroom: you don’t need to know it is 3 A.M. when waking up in the middle of the night. 
  • Eliminate light: make it as dark as possible in your bedroom. Too much light makes your brain believe the sun is going to rise. 
  • Make it cooler: when the temperature in your bedroom is too warm, it becomes harder to fall asleep and to stay asleep. A temperature around 18 degrees Celsius is perfect.  
  • Buy a better bed: sleeping on a comfortable bed is important. Do you believe it is time for an upgrade? Or will buying a new matrass solve the problem?

Sleep anxiety

Tip #8: Listen to Guided Meditations

The last thing you can do to fall asleep when anxious is to listen to a guided meditation. During a guided meditation you embark on a creative journey to tropical beaches, calm forests or float away on the clouds.

They help you to activate your creativity that first allows you to daydream, and then to fall asleep.

Often these meditations also focus on practising muscle relaxation. Practising muscle relaxation in combination with deep breathing, is a great way to show your mind you are safe and that there is no need to worry or feel stressed. I highly recommend the Honest Guys on YouTube as a great resource for these meditations.

Why do meditations and muscle relaxation work? Because if you would be in real danger… you wouldn’t relax your muscles and breathe very calm and deep.

Takeaway

You now understand why you are feeling anxious before bed. It’s completely normal to feel anxious during the night, because you are forced to be with yourself. It is also harder to distract yourself, which makes you morelikely to finally face your unresolved issues in the form of worry.

When you use the tips explained above, you’ll notice that it will be a lot easier to fall asleep at night. 

If you want to learn more about freeing yourself from anxiety, then watch my FREE Limited Time Training before it expires.

Recommended to Read Next

How to Stop Worrying and Enjoy Life Again (The Beginner’s Guide)
3 Easy Steps to Calm Down Your Anxiety (Under 5 Minutes)
5 Easy Steps to Treat Generalized Anxiety (and Worry Less)

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Author: Wouter Manders

Wouter is a mindset coach from The Netherlands. For many years he suffered from depression and anxiety. It gave him the motivation to coach people on overcoming their anxiety, out of first hand experience. With more than 6000 blog visitors a month he helps many people on their road to having less anxiety.

About Wouter

Wouter is a mindset coach from The Netherlands. For many years he suffered from depression and anxiety. It gave him the motivation to coach people on freeing themselves from anxiety. With more than 6000 blog visitors a month he helps many people on their journey towards less anxiety.

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