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Anxiety This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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Sleeping off anxiety - December 4th 2016, 10:43 AM

I was diagnosed with mild anxiety a few weeks ago, though I guess I've always known I had it. It causes me a lot of stress, especially at night. I keep overthinking about things, which usually results in heart palpitations and sometimes even panic attacks. There was one night recently where I was up all night and felt absolutely terrible the next day. Luckily it was during the summer holidays so I didn't have college that day but it was still awful. I usually struggle for sleep at the weekend when I haven't been doing much. My dad told me it is because I am on my laptop quite late at night and I should come off at least an hour before I go to bed. I do try to spend less time online but when my friends are busy and don't want to meet up, there is really nothing else I can do. I sometimes take Nytol tablets to help me sleep but I often forget to take them and I don't want to become dependent on drugs. Are there any other ways I can help improve my sleep and stop overthinking at night?


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Re: Sleeping off anxiety - December 4th 2016, 08:44 PM

Hey there,

If you spend a lot of time over thinking and worrying about things, perhaps it might help to write in a journal before bed? Then when you feel the thoughts coming back, tell yourself that you've already written them down and you'll worry about it the following day (then actually make the time the following time to worry about things).

You mention that you usually struggle on the weekends when you aren't doing anything. I'm wondering if you get much exercise on the weekends? Perhaps going for a walk, or taking up a sport or generally being productive might help you later on in the evening to feel more tired.

It is true that being on your laptop late at night might make you feel less tired (the light from the screen tricks your brain into thinking it's still day time) and so would cause you to not fall asleep easily. Though I do understand that it can be difficult when your friends are busy. Perhaps you can have one evening a week where you don't go on the laptop before bed?

It's understandable that you wouldn't want to rely on Nytol tablets. Other things you could try is listening to calming/relaxing music, taking a warm bath with candles and fragrances like lavender (can help with anxiety).

Hope others can give helpful suggestions too


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Re: Sleeping off anxiety - December 6th 2016, 10:32 PM

I second exercising- or at the very least getting out and about and doing something if you have a day with nothing planned. In my experience, it's very easy to lie down at bedtime and try to sleep and for your mind to start racing and going over things because you're not quite tired enough to fall asleep you know? I guess I described that pretty badly, but I always find if I'm really tired I'm generally okay on a nighttime but if I try to sleep and I'm not tired, I'll toss and turn and worry and get myself all worked up over nothing!

If you're going to use your laptop late at night, you can download screen dimmers. I use mine when I have a mild migraine, so I can't say personally if it'll work for sleep, but it's worth a shot right?

Writing in a journal is also a good idea, any thoughts that go through your head. You can also get apps on your phone that let you write down your thoughts, then it makes you go back over them and identify unhealthy thinking patterns ("I'm going to screw up tomorrow" is fortune telling) and change it into something healthier ("How do I know I'm going to screw up? What's the evidence for that?). In the long term, this might help change the way you think. It's part of CBT which is great for anxiety. An example of this is pacifia, which I use, but I'm sure there's loads and you can do this in a journal, just without the prompts.

Another thing you can do when you're worrying about something is just to repeat to yourself that you'll handle it. So what if you say something stupid? You'll handle it. So what if x,y, z happens? You'll handle it. Try to let that be a full stop and just repeat it to yourself, don't let yourself keep thinking what if. There is no what if- you'll handle it

If you find yourself struggling to sleep, I'd give it half an hour and get up. You don't want to give yourself time to just lie there and stress about not being able to sleep on top of everything else. Get up, have a warm drink, just walk around for a bit or read a book. Wait until you're a bit more tired and try again. Even if you end up staying later than you wanted to, if you get up early in the morning then the next night hopefully you'll sleep even better!



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Re: Sleeping off anxiety - December 8th 2016, 09:09 PM

Thank you both of you! I found taking a walk in the evening helps though that has been a bit difficult to do recently as it has been getting dark early, but I was thinking of maybe taking up swimming again after Christmas. I'll look into the other things you've suggested too. Thanks again!


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Re: Sleeping off anxiety - December 9th 2016, 08:36 AM

Hey,
If you can't go out for a walk, because it gets dark, maybe you could dance a bit in your room? Or perhaps some calisthenics like pushups, crunches etc etc. That could help?
And going to swim after Christmas sounds like a brilliant idea!


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Re: Sleeping off anxiety - December 9th 2016, 06:58 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by aguy View Post
Hey,
If you can't go out for a walk, because it gets dark, maybe you could dance a bit in your room? Or perhaps some calisthenics like pushups, crunches etc etc. That could help?
And going to swim after Christmas sounds like a brilliant idea!
Good idea! Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.


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anxiety, anxiety at night, anxiety attacks, insomnia, night, sleep, sleep deprevity, sleep problems, sleeping, sleepless

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