At the time of writing this blog post, it’s just gone midnight and I already know I won’t be falling asleep anytime soon. As someone who has struggled with sleep their whole life, I was just getting used to the whole insomnia routine, when along came sleep anxiety. It’s only been about six months that I’ve been struggling with sleep anxiety. I don’t have it every night, in part, because I’m slowly coming to terms on how to cope with it.
Sleep anxiety for those who don’t know (I didn’t know before) is the anxiousness felt around the time of going to bed. You can be absolutely exhausted from your busy day, but wide awake when it comes to bedtime. It starts off as simple as your to-do list for the following day and can soon spiral into concerns about fears, over-analysing past or unchangeable situations, embarrassing memories and even scary hypotheticals. Symptoms can include increased heart rate, inability to control thoughts, breathlessness and sometimes, even a raised temperature.
It can be hard to rewire your brain to remember that you’re actually safe in your bedroom because it’s too busy being in internal crisis mode to relax. Sometimes when I feel myself in such a deep hole, I have to physically get out of bed, turn the light switch on and talk myself down. These days, I’m able to recognise the symptoms a lot quicker and below are some of the ways I’ve found to be useful to help with my sleep anxiety.
Aromatherapy, more specifically, diffusing essential oils has been a huge stress reliever and helps to keep my bedroom environment feeling safe. A few of the individual essential oils I’ve found to be the most useful in terms of sleep and anxiety support are lavender, wild orange, vetiver, juniper berry and cedarwood. Every night about 30 minutes before I get into bed, I put five or so drops of whatever blends I’m drawn to into my diffuser and set it for 10 hours, intermittently.
Music & Podcasts
Audio is a great distraction for my brain as it allows be to focus on the someone’s voice or sound, rather than uncontrollable thoughts. I chop and change between using my own Spotify Meditation playlist and the Relax Melodies app, which you can customise your own sound soother. I also often listen to a podcast and let it run until I fall asleep. If this is the case, I will always pick a podcast that has a positive and lighthearted tone to the conversation, rather than something heavy which could make the situation even worse. My current favourites are Show + Tell and Seize the Yay.
Whilst I am no doctor and always recommend consulting your GP before adding any supplement into your diet, these are two supplement products that have worked for me. dōTERRA Serenity Softgels are a restful complex of lavender, lemon balm, passionflower and German chamomile, and are designed to provide relief of occasional sleeplessness and support the ability to fall asleep more easily. The Serenity Softgels are incredible for calming my down and helping me to relax before bed. The other sleepy supplement I use occasionally is Swisse Ultiboost Sleep, which supports calming the mind and relieves nervous tension and sleeplessness, and main ingredients are magnesium, valerian and licorice.