Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Angela Vaz
I used to believe I had Insomnia growing up.
I only slept 3-4 hours a day at the most, and I thought it was normal all my life.
At one point in my mid-twenties, I discovered that overworking myself physically by cooking, running around, and taking long walks with my dogs was the answer.
It wasn’t – it works, but it’s also not a permanent solution.
Overworking yourself is not a good way to feel sleepy, it ends up adding a lot of stress to your mind and body.
But the thoughts don’t stop – I know what you’re going through.
After attending therapy and completing my Human Relationships and Psychology degree, I learned that falling asleep isn’t as hard as I thought.
I was able to reverse years of damage and rewire my brain completely with just a few methods.
And in this post, I want to talk to you about them.
This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may make a commission at no extra cost to you if you decide to click on a link and purchase something. Click here to read the full disclaimer.
Why is my anxiety worse at night?
Let me lay it down straight for you.
You are constantly busy.
Even if you’re not – your brain isn’t inactive, nor do you let it wander.
Our feelings, emotions, and thoughts need a release.
But most of us try to numb our brains with social media if we are not working.
Meaning that if you aren’t cooking, cleaning, working on a laptop, or talking to people, you are doing things like scrolling through social media, daydreaming, or watching TV.
You only quieten your mind right before you try to sleep.
But now, it doesn’t want to stay quiet.
It wants to think, feel, and express itself.
And that’s what it does.
Everything you wanted to think or feel was nubbed during the day.
This is why it’s very important to take breathers during the day.
And it’s okay if you didn’t have time to slow down – I’m going to tell you how to do it before you sleep at night.
7 Tiny Ways to Calm Your Anxiety Right Before Sleeping
I know this term is overused.
But let me explain.
Meditation doesn’t mean you try to quieten your mind.
It simply means letting your thoughts happen without you engaging with them.
Your brain is going to replay certain scenarios, conversations or past events.
Just don’t engage.
You can meditate either lying down in the dark (this is what I do) or you can sit. The choice is yours.
But just watch – watch your thoughts.
Don’t try to analyze them; just let it do its thing.
You can do this for 5-10 minutes.
But doing this every day will help your body and mind realize that you’re actually listening to it – that you’re not trying to control or curb your thoughts.
And this will calm your anxiety.
Please don’t expect to calm your anxiety in 1 day – it will take time, but you will begin to feel the effects of meditation within a few days.
When I lost my mom and had to sleep in the same room as my dad because he couldn’t go back to his room (it was too traumatizing for him), I was so upset.
We were stuck together because of the lockdown and I couldn’t grieve in peace alone.
All I had – was meditation.
And this helped me calm the bejeezus down.
I would let my mind play thoughts, I’d watch it overplay images and videos of my mom, and I understood that I was in pain.
Meditation honestly worked for me – For my anxiety and my pain.
It helps you realize that you’re but a small speck in this giant universe, that everything that happens is impermanent and nothing will ever stay the same. It helps you make peace with whatever is happening.
Meditation is a natural pill for anxiety.
Give it a try, and be patient with it.
I also recommend doing Headspace for guided meditation if you want a voice talking to you and instructing you while you meditate – I still use it, and I love it.
2. Fight anxiety with logic
I would often worry about events happening the next day.
And I’ve found that telling myself this line helps:
“I am in bed now and there is nothing I can do right this moment to change tomorrow’s events. So, I need to be okay with this. If I get some good sleep, I can wake up early and work on everything I am worried about. But this worry isn’t helping me now so it doesn’t make sense to stress about it.”
I got this tip from a very good book – How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
I highly recommend buying it because it’s extremely sound.
And saying this line helps ease my anxiety – I realize that the best solution is to sleep and it sort of stops my mind from overthinking or thinking of a situation in loops.
3. Make a plan for tomorrow
As an organizer, I need some semblance of a routine.
My morning routine helps me feel accomplished because I have finished taking the dogs for a walk, working out, reading and practicing my language lessons all before 7:00 am.
So, another additional thing I do to help me feel confident during the day is to make a short plan for tomorrow.
I use Apple Notes just to make a to-do list for the next day.
And seeing my list at a glance before I sleep gives me that much needed assurance that I won’t be scrambling around the next morning searching for things to do.
So, make a list.
You can also read my post on how to make a routine stick!
4. Don’t look at social media before you sleep
First of all, looking at a screen before you sleep actually reduces the hormone Melatonin in your body – Melatonin is a hormone that you release when it’s time to go to bed.
But the blue light in phones tells your body that it’s still daylight.
So you don’t feel tired when that hormone gets delayed or doesn’t release.
This is why it’s important not to look at phones before bed.
And most importantly, don’t look at social media.
When I was down (after my breakup), I’d often look at photos of people I knew getting married, and I’d feel so downtrodden.
But you must realize that everyone puts their best life on Instagram – what you see isn’t their whole reality.
So, do not even attempt to get on board that train – it will simply add stress.
5. Have a night-routine
I don’t say this because this is a girly thing to do.
It actually tells your body and mind that it’s time for bed.
Just like how you are so accustomed to brushing your teeth right when you wake up – your body will soon get used to your nightly routine before sleeping.
It will help tell your mind and body that it’s time to shut your eyes.
So, do 2-3 things before sleeping every day.
- Read a book
- Have a calming skincare routine
- Maybe wash your feet (I love doing this; it relaxes me for some strange reason)
- Cuddle with your pets/loved ones (I tuck my dogs in, and it’s very soothing)
Do anything but avoid looking at a screen.
6. Be kind to yourself
I need you to know that sh*t happens to everyone.
None of us sleep blissfully.
Our lives are full of information overload. There are things to worry about that are thrown in front of us, thanks to the media.
So we cannot stay away from stress – we have to deliberately attempt to shut the media out so that we can focus on our lives.
Phones have made anxiety worse.
Back in the day, my father never called his mom every day to update her about his status, but right now, I am expected to do so even though I’m 31.
So, as tempting as it might be to know everything about everything – avoid the temptation.
Every time you say no to something, you are saying HELL YES to peace of mind.
Be kind to yourself and be picky with your time.
This means being able to draw healthy boundaries and giving yourself more time.
And it’s okay – it’s okay to rest a little more, it’s okay to be a little less social.
You do you.
Listen to your body and mind and do what you feel is best for you.
7. Stop going in loops
Let’s say you’re having a negative thought.
Now you have a counter thought saying:
“Okay, there is nothing you can do about this now; you’re already in bed – let’s think about this tomorrow, and I’ll deal with it then.”
But your first thought replays again and around and around you go.
It takes time for us to realize we are repeating ourselves, but the moment you do – stop.
Tell yourself very gently, “I’m repeating myself. This won’t do.” And stop overthinking.
Remember how you noted that you would deal with it the next day?
Keep that in mind, and stop overthinking.
I highly recommend reading The Overthinking Cure – I picked up this book from the airport, and it helped me with my overthinking and anxiety.
I hope this helped.
What’s your favorite way to calm down your anxiety? If you resonate with any of these methods, let me know in the comments below!
Here are a few more posts you may like:
- How to trust the process let go
- How to focus on the present moment
- 13 genuine ways to make every day count
- How to let go of the past even though it’s painful
- How to make friends in your 30s (What I did + photos)
- 49 things to do at home when bored with friends
- 9 reasons why friends come and go
- 25 personal goal examples to inspire you to create your own
- 7 healthy habits to develop in your 30s (for women)
- 13 polite ways to handle unsolicited advice
- How to say no without feeling crappy
- 13 ways to feel loved when nobody loves you
- 23 ways to let loose and be yourself
- Finding peace: how to stop thinking about someone who hurt you
- 12 genuine reasons to let go of a friend and how to do it peacefully
- How to forgive yourself for hurting someone