By Jenny Leung
Are you a night owl like me? I work best at night, sometimes staying up as soon as the sun sets.
But then there are those nights I really do need to get to sleep. And I just can’t. I’m overthinking. I’m anxious. Thoughts are swirling through my mind at a million miles per hour.
If that wasn’t enough, I also have a chronic dry skin condition, so I’m often left lying in an itchy ball of anxiety. As you can imagine, this stresses me out even more and leaves me restless for hours on end…
I’m sure we all know that sleep deprivation is bad for our health and should be tackled as early as practically possible. I’ve found that, as well as not feeling great, sleep deprivation can greatly affect our mind and body in so many ways. As well as affecting our ability to concentrate, sleep deprivation can increase your risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, lower your self-esteem, reduce your immunity, and cause skin problems and weight gain.
So, how can you help yourself through a restless night? If you don’t want to use pills, I’ve found that the following methods have helped me out in the past. Read on to find out more.
1) Get up out of bed
- Stop tossing and turning and get up out of bed.
- Stretch your legs, grab a glass of water, and cool down next to an open window.
- Take a bit of time to declutter your room, spritz some relaxing room spray, and air your bed.
2) Take a few deep breaths
Breathe in…and breathe out. Calm down your racing heart by following No Panic’s relaxation guide.
3) Try Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)
We all have the tendency to mindlessly check our phones when we can’t get to sleep. As well as concentrating on your breath to calm down your racing mind, you can use something called ASMR.
This involves watching meditative videos that lull your mind into a state of calm, and there are so many different types on YouTube. Have a browse online to see which type suits you best, then use earphones for the best effects.
4) Write your thoughts down
I like keeping my diary on my bedside table. If I ever need to empty out my mind, I can transfer my thoughts to my diary, keeping them safe and sound to deal with later.
5) Try Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
If you haven’t heard of EFT, get googling. This anxiety-boosting technique is quick and easy. It involves tapping points on your body while reassuring yourself that you are safe and that you accept yourself. I personally find it really effective for minimising my anxiety!
The final note
It’s not about forcing yourself to sleep; it’s about letting go and allowing your mind to enter a sleep cycle in its own time.
Of course, if you’re still struggling after a few weeks or months, consult your doctor or a sleep specialist.