Do Worries Keep You Awake? 6 Tips To Cope

One of the most common causes of insomnia is worry. These lead us to a state of alertness that prevents us from falling asleep. Here are some tips to help when worries keep you awake.
Do Worries Keep You Awake? 6 Tips To Cope

Last update: 13 August, 2021

Most of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced problems sleeping. This is especially the case when the mind is cluttered with thoughts that produce worry, anxiety, fear, and stress. Fortunately, here, we’ll tell you what to do when worries keep you awake.

Generally, emotions prevent us from falling asleep. Their function is to keep us alert and prepared to face threats or avoid danger. The circumstances that put us in this state are usually associated with financial, work, family, and health problems.

At the same time, the worst part of this problem is that not being able to sleep because you’re worried produces even more worry. This causes a vicious circle. It’s been shown that, in the long term, this dynamic produces severe health problems, so it’s crucial that you intervene in time.

Tips to distract you from your worries in the evening

Let’s take a look at 6 useful tips to let go of nighttime worries and fall asleep. You can put any one of them into practice or combine several of them, depending on your needs and tastes.

 1. Keep a sleep schedule if worries keep you awake

Try to have a consistent sleep schedule. A common mistake that disturbs the rhythm of rest is staying up late at night and getting up late on weekends. Then, trying to go to bed at the usual time on Sunday nights.

Ideally, go to bed early and get up early. Try to be consistent with this schedule. That way, you’ll get your body used to it and it’ll prepare to sleep when it’s time.

A woman who can't wake up in the morning.
Constant changes in your sleep routine aren’t favorable. In such cases, it’s harder to wake up early every day.

Also read: Restful Sleep; How Much Do We Really Need?

2. Write down your thoughts before going to sleep

One way to get distressing thoughts out of your head is to write them down. Doing this activity minutes before going to bed can help bring relief and keep you from interrupting your rest during the night.

You can keep a worry diary, in which you write down all those situations that distress you. Studies show that this technique can be effective in managing stress and anxiety.

Just writing down what worries you can help. Also, review your notes after a few days and ask yourself if what was worrying you really happened. Over time, you’ll notice that most of them don’t come true.

3. If worries keep you awake, get out of bed

Although it may seem counterintuitive, the harder you try to fall asleep, the less chance you have of falling asleep. Because lying in bed trying to sleep unsuccessfully causes more anxiety.

In addition, your mind will associate the bed with this distressing situation. Consequently, the next time you go to sleep, you’ll remember the unpleasant experience.

In these cases, it’s best to get out of bed, leave the room, and engage in another activity until you experience sleep. Avoid doing things that trigger you, such as exercise, housework, or unfinished work. Instead, leaf through a magazine, color mandalas, knit, meditate, etc.

4. Avoid the use of electronic devices before bedtime

Hours before going to bed, avoid exposing yourself to the screens of electronic devices (cell phones, computers, tablets). Especially when worries keep you awake.

There’s proof that the light emitted by these devices alters biological rhythms and the secretion of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles.

5. Perform relaxation techniques when worries keep you awake

Every day, take a moment to relax. Avoid excusing yourself by saying that you’re too busy for it.

If you think so, then your need for a few minutes to yourself is even more urgent. This doesn’t have to take more than 20 minutes. The important thing is that you make it a habit.

Carry out techniques such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, guided visualization, or deep breathing exercises. Carry them out during the day and when it’s difficult for you to fall asleep because worries keep you awake.

It’s important that you don’t abandon these practices when you begin to sleep better. They’re also ways to prevent insomnia and anxiety.

6. Practice gratitude before going to sleep

When you go to bed, instead of focusing on everything negative and that produces anxiety in your life, think about the good that surrounds you, no matter how small it may be, and be grateful for it. It’s been proven that gratitude raises levels of well-being and satisfaction with our existence.

You can be grateful for things as simple as having a comfortable bed, good coffee in the morning, or having experienced a relaxing bath. Keeping them in mind and being grateful for them can help you sleep better. One study showed that people who consistently practice gratitude have better quality and longer sleep.

A woman with her hands over her heart, expressing gratitude.
If you manage to allocate a small amount of time to meditation before going to sleep, you may be able to release worries and get a restful rest.

Discover: Understanding the Four Stages of Sleep

When to see a professional if worries keep you awake

Lack of sleep, aggravated by anxiety, increases the risk of severe complications that affect health and general well-being, such as the following:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Muscle tremors and cramps

That said, if your worries have kept you awake for several days, you need to see a specialist. Don’t wait for the situation to get worse.

Going to a health professional will help identify the underlying causes and apply the most appropriate treatment for the case. This can be your trusted doctor, a specialist in sleep disorders, or a psychotherapist.

Good rest is a pillar of health and wellbeing

Sleep problems shouldn’t be underestimated. Once they appear, it’s crucial that you take the necessary measures to restore rest.

One way to do this is by implementing the tips we’ve just presented. However, if the problem persists, it’s best to see a professional. Insomnia can be an indicator of other more serious problems, such as an anxiety disorder or depression.

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