Remember when it was cool to skip out on sleep? Whether you were pulling an all-nighter to fine-tune a presentation or staying up to watch the sunrise on a first date, not sleeping was something to brag about. We made movies about it (hello, Before Sunrise), and wrote songs about it (looking at you Beastie Boys). No longer. It is well-reported that sleep is essential to our wellbeing, and not getting enough of it is adding to the epidemic of anxiety in our country.
You see, anxiety is frequently connected to sleeping problems. Excess worry and fear make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Sleep deprivation can worsen anxiety, spurring a negative cycle.
So what can you do when anxiety is making it harder to fall asleep—and stay asleep—at night?
The road to banishing nighttime anxiety begins the moment you wake up.
Why Do You Get Anxious At Night?
You may feel on top of the moon when you first wake up, but as the day goes on, you find your confidence fades, and anxiety slowly creeps in. By the end of the day, your stress is at an all-time high, and you don’t know what went wrong.
Your anxiety is worse at night for several reasons:
- Time is a subject that makes us all a little nervous. Running out of time and feeling constrained to 24 hours is nerve-wracking. We can get pretty stressed when we feel that we’ve misused our days or let a few hours go to waste.
- At night, you can feel limited and constrained. The gym or your go-to food spot may be closed, and your neighbors have already made a fuss over nighttime vacuuming. Not being able to do whatever, whenever, can easily brew anxious feelings.
- Uncertainty is uncomfortable. At night, we start to think about the coming days, but not everything is as predictable as we’d hope. Not knowing what’s ahead can create anxiety that’s hard to overcome if we’re not equipped with the proper tools
It makes sense to struggle with anxiety at night, but it doesn’t make sense to let it fester without intervention. By adjusting your routine to incorporate tools that support your mind and body, you can have more restorative evenings and productive days.
No More Nightly Nerves
#1. Close Today’s Chapter and Outline Tomorrow’s
Many of us have an idea of what we should be getting done within the day, but sometimes our responsibilities trickle into the evening and even the next day. An overwhelming list of what feels like never-ending to-dos is a natural trigger of anxiety, especially at night.
The evening is for winding down and replenishing your body with some proper high-quality sleep, not thinking about all the things you “should” be doing. Anxious thoughts can mess with your mental health and keep you in an unproductive rut. Come to terms with what today was and what tomorrow will be; here’s how in two steps:
- Write down all the good that you did today. If you had a good conversation with your mentor, if you went to the gym, if you cleaned out your restroom cabinets, write it down.
- Make a game plan for tomorrow. Write down the top three things you want to accomplish tomorrow, and make sure they’re the first things you do when you wake up.
By positively reflecting on your productivity, you’ll be able to better rationalize how well you used your waking hours. Knowing that you used your time wisely will help you feel proud of yourself. Laying out what you’re going to accomplish tomorrow will give you peace of mind that your tasks will get done.
#2. Flip Your Switch to Night Mode
Just because it’s night doesn’t mean you have to stop working or checking things off your to-do list, but you should learn to separate your day and night time tasks. Try to wrap up all of your daytime duties before the sun sets, and dedicate the night to the other components of your life. When the lines are blurred between night and day, your mind and body can struggle to distinguish between the two.
Use the night to complete your other responsibilities like laundry, meal-prepping, and getting in a jog. When you finish the tasks that make up your nightly routine, you can go to bed with a clearer mind. Also, having a nightly game plan can keep you from experiencing nightly jitters. Instead of thinking about all the things you could be getting done, you’ll be getting them done.
#3. Take Supportive Supplements
We often hope that a healthy diet and exercise regime will be what our bodies need to combat anxiety and restless nights, but that’s simply not the case. Permit yourself to turn to natural supplements that are designed to give your mind and body the support it needs to function at its best.
Dream is a deep sleep supplement formulated with active ingredients that relax your mind and body for a restful night’s sleep.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that plays a role in regulating your sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythm. Melatonin levels in your body increase as the sun sets and decrease as the sun rises. Frequent changes in your environment and irregular exposure to sunlight may mess with your circadian rhythm to the point where melatonin supplements are needed to help you sleep better.
Chamomile is a plant used to calm the mind and promote sleepiness. Some preliminary studies even suggest that a chamomile dietary supplement might be helpful for generalized anxiety disorder.
L-theanine is an amino acid found primarily in mushrooms and black and green teas. Studies have shown that using l-theanine for sleep is reasonable given its ability to reduce your heart rate, stress, and anxiety-like symptoms.
Valerian root is an herb used as an anti-anxiety and sleep medicine dating back to Ancient Greek and Roman times. The herb has been shown to help with a vast range of anxiety and sleep disorders.
Along with other natural ingredients, melatonin, chamomile, l-theanine, and valerian root, work in combination to help your body rest and repair.
Calm is an attractive solution for when you’re feeling anxious jitters but aren’t quite ready to hit the hay.
CBD and CBN: Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) are two of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. While CBD works to ease symptoms of stress and anxiety, CBN promotes relaxation. Both can help your mind calm down and refresh.
Calm is an excellent supplement for when you need to unwind, transition into night mode, and start your self-care routine.
The DOTE team designed Calm and Dream to be the best sleep supplements for getting your body the support it needs. You don’t have to settle for feeling the way that you do. In the same way that you eat when you’re hungry and work out when you’re craving movement, you can use supplements to banish anxiety and help you sleep.
#4. Hold Yourself Accountable
Each morning, rate your sleep on a scale of 1 to 10 and make a note of anything that might be behind your assessment, whether that's “Netflix binge” or “too many margaritas” or “meeting with my boss.”
Remember, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. And once you are aware of what’s bringing you stress at night, you can more easily confront it and active your coping mechanisms during the day.
DOTE and Do Things Differently
You may try to ignore your anxious thoughts and restlessness, but you’re only worsening your chances of accomplishing all that you set out to do. Do things differently, change your nightly routine, banish anxiety, and accept relaxation.
Even if your mind and body are what’s holding you back, you can overcome their limits with the help of some science-backed natural ingredients. Dream is how you calm anxiety at night.
You don’t have to settle for anxiousness or unsatisfactory nights of rest. You can give your body what it needs to push through: some whole-body support.