Counting Sheep: How to Sleep When Feeling Anxious

Counting Sheep: How to Sleep When Feeling Anxious

Regular exercise and a balanced diet are not enough for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Sleeping the recommended 8 hours is also vital to enable the body to rest and recharge the energy spent with the day’s events. Research has also shown that sleep deprivation can seriously impair one’s concentration, productivity, and comprehension, leading to poor academic performance, costly mistakes, and increased risk of heart disease and other illnesses.

Despite everyone agreeing on the significance of getting enough sleep, the modern world is not designed to encourage proper snoozing habits. Workers with non-traditional hours regularly face health problems due to irregular shifts. Blue light from computer screens and mobile phones confuse internal clocks, delaying the trip to slumberland. Stress and anxiety from work and life events occupy thoughts and disrupt the body’s initiation and maintenance of sleep.

The current pandemic has aggravated everyone’s stressors due to the constant barrage of information, the uncertainty of the future, and paranoia from being infected. Daily routines have also changed, interfering with people’s usual bedtimes. While it might be challenging to adapt to the new normal, a good night’s sleep is still one of the best ways to increase immunity and give the body what it needs to fight against diseases. Let’s go back to the basics and improve our sleeping habits.

Have a sleeping routine

Inner turmoil and rumination can cause anxiety, which makes it harder to turn off the racing thoughts at night to sleep. Thankfully, establishing a routine can trick your brain to doing things subconsciously, such as preparing the body to shut down for the day. It triggers a Pavlov response where you pair a stimulus, such as reading fiction books or applying whitening facial night serum, to trigger a conditioned response. In this case, it’s falling asleep. The body’s internal clock also benefits from having a set time for going to bed and waking up even during weekends.

Schedule a breakdown

Yes, you read that right. Breaking down due to the current unprecedented circumstances is inevitable at this point, so why fight it? It is also normal not to feel okay, with everyone’s collective mental health struggling to make sense of what’s happening.

Scheduling anxiety and worry time gives you the space and permission to release pent-up emotions and thoughts, whether by journaling or calling a trusted friend. You’ll be able to process what you’re going through much easier if they’re out in the open as compared to being in denial and affecting your sleep. Practicing meditation and deep breathing can also help during the scheduled breakdown.

Avoid coffee, alcohol, and social media close to bedtime


As much as body clocks are sensitive to routine, it is also easily affected by other external stimuli such as caffeine, alcohol, and social media. Reading news late at night wakes the body up and can fuel anxiety, especially if the scenarios are not ideal. Coffee can also heighten your emotions and heart rate, making it impossible to settle down and calm the body enough to sleep. Having a strict no electronics and coffee curfew can spell the difference between getting quality snooze time and tossing and turning until the sun rises.

While current events make it challenging to remain calm and temper anxiety, everyone should maintain good sleeping habits to strengthen their immune system. Routines, scheduled breakdowns, and avoiding stimulants close to bedtime can help you reach dreamland as soon as your head hits the pillow.

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