One sheep... two sheep... three sheep. When the lights are off and the world falls into a peaceful rhythm, it seems as if it would be easy to simply close your eyes and enter a deep state of rest. However, with no one else around, you are only left with your own thoughts, for better or for worse. Despite feeling drained after a long day of activities, why are our lingering thoughts such an inconvenience at night?
Nighttime anxiety is a common experience for many people whose intrusive thoughts heavily impact their sleeping schedule. Such spontaneous thoughts encourage a long cycle of nervousness and irritation, which may impact your wellbeing. This repetitive state of worrying, where we would commonly look back on our past decisions and analyze our lives through questions of “what ifs”and “whys.” Ultimately, one thought leads to another and causes your mind to feel hopeless of your past, present, and future.
Whenever I feel scared of the unknown, my nighttime anxiety tremendously spikes. This may be due to a series of scenarios that I am expecting in the future, which can be as soon as an upcoming test to as long as the extent of success that I have gained from my future career.
Regardless of my physical state of tiredness, my brain seems to be unable to shut down. It seems as if my mind is constantly racing a hundred miles per hour, where I think about how I could have altered my range of choices that occurred from the day before, or even years ago. This proceeds to me damaging my own self-esteem, where I come to the conclusion that I am a failure as a person. While my overthinking tendencies are heightened at night, it is important to remember that these thoughts are usually derived from irrational conclusions that seem to follow ideas that reflect the worst possible situation.
At this point, I have learned that nighttime anxiety is a mere inconvenience that must be confronted at face value. Here are what I suggest that may help ease these lingering thoughts:
1. Write out your thoughts and worries
The main problem of nighttime anxiety is feeling as if you have no one to talk to. By writing in your notes app, daily journal, or even a piece of scrap paper, your thoughts will be released which will put your mind at ease.
2. Heighten your other senses
When your thoughts feel like your biggest competitor, try to distract yourself by overwhelming your thoughts with other senses. Try out an aromatherapy diffuser with calming scents that you can smell, such as lavender or chamomile. You can also listen to calming audios, such as the sound of the rain or the sea.
3. Stretch your body
Sometimes, you just simply need to release all of your stress by releasing all of your built up muscle tension. Not only does it relieve your body, it also allows you to focus on some other action without your numerous thoughts.
4. Reposition your pillow
Your body position may be uncomfortable when you lay in bed, which allows your discomfort to lead into a realm of odd thoughts. Most of the time when I cannot sleep, I like to pat my pillow or even align it in a different side that may be better for your head and neck.
5. Calming tea
Similarly to aromatherapy, these night time teas contain ingredients that are meant to sooth your mind and body. I enjoy drinking the honey herbal tea from SleepyTime Tea, but there are numerous other brands, such as Nighty Night or Pukka’s Night Time that promote relaxation. With one steaming cup, this may be a wondrous tactic that will make your thoughts simmer and calm until your anxiety is gone.
At the end of the day, night-time anxiety is common with everyone. We all have the tendency to overthink, and it may be incredibly frustrating to not be able to turn your mind off whenever you want it to. I truly hope that these tips work for you as it did for me.
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