Sleep. So innate that we do it every night. So vital to our health and wellbeing that we quite literally couldn’t live without it. So important that we devote nearly a third of our hours to it.
But somehow, it’s also something that so many of us struggle with. According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly half of American adults deal with insomnia at least a few nights every week. And given our busy and often hectic lives, so much of that is caused by anxiety that keeps us up with racing minds. Couple that with the extra stress of current events, and you get a recipe for lots of anxious, sleepless nights.
We hear you, and we’re here to help. Sleep First has made improving people's sleep our business, so we know there are lots of things that can get in the way of a quality snooze.
Read on for 5 of our top tips for dealing with sleep anxiety
- Try a weighted blanket! Weighted blankets have been shown to help switch your nervous system from “fight or flight” mode to “rest and digest” mode, helping calm your mind and prepare your body for deep sleep. Plus, they’re cozy!
- Slip on a sleep mask. Sleep masks are a great way to block out unwanted light, while also helping to activate your nervous system’s “rest and digest” mode. They also help by minimizing light exposure, which increases melatonin production, regulates your circadian rhythm, and minimizes sleep disturbances.
- Doze off to a guided meditation. If you have trouble quieting your thoughts, this can really help. Try an app like or for short, simple sleep meditations. If you don’t like the idea of a guided meditation, sitting quietly and focusing on your breath for a few minutes before bed can have a major effect on your sleep quality. It’s a proven tool to help prime your brain for deeper, longer sleep. It also helps decrease stress and anxiety levels, leading to an even better snooze.
- Stick to your routines. Routines help us feel safe, especially when so much feels so unpredictable. Having consistent morning and nighttime routines helps regulate your stress and sleep cycles, leading to better sleep and a calmer mood.
- Disconnect. Staying informed is important, but so is sleep! It can be easy to get caught up in the anxiety and overwhelm of the news, leading to sleeplessness. Especially if you're checking the news close to bedtime, it's likely that it's impairing your ability to truly wind down. The fix: disconnect! Check in with your intentions around checking the news, and try to only take in as much as you can handle. Perhaps most importantly, try to keep your news consumption earlier in the day and avoid it close to bedtime.
Note: If your mattress is old or uncomfortable, it can be a lot harder to fall asleep and stay asleep, and the sleep you do manage to get is more likely to be of poor quality. It's important to check in with the state of your mattress on a regular basis to see if it's supporting you, or working against you. Additionally, sometimes we forget that we too change, and as we do, our ideal mattress changes with us. If you’re finding that you’re just not comfortable anymore, or are not getting the best sleep you can, it might be time to reevaluate. If you find that you do need a new mattress, our sleep experts will be glad to talk through your needs and guide you towards the best mattress for you.
Getting good quality sleep is vital for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Try these tips to get the best sleep tonight. If you find you're still having trouble after trying out these tips, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about potential undiagnosed sleep or anxiety disorders.