Given the hectic pace of our lives and heightened uncertainty and changes in the last year; sleep issues have become increasingly common. And this is an area of concern as there’s a connection between sleep hygiene and anxiety. It has been observed that is a major area of concern for young working professionals and college students. Many of them are having trouble falling asleep, waking up randomly at night or earlier than intended and experiencing a general tiredness. Psychologist Kanika Shah of Nimai Healthcare tells you more.
The connection between sleep hygiene and anxiety
These sleep related concerns or a lowered quality of sleep can often be linked to experiences of anxiety. Here’s how can we improve our sleep hygiene to benefit our physical and mental health and overall functioning.
- Setting and following a routine
Decide on a fixed time for sleeping and waking up. It can be helpful to set our body clock. A nighttime routine can also help signal to your body that it’s time to rest.
- Cut back on caffeine
Limit the consumption of caffeine and other substances that could be affecting your sleep and anxiety levels; especially if consumed later in the day.
- Create a conducive calming environment in your bedroom
Put away devices, giving yourself access to natural light in the morning. Also, keep scents and listen to music that is soothing.
- Use relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation and light stretching can help the body begin to feel at rest even if one is not asleep yet.
- Keeping a journal handy by the bed
This way you can make note of any worries or thoughts that are coming up as you try to sleep. Note them down, and tell yourself that you’ll revisit these thoughts after you have rested.
- Aim for quality sleep
Not just the quantity but the quality of sleep matters. Try to limit how much you compromise on sleep in lieu of other activities.
Rest is not always something you have to earn; it is quite often necessary for us to sleep and rest in order to show up the next day in a way that’s productive for our work and studies. Please consult a qualified professional if you are experiencing sleep disturbances and anxiety that you find difficult to cope with.