Sleep is a crucial form of rest for the whole body. Everyone needs it. But sometimes, not everyone gets it. Other than staying up for long purposely because of work or other activities, one can’t go to sleep simply because he or she has insomnia. Insomnia can be caused by a number of factors. The most commons ones are medications or medical conditions that disturb the sleep cycle. But if you’re not under any of these, then what’s been keeping you up may be anxiety.
Unless certain medical conditions or medications are the cause of your sleeplessness, the most common culprit is anxiety, says Lisa Meltzer, an education scholar for the National Sleep Foundation and associate professor of pediatrics at National Jewish Health in Denver.
Anxiety makes you too aware of your surroundings. Which makes sense. The unease, worry or fear can sometimes keep you up more than caffeine ever could. If you are having a hard time relaxing, these evidence-based ways to fall asleep easier can help you.
Compel yourself to stay awake.
Is there anything reverse psychology isn’t good for? In this case, it may alleviate excessive sleep anxiety. A small study conducted at the University of Glasgow found that sleep-onset insomniacs who were instructed to lay in bed and try to stay awake with their eyes open fell asleep quicker than participants told to fall asleep without this “paradoxical intention” (PI). Participants in the PI group fell asleep easier and showed less sleep performance anxiety.
Get your hands and brain working by doing something for 10 minutes.
“This is a stimulus control theory,” says Meltzer. “Everything in life has a stimulus value, even your bed,” meaning your body should recognize that lying in bed means it’s time to go to sleep. To give your bed that value, the only things you should be doing in it are sleep and sex, she explains. “Getting out of bed if you can’t sleep is the hardest one to do, but it’s so important. If you’re spending 10 hours in bed, but