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Sleep and anxiety: 9 recommendations to sleep well

There are many people who come for consultation because they cannot rest well. What they don’t know is that their anxiety keeps them awake. Now what can we do when this happens?

Sleep and anxiety affect our quality of life. Many who have anxiety issues also have trouble sleeping. This is a serious problem because not sleeping well has a negative impact on the body and mind. Lack of sleep contributes to irritability, fatigue, emotional lability, drowsiness, mood swings, etc.

The agitation and physiological activation characteristic of anxiety make it difficult to fall asleep. Not sleeping can increase the person’s worry about not falling asleep.

Thus, sleep and anxiety influence each other: anxiety prevents sleep, and not sleeping produces more anxiety. What can be done in these cases? Let’s analyze.

Next, we’ll show you 9 recommendations so you can sleep at night when you’re anxious.

1. Establish a routine

Having a routine helps your brain prepare for bed. So, try to establish a routine that helps you calm down and prepares you for rest: set a time for sleeping and waking up.

Always do the same things that tell your body you’re going to sleep: brush your teeth, turn off your phone, read a short story, etc. These activities help condition your sleep.

2. Do breathing exercises

Before going to bed, turn off the light in your bedroom and sit comfortably with your back straight in a chair or on your bed. She closes her eyes and places a hand on her abdomen, with the little finger just above her navel. The abdomen should rise with each inhale and fall with each exhale.

Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale slowly through your nose or mouth for about 8 seconds. If you wish, you can slowly mentally repeat the word “calm” or “silent” each time you exhale.

Doing breathing or relaxation exercises is a good strategy for connecting to the present and falling asleep.
3. Try to exercise frequently

Physical exercise has a positive impact on health, both physical and mental. In fact, we know that physical activity can reduce anxiety symptoms. Therefore, exercise during the day, but not just before going to bed.

4. Put your phone away before bed

It may be usual that before going to bed you check, with the light off, the messages you have on your mobile. Even if it does not look like it, this simple action has harmful effects on falling asleep.

Indeed, light inhibits the production and secretion of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone that regulates the circadian cycle. Without this hormone, it is difficult to enter the first stages of sleep.

5. Prepare your room

Make sure the conditions in your bedroom are optimal so that you can sleep peacefully. Try to maintain a comfortable temperature, neither too cold nor too hot. Make the room as dark as possible.

Try not to hear too much noise inside. It is also important that your bed is comfortable, that the mattress and the pillow allow you to rest.

6. Don’t take very long naps

If you decide to sleep in the afternoon, you shouldn’t prolong your rest too long. The time you take for a nap should not exceed 30 minutes.

Sleeping for half an hour will help you rest and won’t keep you up at night, but if it does, it’s best not to take a nap, even if you’re sleepy. Avoid taking a nap right before bed.

7. Use the bed only for sleeping

Often people end up using the bed for watching TV, working, reading and studying, or doing something other than sleep. If you want to have a good habit, despite your anxiety, you should avoid all these activities in bed and even in the bedroom.

The brain is very good at associating, if it ends up associating the bed with work, study, entertainment, it will be more difficult for it to know when you are confined to sleep. On the other hand, if you only use it to rest at night, the brain will learn that when you lie in it, it’s because you’re going to sleep.

It is advisable to use the bed only for sleeping, to prevent the brain from linking it to another activity and preventing us from falling asleep.
8. If you can’t fall asleep, don’t stay in bed

If after half an hour you cannot fall asleep because you are

anxious, get out of bed and do a relaxing activity, like meditating or doing a breathing exercise.

Do not turn on the light, remember that it inhibits the release of melatonin. Don’t stay in bed struggling to fall asleep, because you’ll feel more anxious and helpless if you can’t.

9. Try not to worry before going to bed.

Just as physical exercise can increase energy levels in your body, discussing difficult topics, whether as part of your internal dialogue or with another person, also increases it. To protect the quality of your sleep, try to address complicated or potentially complicated issues at times other than just before sleep.


In conclusion, we can say that we know the relationship between sleep and anxiety quite well. Anxiety symptoms inhibit sleep, so the more anxious/active you are, the more difficult it will be for you to fall asleep.

Sleep appears when we are tired, but especially when we are relaxed. If your sleep difficulties stem from anxiety, don’t hesitate to consult a mental health professional.

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