How can i best deal with anxiety before going to sleep?

When i am ready to fall asleep i start getting this heart racing feeling and i worry about silly things about the day. i cannot pin point exactly what worries me because nothing should, but this feeling of a pounding heart has been happening for about 2 months
Asked by Nes

Hi there,

Thank you so much for your question and reaching out; I feel that this will be a question that comes up for a lot of people, as anxiety and worry before we fall asleep can be really common, and is really normal from time to time. I know that I also have these challenges every now and then, particularly if I am stressed myself. Though it will be different for everyone. 

It sounds like the last two months have been really difficult when trying to go to sleep. You've noticed that your thoughts start to go to what you did in the day, and worrying about what seems like silly things. Your body is also reacting with your heart pounding, which can be really normal when we feel anxious, worried or stressed. I wonder how long this goes on for before you get to sleep? Or if it wakes you up in the night too? Mostly however, I am wondering how you have been managing this and working through this for the last two months if this has been going on?

I hear that you say nothing should worry you - and it might be that rationally there is not anything really, however your body is trying to tell you something is going on, and, in the best way it knows how, is trying to keep you safe by thinking about what has happened (sometimes I like to say it's like an overly helpful friend, who may not actually be helpful in the way that we would like!). In essence, when we ruminate and think about different situations our mind is thinking if we think back to what has happened and learn from what went on, we are less likely to do this again in the future.

One thing that can really help people when they are trying to go to sleep is doing some form of grounding exercises or focusing on your breath; now this doesn't work for everyone so it can be something to have a go at for a little while and see if this helps. It works by calming your neurological system, which is where the constantly thinking about little things throughout the day is based.

I really like to bring to mind a place that feels calm and relaxing, which could be any place whatsoever, real or imagined. And then begin to think about the different senses while I am bringing it to mind. So, thinking about what I can see around me, what I can hear, what I can smell, taste and feel. Engaging our senses like this can be really helpful to bring us back to the present moment and engage us fully in what we are doing (and as such, calms the mind that is worrying about the past). 

There are lots of other techniques that you could try, and I would say that a therapist could talk this through with you and see what works best for you - as everyone is different. I do hope that is helpful and can give you some much needed respite from the challenges you've been having when going to sleep.

Best wishes,