Sleep Anxiety is a BIG problem!
“Insomnia again?!?!??! I need just one good night’s sleep!” This was a common refrain for me, night after night, back in 1995. I had just finished my last stint as a celebrity radio DJ doing the morning shift. I had 2 small children, one still in diapers, and I had been getting up at 3:30 in the morning to go to work. For those 2 years, I really didn’t sleep much at all. I was not happy. And when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy! My sleep anxiety led me to prescription medication, which wasn’t the answer for me!
It didn’t matter how many sheep I counted, I would wake up and could not get back to sleep. My mind would start racing “What if I can’t get back to sleep. I have to get up at 3:30. What am I going to do?” And on an on it went. My sleep anxiety just ratcheted up even higher! I’ve since worked with so many people with insomnia that I understand that it’s pretty common. But back then, it wasn’t really talked about all that much.
I did what many people do – I went to my doctor. Of course, he said, “you have insomnia, here’s a prescription”. So I took the medication and it worked-for a short period of time. Until it didn’t. Then I went into full blown panic mode. The more I didn’t sleep, the more worked up about it I got.
Then, an absolute fluke happened. I was on a telecall (such cutting edge technology back then!) and on came Gary Craig, a Stanford-trained engineer. He was talking about a new technique called Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as EFT or Tapping. This technique, which is like acupuncture without needles was a life saver! When I started to get anxiety when falling asleep, I could use this easy way to sleep again!!! You can learn about it here.
This set me on a quest to learn more self-healing and holistic techniques and has helped me to help hundreds with their insomnia issues. It’s estimated that 30% – 50% of adults are affected by insomnia (Sleep Management Institute) and according to report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 9 million people take sleeping pills! That was in 2013 and it’s only getting worse!
Insomnia and its effects has gotten so rampant that Arianna Huffington has launched a major movement called The Sleep Revolution. It started with a book and now has morphed into her latest venture Thrive Global, whose mission is “to end the stress and burnout epidemic”.
Sleep anxiety doesn’t start when you are ready to hit the pillow:
it is a cumulative build up of stress day in and day out. I remember a client I worked with for his sleep issues and asked how he woke up in the morning. He answered an alarm on his phone and I asked him to play it for me. It was a WARNING! DANGER! alarm. I explained to him that he was shocking his system first thing in the morning and then continuing to shock it over and over again through the day, so of course it was going to be hard to just slow down and fall asleep.
I have long said we need to teach children coping skills because when we don’t know how to manage our stress, anxiety and fear, it leads to the stress and burnout epidemic that Arianna Huffington talks about.
Here are 3 ways to help deal with anxiety when falling asleep:
- Like building a house, you need a strong foundation. Like my client, you need to choose a way to wake up that will help you make a smooth transition, so choose your alarm or ringtone carefully. Consider even just a 5-minute meditation before you jump out of bed, grab your coffee and tune into the latest news (which some days feels like a horror movie). WHY start your day like that?
- Use coping skills to manage your stress and anxiety throughout the day. Just like we teach our children to brush their teeth to prevent the build up up plaque, we can pre-emptively keep our stress levels down by bringing them down on a regular basis. Another way of thinking about this is taking out the trash. You can tamp it down and tamp it down, but eventually, it is going to overflow! If you let your stress build and build all through the day, your brain and your nervous system are going to be overflowing with sleep anxiety. CLICK HERE FOR MY FREE DOWNLOAD “5 Easy Ways to Calm Anxiety”.
- Lavender essential oil. The calming effects of lavender have been chronicled by the Greeks as early as the first century. Lavender has been approved in Germany for help with insomnia. Lavender oil is well known for its relaxing and serene effects. You can sprinkle a few drop of lavender oil on your sheets or pillow, diffuse it in the air or put a few drops on the bottom of your feet. Want to know more about essential oils? CLICK HERE for a free 15-minute phone consultation.
My free download “5 Easy Ways to Calm Anxiety” was recently featured in an article in Huffington Post! Click here to read. There are lots more I could add, but this is a good start. If you actually start to put these 3 actions into place, you’ll be amazed at what happens to your sleep anxiety! I’d love to hear how this helps – please comment below.
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