I just want to sleep, but all I can think about is...

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Balancing our lives is already difficult enough, with many people not having the time to get proper sleep already, and then there are us lucky few who deal with anxiety and have a hard time sleeping on top of everything else. So let's poll our lucky friends and see how we can best get some shut-eye.

u/Morpegom started the poll with:

How do you handle the anxiety when trying to sleep?

Here were some top tips.

Rainy Mood

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I take melatonin, use an app that plays rain noises, and focus on breathing slowly. I am usually asleep within 15 minutes.

I have really bad anxiety while trying to sleep so I relate.

The Log Cabin Method

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I lie down in my bed and think of a task I am not very familiar with. Then I try to think through how you would do that logistically speaking. For example, if you were on an island and you needed to build a cabin, what would you need to do? I've never built a cabin so I have no idea, but I assume first you would need to cut down some trees. Then you would probably have to cut them into boards of different length. Then you might have to dig something for a foundation maybe? And 4 posts go in the ground in the corner, and they should probably be secured somehow... And then connect the 4 corners obviously, throw some triangles in there for stability.. What sort of insulation will be needed in the walls? How does insulation work anyway? I would start thinking about insulation and proper wall design and installation, I would start thinking about how to build a roof that can properly channel water down, probably consider the possibility of incorporating the chimney.. At some point I would have to figure out the door and windows, ventilation, and all sorts of other things along the way.

There's a lot to figure out when you're trying to figure out how to build a cabin. By the time I figure it all out in my mind, more or less, I can actually see a cabin in my mind, and it's there, and it's awesome, and I hopefully am asleep or can't remember what was making me anxious

Lil Weight

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Have you tried a weighted comforter/blanket? I've heard that can really help out.

Ha Ha Zz Zz

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Playing a video from a funny youtube channel and leaving auto play on is something I do. The noise in the background helps my mind ease up and lose focus on disturbing thoughts

7 Up

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Count upwards in 7's

It makes me think about something else and eventually tires me out

Choose Your Own Adventure

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Back when my anxiety was super bad and it made it incredibly hard to fall asleep, I'd play out all sorts of adventures in my head, purposefully drowning out any and all unwelcome thoughts. It's like writing a book in your own head where you are the main character!

It's embarrassing to admit, kinda, but I also did 'self insert fanfiction' adventures and it really did make me forget about whatever I was set on grilling myself about that week/night. Something about interacting with a world (and characters) you're fond of and where you basically control everything was, and still is, a good way to clear my head until I could finally nod off. Then I started doing that whenever I got those anxious feelings (when going on with my daily life) and thoughts in my head until eventually I stopped autofocusing on the things that fuel my anxiety and just went straight to healthier thoughts.

I still get spikes of anxiety but they're further inbetween, + my sleep schedule isn't as wack as it used to be (no more agonized tossing and turning) which helps with your mental health as well. Obviously I'm not a professional so I dunno how helpful my method actually is, but it worked for me! :)

Breathless Surrender

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Listening to a podcast on low and doing deep breathing exercises while laying in bed works pretty well for me

See No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way

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i put FRIENDS on because it's a comforting show for me. if you have a show that's comforting to you, maybe try watching that

Ze Oil

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CBD oil is a lifesaver for me

Doodle Doodle Doo

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Calming sleeping music on Youtube

Sing A Song For You Sir

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I use a free app where there are about 25 different relaxing noises you can choose from, like rain, storms, white noise, a fan, waves lapping, rivers running, crickets chirping, etc. and you can customize the volume of each and combine something like 10 different noises to create something that sounds really soothing to you. I usually have a mix of some sort of water noises, rain on a roof, and a thunderstorm. Really nice, I have awful anxiety and listening to the soft noises really helps.

A different thing I do is to plan my outfits out for the next few work days, or what I'm going to make for dinner, etc. I find that going through different options like that distracts me really quickly and I end up falling asleep before I've decided on something.

The Jim And Pam Method

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I put The Office on. I've seen them all and so it's background noise.

Read All The Way Til The End

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  • Listen to an audio book as you go to sleep. (You can download them for free from your public library.) The idea is to focus on the story instead of your anxiety.
  • If you're anxious about something specific, think about what you can do to resolve that problem right now. When work problems used to keep me up at night, I would think to myself, "I could go to the office and work on the problem right now. Of course, it's after midnight and there's probably an alarm. I'd have to break in, too, and getting arrested would make things worse, not better. I could call my boss and discuss the problem with her, but she'd probably be really pissed if I woke her up. So probably the best thing I could do about the problem right now is to get a good night's sleep so I'm refreshed and ready to deal with the problem in the morning."
  • Deep breathing exercises might help. Take a deep breath and hold it for a count of ten and let it out through your nose very slowly. Repeat. I find it relaxes my body, which helps me to sleep.
  • Print out the first ten pages of the Affordable Care Act and read it in bed. All that legalese is boring as hell. There's a good chance you won't make it past page five.

Noise That Is White

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White noise.

Thump Thump

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My father taught me this trick about two years ago, and it's really helped me. Anyhow, the trick is to listen to my heart. I also put my thumbs together lightly and try to feel my pulse. In effect now I meditate every night. Don't think of anything -- if anything, just replay the beating of my heart in my head.

This really helps me fall asleep quickly. Hope it helps others.


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Take a shower before go to bed.

Then calming and not loud music can be a start. It can be oriented playlists for sleeping on Youtube or something else. Some kinds of jazz, chilling eletronic, instrumental reggae roots, some kinds of classical, etc. Try to avoid lyrics that can bring you down or too energic rythms.

Do this with some deep, slow and relaxed breathing repetitions. Mind the most important sense to avoid appeals, vision. Close your eyes or at least avoid eletronic screens. Be confortable. Let it go. Tomorrow is another day.

Deeper Breathing

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I try to get out of my head and focus on my breath. Thich Nhat Hanh has some helpful breathing meditations.

Advanced Sheep Counting

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Hard sudoku puzzles. The engrossing repetitive counting helps me calm down. I like to think if it as advanced sheep counting.

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