Anxiety-Related Insomnia – 6 Ways To Help You Fall Asleep

Bed covers
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I’m going to go ahead and guess that if you found your way to this post, you are like me and the tons of other people who do the ‘ol “lay in bed for an hour or longer staring at the clock, listening to your nonstop racing anxious mind, while pissed that you can’t fall asleep” routine.

Does your night go something like this? …

How frustrating is it to finally get in bed for the night, but then can't fall asleep?! Tossing and turning as anxiety and insomnia get the best of you. Here are 6+ remedies you can do when you can't fall asleep due to anxiety-related insomnia. #sleep #anxiety #Cantsleep #insomnia #cantfallasleepremedies

You notice that you’re waking up each morning feeling unrested. So you decide to set a goal to get to bed by 10 pm every night.

Great! 9:45 pm rolls around. You close your laptop, walk into your room, put on your pajamas, plug in your phone, turn off all lights, and hop into bed.

“Yay! Go me!” you’re thinking. “I made it in bed by 10 pm! Tomorrow is gonna be great because I will actually get enough sleep!”

You lay there. Close your eyes. Open your eyes. Force them closed again. Re-open them and stare at the ceiling fan for who knows how long. You hear a motorcycle in the far distance outside. “Go to sleep!” you tell yourself. “I’ve got to get up early tomorrow!”

You look at the clock and it’s now 10:30 pm. Ok, still not bad. But, “Ugh I’ve been laying here for 30 minutes already! I need to fall asleep!”

woman laying awake on a bed in the dark

Darn, you realize you forgot to get milk when you went to the store today. You’ll have to pick up some tomorrow during your lunch break. Hmm, what are you going to have for lunch tomorrow? Do you think Sue would like to go with? Maybe you’ll text her tomorrow and see what she’s up to around lunchtime. Wait a second, you just realized the date tomorrow! Your report is due! Crap! Ok Ok, that’s fine, you have all morning to get it done as long as nobody bothers you. After you go through your emails in the morning you can get to work on that report. Hmm, you wonder if Tom emailed you back about that thing you had asked him about yesterday? You’ll have to check out that email first thing. But what if he didn’t? Then you’ll just head over to his office and talk with him. You remember you’re always a little jealous as you walk into his office because it’s way bigger than yours. Oh and what about…

“Man, I really need to go to sleep. Ok, ok. Stop thinking and just fall asleep!”

You check the clock… It’s now 11 pm.

UGH!

You grab your phone, because hell, you clearly aren’t tired enough to fall asleep anyway, and start mindlessly scrolling through Youtube. Before you know it, you’re an hour into the Youtube rabbit hole.

Another glance at the clock. Its now 12 am. Your alarm is set to go off at 6:30 am!

You put your phone down and close your eyes, attempting this sleep thing all over again. “Go to sleep. Go to sleep. GO TO SLEEP!” you tell yourself.

After another 45 minutes of a racing, nonstop brain.

You eventually fall asleep. The time is now close to 1 am.

Let’s not even talk about how you toss and turn all night long.

The next morning, as you virtually crawl your zombied self to your coffee maker in the kitchen, you can’t even handle how tired you feel. How are you even going to function today?!

I woke up like this coffee cup on a bed

You hope that no one speaks to you until at LEAST 10 am, and even then they better tread lightly. You’re a tired grumpy mess who has a report due today!

Sound familiar?

Oh, the joys of insomnia, right?!

Why can’t you just lay in bed an go to sleep, dang it!

This used to be me. Every single night. I’ll be honest, some nights it still is.

Just laying there like a dummy, unable to fall asleep. Ugh.

I do have anxiety so I know that has a large part in why I can’t shut my mind off in order to drift to sleep.

Related Post: 10 Natural Remedies For Anxiety

But I finally, after 36 years (lol), found a few things that help when my anxiety and insomnia stand in my way of falling asleep. And I’d like to share them with you!

First though, let’s talk briefly about melatonin. Understanding what it is and how it works can get you on the right track to a smooth transition into sleepy land.

A quick note on Melatonin…

“Melatonin is a hormone in your body that plays a role in sleep. The production and release of melatonin in the brain is connected to time of day, increasing when it’s dark and decreasing when it’s light.” MayoClinic.org

The lights in your house can affect your melatonin levels

False lights (non-sunlight) can and will throw off your melatonin levels which are increased at nighttime.

hand holding up a Bright Lightbulb

Get some 15 watt soft white lightbulbs and put them in your lamps. After the sun goes down, turn off all of your bright lights in your home and use your less abrasive lamps instead. In other words, just enough light to be able to see what you are doing, but not enough light to trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, which will lower your melatonin.

One last thing…. Have a bedtime routine! This is a total game changer in helping you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Related Post: A Bedtime Routine For Adults To Help You Fall Asleep FAST

Okey dokey. Without further ado…. here are some things you can do when you can’t sleep due to anxiety!

Things To Do When You Can’t Fall Asleep Due To Anxiety & Insomnia

Listen to calm meditation/spa/yoga style music

My favorite that puts me to sleep within 10 minutes every night is Pandora Yoga Sanctuary Radio. A few others I’ve used on Pandora are:

Turn it on low and just fall into the music. Pay particular attention to a certain sound within the melody. For example, listen for the piano or violin and follow it. Listen to how the sounds of that violin move up and down.

drop of water

The trick here is to focus your mind onto something besides what it was stuck feeling anxious about – not being able to fall asleep, anxious thoughts about your day, things you are running through your head that needs to be done tomorrow, etc.

Easier said than done, but try not to consciously force the focus. The mind will slip and start thinking of other things as you’re trying to focus on the music. And that’s ok. Once you realize your mind has wandered, gently bring it back onto a specific part of the music (that violin, for example). But don’t overthink it. Try not to force the repeating thought, “I need to listen and focus on this music.” Otherwise, you’ll fall into the same trap that caused you to not be able to fall asleep in the first place! (Overthinking to the point that your mind can’t relax.)

Read: I Tried To Use A Weighted Blanket For My Anxiety & Insomnia: Here Are My Results

Count backward from 500

Count slowly, and picture the numbers on the backs of your eyelids as you’re saying them. For example, saying 387 in your head would be like: three hundred (picture the 3 being drawn on the inside of your eyelids) eighty (picture the 8 being drawn) seven (picture the 7 being drawn).

Again, the trick here is to get your mind to focus on something else, particularly something tedious, which can slow it down enough to be able to drift off to sleep.

Write in your journal

pink and blue journal with 2 pencils

You guys just gotta get on this journal writing bandwagon! I’m telling ya, it helps so much with my anxiety. I don’t know what it is, but writing it all out is almost like lifting a weight off my shoulders.

And here’s something cool to think about – there’s no right or wrong way to journal write! Your journal is yours and you can write whatever you want in it. Some journaling ideas can be:

  • Things that are currently bothering you
  • A list of things you need to do tomorrow
  • A list of things you accomplished today
  • Doodle or create a drawing
  • Write out the lyrics of a song that’s stuck in your head

The things you can write down in your journal are endless!

Don’t forget to keep your lights dim while you’re writing. Just barely enough light so you can see what you are writing, but dark enough to keep your brain in “sleepy” mode.

I talk a little more about how journaling helps anxiety in this post: 10 Natural Remedies For Anxiety

Dive into the world of Essential Oils!

I very recently just got into essential oils and am having fun learning all about how to use them and their benefits!  There is a learning curve to using essential oils so be sure to educate yourself before attempting to use them.

Click “Learn How” below to see all the TONS of resources I got from credible experts in natural remedies that have given me the skills and confidence to use herbs & essential oils for staying healthy, supporting the body in illness, non-toxic cleaning, beauty & relaxation, etc. ↓↓

herbs & essential oils super bundle

I chose Rocky Mountain Essential Oils to use because:

  1. I like that they are NOT a multi-level-marketing (MLM) company.
  2. They have FREE shipping with no minimum order amount.
  3. They have FREE returns!  For a newbie like me who doesn’t know which smells I like and don’t like, it doesn’t get any better than that!

You can read more about Rocky Mountain Oils and why they are the leading direct-to-consumer essential oil companies in the world HERE.

If you’re a new to essential oils like I am, do what I did and start out with diffusing. I have started diffusing the Rocky Mountain Oil lavender essential oil as part of my bedtime routine because lavender is known for its calming abilities and can even encourage restful sleep.

I also purchased this small Lavender Greece roll-on. The lavender roll-on is already diluted with a carrier oil so it’s able to be applied directly to the skin – no diffusing needed! I just roll it on my neck and wrists and enjoy the calming aroma of lavender as I sleep. (It’s great for on the go, too!)

Lavender Greece roll-on Essential Oil from Rocky Mountain Oils
Lavender Greece Roll-on 
by: Rocky Mountain Oils

Read a book

And NO I don’t mean your Kindle, or whatever other e-readers you use (that includes books on your phone!).

I mean read a physical book.

book pages

This one can sometimes be tricky because if you grab a book that is a total page-turner that you MUST find out what happens in the next chapter (!), then you could end up reading until 3 AM because you can’t put that amazing book down! So try and have a good “bedtime” book that is one you are interested in, but maybe isn’t as “sitting on the edge of your seat” as your favorite book.

Read: 50+ Hobby Ideas That Can Reduce Anxiety

Anyway, back to the Kindle and e-reader thing I mentioned above – bottom line, it’s a screen. This leads me to my next tip…

No screens!  Resist the screens!

Don’t turn on the tv or fiddle with your phone (the worst). Remember that whole melatonin thing I talked about earlier? You know, the fact that our body naturally increases its melatonin level during nighttime in order to make us tired? Well, if you’re literally staring at a light (screens) then what do you think is happening to your melatonin?!

woman in bed staring at computer screen

I’ll tell you exactly what happens – Your body sends a signal to your brain to stop making melatonin. NOT something you want when you are just about to lay down to get some zzz’s.

If you are one who insists you “need” the tv on to fall asleep, chances are it’s not the tv screen that is helping you to sleep. It’s more likely the noise of the tv.

Instead, get a white noise machine if silence causes you to have a nonstop hamster wheel brain. Or go back to my tip number 1 that I listed above, which is to listen to slow, meditation-style music!

Tell Alexa to set an alarm 30 minutes before your bedtime. In those 30 minutes before you lay your head, eliminate ALL screens. That includes TV, phones, tablets, laptops…you get the idea. Instead, grab a book or your journal and have some quiet time to unwind your mind so that by the time you do make it to that pillow, it will be much easier to fall asleep.

In Post Facebook Anxiety Group Banner

Get up and do something else

Ironically, laying in your bed thinking about how much you need to go to sleep will keep you awake thinking about needing to go to sleep! So what’s the use in laying there for hours. You may as well get up and do something else.

Ideally, something that will most likely make you tired, such as reading a book.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to keep your lights dim so you don’t wake yourself up more than you already are!

Get your 9-page PRINTABLE Anxiety Journal HERE

What has helped you fall asleep when you have insomnia? Comment below!

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How frustrating is it to finally get in bed for the night, but then can't fall asleep?! Tossing and turning as insomnia gets the best of you. Here are 6 remedies you can do when you can't fall asleep. #sleep #Cantsleep #insomnia #cantfallasleepremedies
How frustrating is it to finally get in bed for the night, but then can't fall asleep?!  Tossing and turning as anxiety and insomnia get the best of you.  Here are 6 remedies you can do when you can't fall asleep due to anxiety-related insomnia.  #sleep #anxiety #Cantsleep #insomnia #cantfallasleepremedies
How frustrating is it to finally get in bed for the night, but then can't fall asleep?!  Tossing and turning as anxiety and insomnia get the best of you.  Here are 6 remedies you can do when you can't fall asleep due to anxiety-related insomnia.  #sleep #anxiety #Cantsleep #insomnia #cantfallasleepremedies
How frustrating is it to finally get in bed for the night, but then can't fall asleep?!  Tossing and turning as anxiety and insomnia get the best of you.  Here are 6 remedies you can do when you can't fall asleep due to anxiety-related insomnia.  #sleep #anxiety #Cantsleep #insomnia #cantfallasleepremedies

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12 Comments

  1. Reply

    Cathy

    October 13, 2019

    This type of meditation helps me fall asleep faster. Sit quietly and let all of your thoughts come and go at will, but make sure a they all go as quickly as they arrive. I picture them flying in and out of the room. You’d be surprised at how relaxing this can be!

    • Reply

      DaLorean

      October 29, 2019

      I’ll have to give this a try. Thanks!

  2. Reply

    Rhea

    May 22, 2019

    I recommend reading a book you’ve already read before. That way, you already know what happens so you don’t stay up all night reading in suspense.

    • Reply

      DaLorean

      May 22, 2019

      Good idea!

  3. Reply

    Alexis

    January 2, 2019

    Thanks so much for this!! Just pinned for later!! I got a lamp that has a “sleep” mode, and it’s been a lifesaver! Wishing you better sleep in 2019!

    https://thepetiteintrovert.com/

    • Reply

      DaLorean

      January 3, 2019

      Oh cool! I’ll have to look into that lamp. I may just buy some of those “smart light bulbs” so that I can tell Alexa to turn them off at a certain time. 😉

      Thanks so much for the comment! I LOVE your site by the way!

  4. Reply

    Alena

    December 27, 2018

    Thank you so much for this post! I often have trouble getting to sleep, especially when my anxiety is up and my thoughts are running wild. I’ll definitely be trying some of these tricks!

    http://christcenteredandcoffeefueled.com

    • Reply

      DaLorean

      January 3, 2019

      If only we could just turn off our minds with a flip of a switch, right?!

      Thanks for the comment!

  5. Reply

    Jeanne-Marie

    December 27, 2018

    I have issues sleeping and have been looking for a solution. Hopefully this will work.

    • Reply

      DaLorean

      January 3, 2019

      If one doesn’t work, try the next one! Some nights a certain thing works for me, yet other nights it doesn’t. Sometimes I have to rotate through them all until one of them works lol.

      Thanks for the comment!

  6. Reply

    Gareth Fosberry

    December 27, 2018

    Great post – I can relate to this. I also find that a cup of hot chocolate and/or a nice hot relaxing shower can help too.

    https://loveatfirstswipe.online/

    • Reply

      DaLorean

      January 3, 2019

      Yes! Hot chocolate! I also love hot apple cider. Both are the best in this cold weather.

      Thanks for the comment!

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