What comes first, anxiety or sleep disorders? Well, it turns out that it can be either. We have always known that anxiety can cause sleep issues, but new research shows that people who suffer from sleep problems such as chronic insomnia are also likely to develop anxiety disorders.
But, how can we improve our sleep when we suffer from anxiety? From weighted blanket benefits to the best pillow sprays, let us talk you through the things that are worth splashing the cash on and learn how to calm yourself to sleep.
1. Weighted Blankets
They’ve become all the rage these past few years, but what are weighted blankets and what are the benefits of using one?
Well, it’s all in the name. They’re blankets that tend to weigh between 5 and 30 pounds - the weight most appropriate for you can be calculated according to your own weight and height.
A weighted blanket is made up of sewn pockets filled with weighted materials such as sand or pebbles. The individual pockets ensure that the weighted materials stay evenly distributed, therefore they are comfortable to use.
These blankets are created to replicate hands-on deep pressure stimulation that is used to lessen anxiety and improve mood. Weighted blankets simulate the feeling of being swaddled or held, which encourages your body to release serotonin, a chemical that helps to regulate sleep.
Weighted blankets for kids are available, as well as adults, so they’re a really easy way to make sure that everyone can have a good night’s sleep. Not only will you feel calmer, but hopefully you should get in some much needed Zs!
2. Eye Masks
We all know that wearing an eye mask can massively improve your sleep. Eye masks block out light, encouraging an increase in melatonin levels, and making you feel sleepier. But how does this help to ease anxiety at night? Wearing a regular eye mask may not reduce any anxiety symptoms, however, a weighted eye mask might.
With a similar premise to the aforementioned blankets, weighted eye masks focus pressure around the eye area, rather than all over the body, and help to release the tension that you tend to hold in your forehead and around your eyes to help you drift off into a peaceful night’s sleep!
3. Pillow Sprays
Scents and essential oils can help you feel more relaxed, which is often a challenge when you’re suffering from anxiety. A pillow spray is one of the more natural remedies for insomnia and anxiety, and a relaxing pillow mist might be all that you need to drift off a little bit easier.
Try and opt for something with plenty of lavender. Lavender is said to impact the limbic system - the part of the brain that controls emotion - easing the symptoms of anxiety, but there are lots of other scents that help you sleep!
You can get pillow sprays from lots of pharmacies, beauty stores and health stores so they’re really easily accessible and can be relatively cheap!
4. SAD Alarm Clocks
Going to sleep is hard when you’re suffering from anxiety, whether it be mild or severe. But it would be a little bit easier if your alarm clock replicated a sunset in your bedroom? Most Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) alarm clocks can do this and more!
Not only is going to sleep alongside a stunning sunset and relaxing wave sounds a great calming way to ease yourself into a good night’s sleep, but SAD alarm clocks wake you up with light and sound! So, in those dark winter months, where mornings are literally the worst thing ever, they can be bright and sunny in your bedroom.
Sunlight is a well-known way to boost mood. Some workplaces are now realising that light can increase productivity and company morale so they encourage use of SAD lights in the workplace.
5. ASMR and Sleep Apps
Everyone has a smartphone these days, so relaxation apps and specific sleep apps are some of the easiest and cheapest things to use to calm yourself to sleep. There are many sleep apps available at the moment that provide meditation techniques, storytelling, spoken word and even triggers for relaxation.
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) has become a huge thing online in the last five years. From YouTube to Instagram, you’re hard pressed to scroll without coming across someone tapping on a box or cutting some soap (yes, cutting soap).
ASMR describes a phenomenon in which a person feels tingles all over their body. Healthline states:
“Different audio and visual triggers, such as whispering, fingernail tapping, or watching a brush stroke a surface, can provoke this tingling sensation...Aside from just making you feel good, ASMR might also have the potential to help with feelings of anxiety.”
Luckily for us, ASMR tends to be free, but if you find it cringy and claustrophobic, which some people do, why not try a simple meditation app or sleep time app?
Seek Medical Advice
If you are struggling with your anxiety affecting your sleep severely, make sure that you seek help from your GP. They can offer advice and guidance, the NHS even support some sleep apps. Anxiety can last well into the night, even affecting your dreams and causing severe stress. Do seek help if you feel you need support!
How Do You Relax?