The Mighty Logo

Can't Sleep? Read These 8 Tips That Really Help People With Anxiety Get to Sleep

Editor's Note

Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

My psychiatrist appointments often feature the same question: “Do you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep?”

That’s because, if you live with anxiety, you likely struggle with your sleep patterns every now and then. Whether you experience the occasional bout of insomnia, sleep disruptions like nightmares and waking up constantly,  or you lie awake every night, staring at the clock, disrupted sleep can have a knock-on effect on your mental health. For example, according to Sleep Foundation, “Sufficient sleep, especially REM sleep, facilitates the brain’s processing of emotional information.” In fact, it’s not only that anxiety affects sleep, but sleep also has a “bidirectional relationship with mental health,” meaning poor sleep can worsen the symptoms of anxiety and other mental disorders.

So, sleep is pretty important, right? That’s why we asked our community what helps them sleep better with anxiety. Have a look at their answers, and let us know what helps you in the comments below.

Here’s what our community told us:

1. Writing

“It helps to write it all down — dumping my worries on the page and letting them go.” — @deb44303

“Having a good bedtime routine and making sure I write down or record my thoughts. I also keep a notepad and pen by my bed so that I can write down anything I might be feeling anxious about if I wake up in the middle of the night.” — @chrislynn1

2. Reading and Games

“I read or play Solitaire on my tablet until I get sleepy enough to fall asleep. I try not to stress over what time I fall asleep. Of course, being retired, I don’t have the pressure of having to get to work so there’s that.” — @introvert658

3. Something Physical

“A weighted blanket.” — @pigeonfeather

“A weighted blanket. I need to buy another one because I spilled hot chocolate all over it. I just have to safe up the pennies until I can get a new one, so not having any good nights at all and really suffering” — @mumsfries59

4. Relaxation Routines

“Pink noise music and nature relaxation music videos on YouTube, EFT tapping, chakra balancing music on YouTube, and making up positive dreams helps.” — @enjoychattingnew

“Soaking in the bath with a whole routine and music, and then comfy pajamas and blankets with lights out, teddy bear and pillows.” — @amymiller127

5. Music

“I have a Pandora station and a bedtime music playlist… depending on internet availability. I lie down, say my prayers, and ‘talk’ with my dad (who passed four years ago), then I start my music. While listening (and waiting for meds to kick in) I repeat my mantra, “in with peace, out with pain.” If the pain or anxiety isn’t too bad, I usually can fall asleep fairly soon after beginning the mantra.” — @purpledramamama

“Listening to my Jewish rock music that has a good message and is upbeat positive music. My Rabbinical staff introduced me to it. The nighttime prayer called Hashkivenu helps me to settle down for the night.” — @allielove

6. Meditation and Sleep Sounds

“Guided meditations help me. There are a bunch that are free on YouTube by various people, so you can find someone that you like.” — @kitttieluv

“I like listening to rain or running water. Having a fan helps me keep cool and also has a soothing sound. I like to meditate before bed to help me relax. I also listen to a podcast called Get Sleepy.” — @lauracort

“It really helps me to meditate while playing 528 Hz music with my opalite or rose quartz crystals” — Nina

“I use Amazon music sometimes, and found something called ‘brown noise.’ It’s deeper in pitch than white noise and has no ocean waves or wind. Just midrange noise. Pretty soothing some nights.” — @wolfryder

7. Pets

“My cat helps me. He always goes to bed when I do. I can talk to him and rub his belly as I fall asleep.” — @mydystopia

8. Medication and Melatonin

“Honestly, taking melatonin has really helped me because my body just kind of shuts down. But if I’m really anxious, then I do yin yoga and that tends to help my mind wind down in the way I need it to in order to sleep.” — Kat Harrison

Getty Images photo via demaerre

Conversations 3