For as long as I can remember, I’ve dealt with sleep anxiety. Whether it was stressing about being the last to fall asleep at childhood sleepovers, living in noisy apartments, or dealing with people who snore, I’ve had overarching anxiety about not getting enough sleep each night. As I’ve seen therapists, tried prescription drugs, and just about everything, I’ve severely lessened the amount of anxiety I have each day when it comes to sleep. Here’s what worked:
Hangovers are known for intensifying most kinds of anxiety, and sleep anxiety is no different. Instead of feeling crappy all day then not being able to sleep—or relying on a pill, I simply do not drink to the point of hangovers anymore—unless it’s totally worth it to me. 2 drinks max seems to be my happy place.
Create a routine
If you deal with sleep issues in general, a routine is crucial. Your body cannot and will not sleep as well, or as quickly, if you’re forcing it to turn down instantly, so don’t. An hour before bed, turn off technology and begin the routine. For me, that involves skincare, diffusing lavender oil, and a nonfiction book (without a storyline to keep me going).
Do what’s best for you
Whenever I tell people this, they instantly feel bad or worry about our relationship, but the truth is, my fiance and I sleep in separate rooms Monday-Thursday. He snores and it keeps me up, which was leading to resentment and everyone being tired. We started sleeping in separate rooms about 6 months ago and it’s helped SO much. Of course I miss cuddling in the middle of the night, but we make up for it before bed and on weekends.
Use a sleep machine
A friend of mine who also struggles with sleep bought me a sound machine when I first moved to noisy San Francisco, and to this day it’s one of my favorite gifts ever. It’s portable so I bring it with me when I’m traveling, so no matter where I am, I have the comfort of my white noise machine.
Prep for it
Now that I’m living in a quieter home and sleeping alone most nights, my sleep has never been better—except when group sleep settings arise. Sharing a house with friends gives me anxiety because I’m not always sure what the sleeping situation will be like. Because of this, I’m honest with whoever I’m staying with. My friends now know to put me in a quiet room (and that I’ll be using my sleep machine!), or sometimes I pay extra for my own. I make up for being a sleep diva by getting to events early and setting up, or staying late to clean.
What works for you?