Finding Dreamland

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Photo by Laura Beyer. Chocolate lab Holly tries to catch some Z’s.

Okay reader, here’ s a topic I’m sure we have all dealt with in the past. Sleeplessness at night. Today, in particular, we’re going to discuss sleeplessness brought on by anxiety.

This post idea hit me last night, around 4 am, when I was tossing and turning in my bed, desperately trying to get some sleep. As an anxiety sufferer, let me tell you this definitely was not my first sleepless night.

My sleepless nights do not come from getting too much sleep the night before, or from having caffeine, or from taking too long of a nap that day. My sleeplessness always comes from little pinpricks of anxiety in my brain, making my mind go a thousand miles a minute.

First I’ll start thinking about how the day went, I’ll worry obsessively over what I said to someone, which will make me question every single thing I said that day, which will make me question my ability to interact with others, which will then lead to my heart hammering in my chest as I wonder how I’m going to do it all over the next day.

These thoughts will then lead to me wondering whether or not I did enough on an assignment due the next day, then I’ll start worrying about grades, which will lead to worrying about the semester and finals, which will eventually lead to worrying about finishing college and everything that takes.

Phew. I kid you not, my mind runs away with itself, and soon I’m tossing and turning, worrying about all that, as well as why I can’t sleep now. This is part of something that HealthWorks Collective calls Night Anxiety, and it’s something that can often lead to insomnia in bad cases.

With insomnia comes something called Sleep Anxiety, which means you start to have anxiety over the fact that you’re not sleeping. Insomnia is a paradox. The more you worry about it, the worse it gets.

I, fortunately, do not have insomnia. But the way my mind carries on some nights makes me wonder if that’s something my anxiety could develop in me. I decided last night that I needed to come up with tricks to nip this in the butt before it gets any bigger.

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Photo by Laura Beyer. Is your sleeplessness at night causing you to fall asleep anywhere? Chin up, I can help.

One thing I know that helps me when it starts feeling like I’m having sleep problems is rearranging my room. You’re probably thinking, what? What does that have to do with anything? Let me tell you.

Therapist Mark Tyrrell suggests rearranging your room to help with sleeplessness in his article, because if you’ve spent so many hours laying in the same room worrying, you can develop a conditioned response to immediately become anxious the moment you get in that room.

I know this works for me because last year, I was having sleep problems in January, and my roommate and I decided to rearrange our room just for something different. Wouldn’t you know, our rearrangement instantly made me sleep like a rock.

Redecorating or rearranging gives your brain a clean, restful canvas, which puts a stopper on all those anxious feelings. This is just one way to calm sleepless nights, and in Tyrrell’s article above, he gives you four more I definitely recommend checking out.

So, if you’re starting to feel that itch of anxiety overtaking your good night’s sleep, it may just take a little redecorating to fix the problem for good. Now, get some sleep.

 

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