How to Sleep When You Have Anxiety

Whether you are regularly an anxiety sufferer or are suffering from postpartum anxiety, this post will give you ideas on how to relax for a better night's sleep. As a new mom, I had a lot of trouble sleeping. I would have no energy during the day, and then lay down in bed at night and I could just not fall asleep. Some nights I would just be wide awake. Other nights I would be exhausted, but I could not get my mind to stop racing. All of the sudden, everything that I should have done during the day would pop into my head. Everything that I needed to get done tomorrow would just seem overwhelming. On top of all of that, the fact that I was not asleep was frustrating in itself.

I took to Facebook, blog posts, parenting books, and asking other moms for tips. I haven’t found anything to stop the ongoing to-do lists in my head, but I did find some great ways to relax before bed. Taking the time to set up a bedtime routine for yourself is important. You will be more rested, more relaxed, and more ready to tackle each day when you wake up. Find what works and stick with it. Just like all babies do better with a bedtime routine, so do their parents.

Here are some things to try to help you relax before bed:

Turn off the electronics

Studies have shown that our electronic devices emit blue light that disrupts our ability to sleep.  It seems nice to sit and relax on your social media before bed, but in actuality you are just keeping yourself awake longer and decreasing the quality of your sleep. Try turning off the screens 30 minutes to an hour before bed.

Legs up the wall

Yoga in general is a great tool for relaxing your mind and body. You can add yoga into your daily routine to wake you up in the morning and to help you to fall asleep at night. The legs up the wall yoga pose is great for calming your nervous system and helping you to relax. This pose gives you all of the mind/body benefits of an inverted yoga pose without the effort! Try laying in this position for several minutes before bed to relax mentally and physically.

Exercise in the morning

This one have a couple of sides to it. As we all learned in Legally Blonde, exercising releases endorphins, and endorphins make us happy. These endorphins also have the added benefit of keeping us awake and energized. By exercising in the morning, you are starting your day off right and getting a little extra boost. You will also likely be a little more tired at night from the extra energy that you spent. When you exercise at night, you are releasing all of those endorphins and extra energy at a time when you don’t want them. Think about re-organizing your daily routine to maximize energy during the day and restfulness at night. Having healthy habits in general will help your body to function better during the day and rest better at night.

Use essential oils

There are many essential oils and blends that are meant to calm and help you sleep. I use a lavender blend in the diffuser by my bed. Some good ones to try are Lavender Essential Oil , Ylang Ylang Oil, Lemon Oil, Sandalwood Oil , Bergamot Oil, and Jasmine Oil. If you don’t want to use a diffuser you can mix an oil with water to make a sheet spray or mix with lotion. Be sure to check if your oil is approved for topical use before doing either of these.

Drink a cup of tea

There are plenty of sleepy time teas on the market. They are usually mild in flavor and contain a blend of herbs designed to help calm you. In general, any non-caffeinated tea will help to soothe and relax you as you get ready for bed. I tend to drink a DeTox Tea while we watch tv at night.

Spend time in bed before going to sleep

Some people (my husband!) just lay down in bed at night and are out within mere moments. If you’re not one of those lucky people – which you’re probably not because you are reading this post – then it can be hard to just lay down and expect to go to sleep. Try spending 15 minutes or so in bed before you try to go to sleep. Make sure that you are doing something just to unwind like reading, journaling, or some light pillow talk.


Reading is a great way to take your mind off everything around you. A great book can help you escape reality and dive into a story for a while. A magazine, newspaper, or journal can have some great articles to help use the time to educate yourself. If nothing else, reading is something that you can do in bed to relax that doesn’t involve any electronics.


I use a Prayer Journall (or try to…sometimes my intentions are better than my habits), and I find that it really helps me to relax when I spend sometime with myself and God before bed. You could also try this Journal for Self-Exploration, this Creative Mindfulness Guide and Journal, or just a book of blank pages. Whatever works best for you, journaling is a nice way to wrap up your day, clear your mind, and relax before bed.

Limit coffee intake during the day

This is one that I am definitely guilty of. When you are tired during the day, you drink more coffee, the coffee keeps you awake at night, and then you wake up even more tired the next day…calling for more coffee. See how this can easily turn into a vicious circle? Limiting your coffee drinking during the day may help you sleep better at night, leading to less reliance on the caffeine to keep you going. If you are a coffee lover (raises hand, “me, me!”), keep your coffee earlier in the day so that you can use up the energy. Your best bet is to limit yourself to one or two cups and keep them more than 8 hours before bedtime.

How do you relax to get better sleep?

Whether you are an anxiety sufferer, are suffering from postpartum anxiety, or if you just need to calm down before bed - this post will give you ideas on how to relax for a better night's sleep.

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52 thoughts on “How to Sleep When You Have Anxiety

  1. I have to say that now I have kids, when i have the chance to sleep, I have no trouble getting there! I have definitely had times though when it was a struggle and remember a time when every Sunday night I just could not get to sleep! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  2. I can really relate to this. I am a complete insomniac, even when I’m crazy tired. Even if on the rare occasion I manage to get to sleep at a reasonable time, I will wake up in the early hours – for hours. I don’t take my phone up to bed any more, that definitely helps. I also make lists and write down anything that’s bothering me.

    • I definitely have nights like that! Sometimes you just can’t calm down no matter how exhausted you are.
      Sounds like you are taking steps in the right direction!
      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Usually I can sleep pretty easily but if I have a lot going on in my life, stressful stuff, I can struggle to go to sleep when I wake in the night. I try to not pick my phone up and my auntie talks of “shelving” thoughts “I will not think about this now, I will think about it at x o’clock tomorrow” #TriumphantTales

    • That’s a great idea! I will sometimes even tell Siri to remind me of things in the morning because it helps me to put them on the shelf.
      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  4. Lush have released something that apparently makes you sleep like a dream! I sleep ok, but im very restless and throw myself around alot and have been known to hit hubby in our sleep oops! i have no tips other than unwinding before going to bed, and also not being in the room too long as its there for sleep, nothing else!
    Thanks for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back on Tuesday

    • That is a good tip! One of our college professors told us off for doing homework in our beds. He said it would mess with our sleep and make our work unfocused. As an adult, tips like that seem to hold a lot more weight!

  5. switching off electronics works for me and i find writing things down that are bothering me is good to help me sleep as it means i can switch off from them, knowing that i can focus on sorting them in the morning #triumphanttales

    • That definitely helps! The last minute social media checks in bed always make fro a more restless night for me.
      Thanks for stopping by.

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