Lifestyle

When worry stops you from switching off and sleeping, plus some tips to help

Unfortunately getting a good night’s sleep is not as easy as counting sheep. You find yourself worrying about your financial state, health problems; perhaps you have relationship issues you don’t know how to manage your troublesome kids.

Sleep is crucial to functioning on any level as a mother and partner, caring for children and running a household. Without sleep, you may find your mood and tolerance suffers, as does your willpower and energy levels. Worry also releases stress hormones that lead to physical issues such as the tendency to emotionally eat, cardiac problems and depression.

worry prevents sleep

Tips to help you switch off and get some sleep

If you can’t switch off at night, try implementing some of these tips for a good nights sleep.

Try to be present

Worry all you want but it will not stop potential bad events from occurring. Worrying just drains you mentally and emotionally. So it’s pointless to try to predict all the possibilities that may or may not happen. When you feel your mind wandering into a ‘what-might-happen’ mindset, make the conscious decision to think about something positive like a happy memory or a goal you’re working towards.

If you need some help to stay present try the meditations in the mind, body, breath category under the exercises in our app.

Bad things happen

Unfortunately, this is a part of life and you can’t stop it no matter how hard you try. Accept this. Worrying is a sign that you like to be in control and it’s a scary thought that none of us are in control of anything or anyone but our own self. Rather than wasting energy worrying about what might happen, reserve it for when you actually encounter the bad stuff.

Fact vs. Fiction

Cognitive bias is a major player when you can’t switch off. In this context, it simply means how much of your worry is based on legitimate concerns and how much is based on reality you’ve distorted? If you find you can’t tell which is what, the next time you feel yourself worrying in bed, ask yourself what is actually worrying you, how worrying is going to solve the problem and what would happen if you stopped?

Ok, worry within reason

You’ve tried the above but it’s not that simple and you still can’t stop yourself from worrying! So give yourself permission to worry. Whether it’s overdoing the laundry, dishes or cooking, allow yourself five minutes each day to take stock of all the issues worrying you. When time is up, make the conscious effort to stop worrying by the above means if necessary.

Plan of action

One of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep is by getting reassurance in what you’re worried about. This means channelling that energy you waste on worrying into finding solutions to your problem. Is it a financial issue? Get help by actively seeking out a financial planner or speaking to the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. Is it a relationship issue? Try Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277. They have nationwide counselling services that charge sessions based on what your income is. By creating action, the feeling of taking steps in the right direction towards a solution may stem the worry you feel, resulting in a restful night’s sleep.

Join our community of supportive mums!

If you are wanting to get that bit of extra support in your journey to better health come and join our community of over 1.5 million mums.

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Shara Smith

Shara is a psychotherapist and a counsellor, who has over 12 years experience in the mental health, life coaching and self-care sector. While she loves her husband and three kids, she also loves watching re-runs of Sex in the City and baking decadent cookies that only she gets to eat.

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