A few months ago, one of my posts focused on how to sleep with anxiety for those out there who struggle. Since sleep and mental health have a direct connection, I thought there were people out there who, like me, have tremendous anxiety around bedtime. Even then (in January), I knew I wasn’t alone. Now, I’d guess that almost all of us are having trouble around bedtime as we end another day of living through a pandemic (“Day ??” is my go-to phrase) and try to sleep before starting another one. And though bedtime is more difficult for all of us, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to feel that way.
Depending on who you are and what you’re dealing with, there are plenty of reasons why bedtime can be difficult. We’re often tossing and turning, and whether that’s mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally or whatever else, it isn’t fun. One of the things that can make it frustrating is that we think we’re not “allowed” or not “supposed” to have trouble with sleep. For some of us, we’ve never had trouble with this before. We get under the covers, close our eyes, and are asleep within minutes. If there’s one more thing we can add to this list of what is under the “new normal” trouble sleeping is definitely on the list.
While the tips I offer in my Sleeping with Anxiety post are a good rule of thumb, your mindset also plays a critical role. Like other issues we face in our day-to-day lives, we have a tendency to fall into a thought process that certain problems could never happen to us. We’re creatures of habit, and when we can’t do something that we always used to be good at or do with ease, it’s frustrating. Why? Because we can’t accept the reality of the current situation. For example: since we used to be good at falling asleep, it’s unacceptable that it’s not easy anymore. That lack of acceptance leads to frustration, annoyance and ultimately, failure. It’s a mindset we need to escape as soon as possible.
Instead, we need to understand that things are different now. We have to adapt. Accepting a new normal does not mean you’re accepting permanence; it means accepting that something is happening for at least a moment and likely even longer. Many more people are dealing with new anxieties, depressive episodes, sleeping problems and other issues that weren’t present weeks ago. Denial doesn’t help much, and it certainly won’t help you here. Education is helpful to create a new mindset.
For everything you’re feeling, there’s someone who’s been there, who’s experienced the problem you’re having. Just like other solutions, there are a ton of tips, tricks and methods to falling asleep efficiently. We’ve all overcome obstacles in our lives, and now more than ever, we’re going to see people dealing with those same obstacles. I hope we can reach out and lend a hand where it’s needed. There are people out there who can benefit from your experience. Now more than ever is time for you to share it.