Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night is absolutely essential for maintaining your mental edge, losing weight, and keeping depression at bay.  But if you suffer from anxiety, good sleep may be little more than an elusive dream.

Try these 10 tips for calming your mind and drifting off to sleep gracefully.  Bear in mind that no one suggestion will work for everyone, so keep trying new tactics until you find what works for you.

  1. Don’t watch TV for 1-2 hours before bedtime, especially any program that may be over stimulating or upsetting.
  2. Try reading yourself to sleep. This can work wonders… but read boring books!  If you read action-packed thrillers or horror stories, you are not likely to drift off into peaceful never-never land.
  3. Take a warm, quiet bath.  Also, try adding a couple of drops of lavender or chamomile essential oil to the water – both are very relaxing aromas.
  4. Soothing sound therapy can induce a peaceful mood and lull you to sleep.  Consider nature sounds, soft music, wind chimes, or even a fan.
  5. Don’t eat for at least 2-3 hours before going to bed.
  6. Use the bed and bedroom only for sleep or sexual activity.  When you are unable to fall asleep or return to sleep easily, get up and go to another room.
  7. Regular exercise is very beneficial for insomnia, but don’t do it within 4 hours of the time you hit the sack.  Vigorous exercise late in the evening may energize you and keep you awake.
  8. Avoid chocolate, nicotine, and alcohol – especially at night.  Although alcohol can initially make you feel sleepy, it can also disturb sleep.
  9. If you are prone to waking up in the middle of the night, refrain from looking at the clock.  Checking the time can increase your anxiety, which aggravates the problem.
  10. Listen to guided imagery audio recordings while lying in bed, instead of your own worrisome thoughts.