Worrying, by definition, is characterised by negative anxious thoughts and an often fruitless attempt to resolve them in the mind. We all worry to some degree, but some people have an inclination to do so more readily, and it has been said that these are ‘natural worriers’. Whether you’re a natural worrier or not, it seems that a common time for worries to enter the mind is around bedtime, particularly the period between getting into bed and going to sleep. When this happens, it results in the mind being kick-started into action and makes it impossible to sleep.
Regardless of whether the worries are genuine and serious concerns, or just the product of an overactive mind, they have no place in the relaxing run-up to good quality sleep.
As worrying has such a dramatic effect on the pre-sleep routine it’s important to try and avoid it at night-time. Here are some simple tips to try and ensure that worries don’t keep you awake.
• Get worries on paper. Just like list-writing can settle a racing mind, writing down your worries on paper can go a long way to stopping them from popping into your mind unexpectedly. When you know your worries physically exist on paper you’re less likely to stress about them, as you know they can be returned to when you’re ready for them.
• Ask a question. If you start worrying when you’re about to go to sleep, ask yourself the question; “Can this wait until tomorrow?” The answer, almost always, is a clear “yes”.
• Tackle worries on your own terms. Instead of allowing worrying to dominate your mind when you’re trying to sleep, set aside some time in your day to sit down and devote your thoughts to them and their resolution. If you can’t resolve them then, carry them over to the same time the next day. Not only will this mean that you can rest easy at night as you know you’ve got things under control, it also means you’re considering the worries when you’re most equipped to deal with them fully awake and alert, so they’re likely to be solved more effectively.