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Sleep anxiety:

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

Change Your Thinking.

Like many anxieties, dread of sleep is all about perspective. Rather than dwell on the negative effects of sleeplessness, remind yourself that it’s perfectly normal to have occasional bad nights and that occasional nighttime awakenings are to be expected.

If you’re anxious because you’re anticipating a disruption, tell yourself to expect it. “I knew an internist who was on call and couldn’t sleep because he was always expecting a call,” Edlund says. “I told him just to expect calls and not worry about it, and he slept much better after that.”


Practice Good Sleep Hygiene.

The basics:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.

  • Don’t eat or drink any caffeine in the four to five hours before bed.

  • Resist the urge to nap.

  • Avoid exercise two hours before bed.

  • Keep your bedroom cool and dark.

  • Limit your bedroom activities to sleep and sex.

If you can’t sleep, get up and do something boring. “Keep a boring book on your bed table,” I says.

Also, create a restful routine. Prime your body for bed by doing the doing the same things every night. A restful routine that involves a warm bath, listening to music, or deep breathing can be especially helpful if you have insomnia, Edlund says.


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