Okay, we’re a custom mouthguard company. Why are we talking about anxiety?
Nearly 20% of adults suffer from anxiety, and anyone with anxiety knows that it sometimes gets that much worse before bed. Battling mental health is no easy feat, and we at Cheeky are here to help you feel the best you can.
Nighttime anxiety can lead to sleep Bruxism (teeth grinding) without you realizing it. And in worst-case scenarios, chronic Bruxism can lead to chipped teeth or temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD or TMJ). So, since mental health and oral health are interconnected, we want to help you reduce your anxiety before bedtime and save yourself a sore jaw or a visit to the dentist.
Here are our top ten tips to help you ease your anxiety as you prepare for bed.
Create a Peaceful Environment
It’s like setting the mood… but for self-care. Turn on some calming music or enjoy the quiet for a bit, and settle in for a peaceful evening. Designate a set amount of time before bed that’s just for you. Your version of a peaceful evening will vary drastically compared to others, so make it personal.
Plan out your entire day knowing that you’ll end it with relaxation and quality you-time. From the start of the day, you’ll see that you’ve already created space for yourself to unwind, and you won’t feel guilty for enjoying yourself. Unfortunately, this also means switching to decaf at a certain point in the day.
Deep breathing is a phenomenal technique for easing anxiety, and it can help settle you down before bed. Meditating can help you connect your body and mind, so by practicing calming your body, you end up calming your mind as well. You can use YouTube videos or an app such as Headspace for guided meditation practices.
Or you can practice a specific deep-breathing technique such as box breathing. Box breathing is the practice of inhaling for a count of four, holding it for a count of four, and then exhaling for a count of four.
Exercise in the Day Time
Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and working out for at least a bit during the day can make it easier for you to fall asleep at night. Even if you go for a fifteen-minute walk every day, it’ll be easier for you to fall asleep at night.
Imagine a puppy. If you want the puppy to sleep through the night, you have to play with it and tire it out during the day. You’re the puppy, and exercise is how you can tire yourself out in a productive, healthy way.
Set a Nighttime Routine
Establishing a nightly pattern can help your body and mind prepare for bed. Aim to have dinner around the same time every night, have your wind-down time, then go into your pre-bed routine. This can consist of an activity, meditation, cleaning up around the house, your oral health regimen, your skincare routine, or anything else that helps you sleep easy at night.
Be specific and blend the things you want and need to complete before heading to bed. Write your list down (or type it into a note on your phone) and perform the steps in the same order every night, so by the time you finish the last step, your body knows it’s time to catch some Z’s.
Have a Snack
Before you parade on over to the fridge, you can’t just have any kind of snack and expect to fall asleep. When it’s close to bedtime, you want to avoid caffeine and sugar of any kind. But the good news is that some foods can help you calm down for the evening.
- Tart Cherries: If they’re in season, you can have a bowl of fresh cherries, or if they’re out of season, you can have (low sugar) tart cherry juice. Tart cherries are an excellent source of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
- Brazil Nuts: These buttery tree nuts are rich in selenium, which can help with your thyroid and promote sound sleep. In fact, you only need to have two of them to act as a selenium supplement. (Feel free to have a few extra, though.)
- Chamomile Tea: Even if you’re not a tea person, a cup of chamomile can create a sensation of serenity. This herbal tea has been clinically proven to reduce anxiety and promote sleep.
Practice a Mindfulness Activity
Mindfulness can look like a lot of things, but what matters is that you have an increased awareness of your mind and body. Most people associate mindfulness with meditation because meditation is a great way to practice mindfulness. But if you haven’t totally mastered meditation yet, then there are other ways you can practice being mindful.
Being mindful can mean journaling about your feelings or what happened in your day. If you’re feeling anxious and unsure why, journaling can be a fantastic tool to try to put words to feelings. You can begin by listing the events of the day and see what emotions bubble up as you put pen to paper.
Mindfulness can also take an artistic form, such as embroidery, knitting, crocheting, painting, coloring, or playing an instrument. As you practice a craft, you can quiet your mind and allow your feelings to come forward.
Spend Time with Loved Ones (Virtually or In-Person)
Talking about the events of your day with someone you love can help you unload the stresses of the day before you go to bed. Whether you speak to your partner or roommate at night or call a family member or friend to check in, you’ll feel recharged while building a stronger relationship with someone. You can even switch up who you talk to every night and make a point to reach out to more people.
This can go a long way in calming your anxiety before bed and preventing panic episodes. Even simply playing with a pet can have beneficial emotional and physiological effects.
Turn Off Your Screens
Turn off the TV, shut down the computer, and put your phone on the charger. The last thing you do before you sleep shouldn’t be staring at other people on social media. Your tech devices emit a blue light that will only keep you up longer, so turn them off.
Your devices should have a bedtime of their own. And even if you tell yourself that that one game on your phone helps calm you down, the only thing your phone should be used for before bed is guided meditation.
Take a Bath or Hot Shower
Metaphorically washing the day off of yourself can go a long way for feeling the relief of finishing a stressful day. Whether you want to use a Lush bath bomb or quickly rinse yourself off in the shower, cleaning up can help wash away some of that unwanted anxiety.
Plan for the Future
Make a to-do list for the next day before you hit the hay. Many people have nighttime anxiety because they worry about what the next day will bring. Writing out everything you need to accomplish the next day will help you feel prepared and ready to conquer just about anything.
You don’t have to have a color-coded planner to prepare for the next day, but writing or typing your schedule out can go a long way in alleviating some of your stress.
Dealing with anxiety isn’t easy, and these are just a few tips. There is no shame in seeking help from a therapist, and it’s super helpful to work with someone individually to help calm your anxiety.
If you are grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw in your sleep, you can quickly relieve that pain by investing in a custom nightguard. Cheeky offers affordable, high-quality nightguards that can prevent anxious grinding at night. Learn more here.