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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Praus, MSE, LPCC

I Have Anxiety and Here is My Nighttime Routine to Relieve Stress, Manage Anxiety and Get a Good Night's Sleep: Tips From a Therapist to Help You Get to Sleep

Like many with anxiety, you may struggle to get to sleep. It’s hard to get a good night's rest when your mind is full of racing thoughts or your trapped in the feeling of tomorrow’s impending doom. 

I spent years of my life deprived of sleep because of anxiety. I can relate to how difficult it is to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Several years ago I committed to establishing a solid nighttime routine to improve my sleep, which has also drastically improved my ability to function as a human being, and this has been a game changer in alleviating my chronic stress and managing my anxiety.

Here are some tips for a good bedtime routine to help you get to sleep (and stay asleep): 

  • Start your nighttime routine in low or minimal lighting.

I brush my teeth, change my clothes and do other miscellaneous nighttime things in low light which means I don’t turn on the lights above the vanity or ceiling lights. Instead, I use the light from an adjacent room, hallway or a nightlight to get enough lighting to see but not so much that I’m stimulating my brain and nervous system. 

  • Make your space comfortable. 

If I am doing something while in bed to help me sleep, like reading, I will use a book light or a lamp with a 3-way bulb on the lowest setting. Like the step above, this is to ensure that my brain and nervous system are not being overstimulated by bright light. 

I love coziness and warmth, and have found that investing in these two things helps me fall and stay asleep. I have a blanket that helps keep my body temperature just right when I sleep and on nights when it is a bit chillier (winter in MN), I will put on socks before bed to provide a little extra warmth as I am cozying up for a good read. 

Having the right pillow can be vital in obtaining good sleep, so I have a few different pillows and will swap them out as needed depending on the season and position I will sleep in. 

  • Relieve muscle tension. 

I use an acupressure mat nightly to relive any pain, stress or tension that has built up throughout the day.

I follow-up my acupressure routine with a heating pad. I find that the warmth gives me that little extra relief my body is looking for. 

  • Relax your mind.

I read for 30 minute to 1 1/2 hours every night. Reading is something I really enjoy and having this as a nighttime routine helps drown out any lingering noise from the day, reducing my stress levels, helping to relax my mind and calm my nervous system. 

  • Turn out the lights and go to bed as soon as you start to feel a sense of being tired.

There’s usually a point in which I am reading that my eyelids begin to feel heavy and droop, and I can’t recall what I have just read. This is the point in which I close my book, turn off the light, and go to sleep. This is the signal that I am tired and ready for a good night's rest. 

Whatever nighttime routine you implement, be sure to stick to it. It takes time to build your system up to a routine, but over time this routine will signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep. 

If you’re thinking about adding therapeutic support to your self-care routine, get in touch using the contact page on our website: to schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation to see if we’re a good fit for you. Anxiety is our wheelhouse and we'd love to chat and discuss how we can be of support!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to hear from you!

Samantha Praus, MSE, LPCC 

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

a cat sleeping on a white blanket
Tips from a Therapist to Get a Good Night's Sleep


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