Is the mental load of motherhood keeping you up at night? See how these 5 sleep tips, including a weighted blanket, can help calm an anxious mind at night.
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), an estimated 40 million adults in the US suffer from anxiety every year, with 264 million people worldwide.
And the last few years living through a worldwide pandemic has only exacerbated anxiety issues.
Women, who are twice as likely to be affected as men, are feeling the brunt of the struggles. More and more worries are adding to that mental load – whether it be keeping her family healthy, balancing child care and work or simply being able to get out of the house without fears and anxieties.
Unfortunately, many of these worries and anxieties surface at bedtime, making it a challenge to quiet the mind and sleep well.
So what can you do to improve your sleep quality when intrusive thoughts fill your mind?
Below are some tried and true tips to ease those anxieties and help you relax a little more at night.
How to ease anxieties and sleep better at night
LIMIT CAFFEINE INTAKE
Whether it’s coffee, soda, or candy, caffeine is a stimulant and is made to keep you awake. While this is helpful when you need a boost of energy during the day, it can interfere with restful sleep at night and add to the jitters. Remember to limit your caffeine intake each day and try to avoid it as much as possible in the evenings.
AVOID SCREENS AT BEDTIME
We all know this is easier said than done, but staring at your phone right before you go to bed, can keep you up longer than you intend. The Blue light of screens is known to interfere with sleep, even after you put it away. The best practice is to turn off screens about 1 hour before you plan to sleep…it may take time to adjust to, so I suggest you work your way up to an hour gradually.
MEDITATE or Practice deep breathing
The benefits of slow, deep rhythmic breathes are well documented. Inhaling and exhaling in this manner, has the power to release negative energy and bring in calm soothing energy. Practicing this throughout the day, and as you lay down in bed can help relax both your mind and body.
USE A BEDTIME TO-DO LIST
Take some of the mental load out of your head and onto paper — because we all know EVERY thought tends to come to mind when winding down for the night. One thing I like to do is keep a journal on my nightstand. This way I can quickly jot down all the things that fill my mind and be ready to tackle them the next day. And if I have an urgent thought pop in my head after I do lay down, I don’t have to run out of bed or add it to a phone calendar.
TRY A WEIGHTED BLANKET
Weighted blankets have been growing in popularity recently, as more and more people tout their calming benefits.
This type of blanket is heavier than a normal blanket, either densely knitted or filled with glass beads and other fillings to promote calmness and relaxation. The deep pressure provided is meant to stimulate the production of serotonin feel-good hormones, reduce stress hormones, and increase the levels of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
The Hush Weighted Blanket
One weighted blanket that is worth considering to help ease those bedtime anxieties is the Hush Classic Blanket designed for insomniacs, those who toss and turn or wake up throughout the night, and those who have occasional stressful days.
I recently got to check out the blanket to see it in action. The first thing I noticed was how heavy the blanket truly is — exactly how the pressure is meant to work to ease stress and increase those feel-good serotonin levels.
As far as what it feels like, the Hush is made of super comfortable microfiber material and includes a duvet cover with super-soft minky threading. It mimics the warm comfort of being wrapped in a baby-like swaddle.
I really like the fact that I can separate the cover to throw in the wash and still use the inner blanket as is too.
You can get the blanket in a variety of sizes to accommodate your lifestyle too — Twin blankets wrap around one for a stress-relieving cocoon feel, while Queen/King is made to be shared. The blanket is designed to be about 10% of your body weight, so keep this in mind when choosing a size.
The queen blanket is just what an anxious mom like myself needs right now.
I often have every worry and to-do pop in my head the minute I lay down… it becomes a vicious cycle and struggle to wind down after a long day. The pressure from the blanket helps to provide that restful nudge I need. I also like the fact that I can layer it on top of my regular comforter to induce sleep or use it alone.
For a cold sleeper like me, the heaviness and added warmth the blanket provides is a great fit. However, if you’re one to get too hot or sweaty at night, the Hush Iced might be a better option — it is designed to add a cooling effect for hot sleepers.
I’ve only had the Hush blanket for a few days, but can already see why so many others have turned to weighted blankets for anxiety relief. It provides that that physical comfort and warm fuzzy feeling to help keep your worries at bay, if just for the night.
You can check out the array of weighted blankets Hush offers HERE. (They even had blankets for kids).
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported hundreds of thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a blogger and maternal health advocate at MommysBundle.com.