Anyone who has anxiety has probably had experience with the sleep window.  This is the ideal time, or rather the window of time you have to fall asleep and have it occur in an ok period of time.  Not anxiety free, but anxiety light.

If you go to bed too early, you aren’t tired enough to sleep.  It takes a while to drift off, and this allows you to have longer to let the 1000 anxious thoughts to come to the surface.  The time where you aren’t sleepy enough you get so riled up, that ultimately you can’t sleep at all. So sleeping when you are more tired makes sense.  Except…

You have now waited to long.  You are overly tired.  Now that one minor anxious thought gets blown out of proportion.  You are crying at the thought of your impending car accident tomorrow. All possibilities are worse case scenarios, you are having a panic attack.

So now you are aiming for an hour window where you have enough time to fall asleep without getting into bed too awake of too tired to get to sleep.  And of course still get enough sleep for tomorrow.

This makes it hard when, changing your schedule, or going to bed early. Overall if i have a week I try and do a hard reset, early in the week then allow my body to adapt to the new getting up time.  If not, I have given up on getting up early the day before, because if I have something important I almost never can sleep the day before, so I might as well only have one night of sleep deprivation rather than two.

I also use a routine:  Brush, teeth, pee, turn on tv to firefly episode one.  Take off glasses, blow nose, curl up under covers. If after an hour I can’t sleep, I get up, and redo the routine.  Rather than continue not being able to sleep, I start from scratch.  Sometimes if I am lucky, this will disrupt the thought train enough to sleep the second time around.  The regular routine tricks my body into thinking this is bedtime again. Which is just as helpful for those off days as it is the other times when the routine just works.  While this feeds into the OCD control issues, giving a little to gain a lot has always been worth it in my book.

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