So in this article I'll give you some (hopefully) helpful tips on sleeping. In middle school, I had struggled with insomnia, and I also have bad anxiety which contributes to most of my sleep loss. Most nights I would find myself up until 4 a.m. or later. Here's some ways I found have helped me on sleepless nights

1. Practice Breathing Techniques- I know this is something you've probably seen again and again, but it's important to give your body a moment to calm down and let it know it's time to sleep. Personally, I've found the "5,7,8" method pretty effective. You start by inhaling for 5 seconds, hold it for 7, and then exhale for 8 seconds. It may take a little practice to master, and feel free to switch up the numbers. This method is one of the few things that helps me wind down and relieve stress.

2. Drink tea- There are a lot of types of teas out there, most of which that contain caffeine. Try to steer clear of those in the afternoon/night, and opt for teas that are specifically designed to help you sleep, which contain chamomile, valerian, or peppermint, all which contain sedative properties or help relieve anxiety. Drinking a cup before bed is a nice way to end a long day. Tea also has many health benefits depending on which type you drink, which is a bonus!

3. You know when you lay down, and the moment your head hits the pillow, you start thinking about everything and anything? Definitely doesn't help you feel anymore tired and only keeps your mind alert. One night I found myself overwhelmed, thinking of a million things when I should've been sleeping. I took a deep breath, and pictured a horse, running along a circular track. The longer I imagined it, it wasn't long until I found my head clear of all the other stuff I was thinking about. So give your mind something to focus on, and reply it in your head.

4. Music- Personally, "anti-anxiety" music has no calming effect on me whatsoever. Most of the time it sounds ominous and dark, which gives me a dreadful feeling. If that works for you, great! Try to play it every night before you sleep to get your body into the habit of slowing down. If you're like me and anti-anxiety music only spikes your anxiousness, search around and find instrumental music that makes you feel peaceful. Music with lyrics only tends to make me want to stay awake and sing along. There are a lot of playlists on YouTube or Spotify you can search up, or, better yet, create your own! Just try to play that same music every night to get your body and mind into a cycle.

5. Keep a schedule- This one is the hardest for me. It's tempting to stay up late to watch Netflix or read, especially when I know I should be getting some sleep. Try not to binge watch and set an alarm for when it's time for you to start getting ready for bed. Going to bed at the same time will help you sleep better as it puts your body on a time schedule.

I'm sure there are plenty of other ways to sleep better- and by no means am I a doctor. Experiment and see what feels right to you! I hope at least one of these sounds like something you might try out, even better if they all do. Good luck!

~Liz

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