Sleeping When Anxiety Is at an All-Time High

Anna Burgess Yang
4 min readNov 3, 2020
Image created via Midjourney

Well. Nothing quite like a global pandemic and an era-defining election to kick anxiety into epic proportions, huh?

Mental health experts and surveys are finding more people are anxious and depressed than ever. People are facing challenges like never before while also experiencing unease, hopelessness, and fear.

When coronavirus first ramped up back in March, I found myself unable to sleep. My heart was racing. I felt like everything was out of my control.

The internet has become flooded with self-care tips. But what I have learned from years of managing anxiety is this: it is hard to get started.

Once you form a routine of self-care and start to feel better, it becomes easier but finding what works can be tricky. Every person is different, and what works for one may not work for another. There are also so many suggestions out there that it can feel overwhelming.

One thing I have learned is that, for me, sleep is #1. If I don’t sleep well, it is nearly impossible to focus on anything else. And — when feeling anxious — sleep can become incredibly difficult.

Fear of Covid-19 disrupted my sleep for weeks. Racing thoughts prevented me from falling asleep at bedtime. I had nightmares about what would happen to my family if I were to get sick.

Lack of sleep compounded the problem. I had to make sleep my priority in order to survive the day.

I finally found a combination of things that have been working. My FitBit has been giving me a sleep score of near 90/100 most nights, with usually around 7 hours of sleep. It has made a world of difference in handling the day.

(In full disclosure, I also take medication for generalized anxiety. No denying that it helps keep me even-keel, but even the meds were not enough to combat the sleeplessness I was facing.)

My nightly ritual now includes ALL of the following:

1. Magnesium

After complaining to my prescribing provider that my anti-anxiety medication was not helping much with sleep, she suggested adding magnesium. It has made a HUGE difference in sleep quality.

2. Tea

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Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur. Niche freelance writer. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. • https://start.annabyang.com/