After spending all day stressing about work, it can feel awful to go to bed and dream about it. When you need restful sleep the most, it can seem incredibly elusive.
Work-related anxiety dreams can be the cause of poor performance during the day, and vice versa. They simply don’t help with anything.
If you are struggling with anxiety outside of work as well, consider reaching out to a professional counselor at BetterHelp. With hardwork and commitment, the therapists at BetterHelp can guide you towards mental wellbeing.
To manage work-related anxiety dreams, here are a few things you can do to help mitigate those problems.
Limit Screens at Night
Even if your workday does not end at the same time as everyone else’s, it’s important to put the work aside at least 1 hour before bedtime. In fact, it is important to limit all screen time at night.
If you enjoy watching TV to unwind before bed, that is totally fine – just give yourself time thereafter to get away from the screen.
Interacting with screens, whether it be your TV, your phone, or your computer, stimulates a part of the brain, making it difficult for you to sleep. The blue light that these screens emit can even strain your eyesight when viewing them in the dark.
Before bedtime, turn off your devices, or at least put them on “do not disturb.” That way, you will not be tempted by your device and you can give yourself ample time to transition from work mode to sleep mode.
If there is something in particular that is stressing you out about your work, it might be due to procrastination.
Perhaps you have a task or assignment that you know must get done, sooner rather than later, and you’ve put it off for too long. This can be a common cause of work-related anxiety dreams.
When you get the chance, just start one portion of the project, even if it means writing your name and title on a piece of paper.
Just do something small to get the ball rolling, and bite it off small bits each day.
Don’t Work In Your Bed
Whether you are working from home or if you are working after hours, do not work in your bed.
Your bed should remain a place reserved for sleep, and once you introduce work into your bed, you will have a harder time separating the two.
On the flip side, working in bed can make you incredibly tired due to the association of bed to sleep. In any case, working in your bed will not lead toward a productive work life, nor a restful sleep life.
If your anxiety dreams are making you toss and turn, consider getting a weighted blanket.
A weighted blanket can help your body feel at ease and cocooned. This will also help you avoid tossing and turning in the middle of the night.
Keep a Notebook Next to the Bed
If you cannot turn your brain off at night, you might find some comfort in keeping a notebook next to the bed or on your nightstand.
This way, if you do have any ideas you would like to write down as you fall asleep or in the middle of the night, you can do so without opening your phone and getting sucked into the digital world.
You can even write down your dreams in the morning. If you have any recurring work-related stress dreams, or anything especially random or alarming, write it down. You might be able to discover clues about the root of the anxiety and therefore help relieve it.
For example, if you keep dreaming about showing up to the office without any pants on, perhaps you are anxious about being punctual or anxious about your commute.
Figure out which dreams are inciting restlessness and get to the bottom of why.
If you need help with falling asleep, consider listening to a guided meditation. There are many apps that provide guided meditations free of charge.
These meditations range in length, in narration, and in intention. Some have music, some have bells, and some have soundscapes of nature.
With the help of guided meditation, you can put your focus onto something other than your work-related thoughts. You can practice listening to another voice and getting wrapped up in the story.
If you are still having trouble sleeping at night due to work-related anxiety, you can also try using a sound machine.
Sometimes when a room is too quiet, we tend to fill it with our thoughts and anxieties. This is totally unproductive, especially when you are trying to experience restful sleep.
With a sound machine, you can listen to white noise, sounds of the ocean, music, or rain as you drift off to sleep.
Ask For Help
If work is really getting in the way of your sleep and of your social life, ask for help.
Tell a trusted coworker what you’re feeling and see if there is anything that they can do to help. Even if they are incapable of taking some of the workloads off of your hands, perhaps they have an idea of how to make it a bit easier.
Afterward, you can always turn to a professional counselor to help navigate those leftover feelings of anxiety.
Author Bio: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.