• Izak Hannard

Killing Sleep Anxiety With a Spotify Playlist!

Updated: Jan 30, 2018

If you are like me who doesn't have a fixed sleeping pattern and does not immediately fall asleep when the head hits the pillow - then this may help.

Some nights I don't really have a problem sleeping, but on most nights it takes me between 1-2 hours to fall asleep. Why? Well from what I have heard it is a hereditary thing as other family members have the same problem.

I tend to reflect and contemplate life quite a lot when I'm in a dark room all alone, cuddling up to myself in bed. My brain wonders off into all those weird and wacky scenarios, distracting my body from actually wanting to fall asleep.

In the last few months I've been waking up in a shocked and panic state every time I'm in the first twenty minutes of sleep. My heart beating rapidly, trying to catch my breath. To this day I still do not understand why. So I have come to the conclusion that my inner anxiety wakes up as I fall asleep.

Day to day, I do not suffer with heightened anxiety. Of course I have days that are better than others and there may be times when I get stressed with journalism deadlines or other social matters, but on the whole I think everybody feels this way from time to time. Most nights, I manage to sleep without a problem, but over the last few months these re-occurrences of sleeping anxiety has messed up my sleeping pattern.

For instance, for the past few weeks I have been sleeping from as late as 5 am and waking up at 2 pm, so by the time I wake up, get ready and have something to eat, the day is done! I've been feeling like an owl.

Today was my first day back at university for Semester 2. Today was newsday. I could not sleep at all last night. I was tossing and turning all night and I lay in bed for five hours trying to fall asleep, but it was impossible. I eventually fell asleep at 5:30am and woke up at 6:30am to my alarm. I slept through ten alarms I set myself and woke up at 8:20am and I should have left for uni by then. So I had to get a taxi instead of the free bus to university, had to skip breakfast and was panicking about being late on my first day back. It was stressful!

So to solve this problem and fix my sleeping routine I tried out something different to help calm myself. I was scrolling through playlists on Spotify when I found music to sleep to. So I scrolled through a couple and started to play a playlist (which has now become one of my favourites that I stream every night) called "The Moon is Calling".

On this playlist is songs that are very much piano/acoustic. They are slow songs, most melancholic. Whenever I listen to certain songs images of dessert land, marshland and space all come to mind depending on the song. I am drifted away from this world into another I paint in my mind. They take me to calming places that are quiet and it really does help to relax me and canvas a picture away from all the clogged up thoughts that i think about which create anxiety.

There is one song called "Planets and Stars" by Pavvla and whenever I play it I always close my eyes and imagine I'm in a really peaceful garden in the middle of summer, surrounded by a stream and beautiful green scenery. I find this to be the most calming song for me on the playlist.

Since playing this playlist at a low volume every night when I get into bed, I feel that I am falling asleep much quicker and the anxiety that kept waking me up is dead.

Not only do I occasionally have restless nights, I have also been told that I sleep talk and grind my teeth in my sleep a lot!

A few months ago I was at my routine checkup at my dentist when she asked me if I grind my teeth in my sleep. I said yes and they recommended that I wear night guard to protect my teeth from becoming chipped. I still do not have night guard, but I'm fine with that. However, it does explain why sometimes I wake up with an aching jaw. This is supposedly linked to stress and anxiety.

I am also finding that reading a book or relaxing in a dark room with some lit candles really adds a relaxing ambience, which makes me feel tired to the point of wanting to fall asleep. This is something that I am going to keep doing as well as trying to get back into a proper routine where I don't miss breakfast anymore.

I really do recommend trying this if you are having a similar experience to me when it comes to having problems with sleeping, especially through those stressful times. There are many more Spotify playlists to choose from as well, so take your pick!