How To Improve Sleep Quality For People With OCD

Last Update on May 13, 2022 : Published on May 15, 2022
Sleep And OCD

Sleepless nights are not new but did you know that in a research study, it was found that people struggling with an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are more likely to have sleep problems?

These sleep disorders or poor sleep quality in people with OCD can be caused by intrusive, obsessive thoughts. However, there are simple ways to improve sleep quality in people with OCD.

Sleep is essential for our bodies to rest and our minds to recharge. To ensure a healthy body and cognitive functioning we need to get enough rest each night. For people with OCD, sleep is more important as this disorder can cause intrusive and compulsive thoughts that can exhaust the brain. Not getting the rest your mind needs can make your condition worse.

Of course, no one can expect a one-for-all solution for all sleep issues for people with OCD as symptoms can vary from person to person. If you’re struggling with chronic sleep problems, then it is recommended that you speak to your therapist.

Why Can’t People With OCD Sleep Very Well?

So why do people with OCD face sleep problems? While anxious thoughts are one of the reasons that keep us awake every night, things can be more stressful for people with OCD. One of the OCD symptoms is intrusive thoughts, throughout the day. These thoughts are unlikely to go away during the nighttime, making getting a good night’s rest difficult.

The sleep quality of a person with OCD can be worse if the OCD overlaps with other mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression. Poor sleep quality can ultimately affect your next day’s performance, making the symptoms of OCD and other co-occurring problems challenging to deal with.

In another study, it was reported that more than 45% of people with OCD struggle with poor sleep quality. People with OCD who also struggle with minor sleep problems have reported sleep disorders such as:

  • Sleep latency or having a hard time falling asleep
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Lying in bed for hours without sleeping
  • Often staying up late or not going to sleep
  • Struggling with Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (where the circadian rhythm does not follow a sleep schedule)

Sleep Tips To Improve Sleep Quality For OCD

While people with OCD might face difficulty going to sleep easily, there are ways they can improve their sleep quality and get the right amount of sleep to let their minds and bodies recharge enough to deal with the next day’s challenges.

Here are some sleep tips to help people with OCD sleep well:

1. Read Before Bed:

Bedtime reading is a good choice to help take your mind off intrusive, anxious, and obsessive thoughts. Reading a book can also help you relax into a sleepy mood. Avoid reading on your phone or e-reader and try to take up a paperback.

2. Turn Off The Lights

Lights from your electronic devices can harm your melatonin production. If you’re struggling with sleep problems with OCD, then try to avoid bright lights before bed, especially through your TV, mobile, or other electronic devices. Make sure to expose yourself to the natural lights in your bedroom upon waking to set your circadian rhythm.

3. Maintain A Regular Sleep Schedule

If you’re struggling with poor sleep quality with OCD, then try to maintain a regular sleep schedule. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule can help tell your body when to expect sleep and when to wake up each morning.

4. Exercise Daily

In a research study, it was found that exercising daily, even a 10-minute walk, can help you steady your sleep schedule, especially when you’re struggling with OCD. However, try to avoid exercising too close to your bedtime as it can release hormones that can increase your body temperature, keep you from falling asleep, and prevent the production of melatonin.

5. Try Natural Sleep Supplements

Natural sleep supplements including GABA, valerian root, winter cherry, and herbal teas such as chamomile and lavender, can help induce sleep as well. If you’re struggling with anxious and intrusive thoughts, then taking natural sleep supplements can help you sleep faster. Please talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

6. Guided Meditation Can Help

Guided meditation for sleep can also help with inducing sleep and prevent intrusive thoughts. Sleep meditations can help you focus on your breathing and keep you in the present moment. If you find your thoughts wandering, you can learn to redirect your attention to your breathing and let go of the thoughts holding you back from getting the sleep you need. You can also practice meditation during the day to help stop intrusive and compulsive thoughts.

7. Avoid Caffeine Before Bed

Caffeine is a drug that on one hand can help increase cognitive function but, on the other hand, can also make you feel alert and energetic. If you’re struggling with sleep problems, then it’s best to avoid caffeine before bed. If you have to, then it is recommended that you drink decaf beverages in the evening. And if you want to drink caffeine, then do so before 4 pm.

8. Get Professional Help

Sometimes, other disorders are behind the reasons why you can’t sleep. If you’re still facing trouble falling asleep, then it is recommended that you speak to a professional for an official diagnosis and get the right treatment.

I hope these above sleep tips to improve sleep quality for people with OCD will help you. For more, you can write to us at info@calmsage.com or DM us on social media. You can also share your sleep tips in the comments below.

Take care and sleep well!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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