I have no anxiety and yet I've woken up around 4 almost every morning since my late 60s. It's age related I'm sure. I just get on my computer or phone, check my email and forums, play a little chess and head back to the sack and nap till breakfast
The wife told me I think too much...
Like you James, I too am 70 years old and wake up at 4:30 AM. My body can be tired but my mind doesn't want to turn off sometimes. When I was in my early 60's, a friend who was already 70 told me that this was happening to him also. I guess it comes with aging and subconsciously thinking there aren't many years left. Some nights I sleep very good though!
Have an evening sleep ritual something to signal to your brain it's time to start winding down.
Avoid devices and screens after a certain hour.
Don't eat too late.
Avoid caffeine late in the day.
Avoid alcohol at bedtime as it may help you fall asleep but cause to wake a few hours later and getting back to sleep wil be more difficult than if you had none. Also will cause rebound anxiety.
Read something boring and comforting at bedtime - fiction is good for this.
Focus on breathing inhale for 7 hold for 5 exhale for eight - repeat.
You are not your thoughts.
Getting to sleep is a cinch for me...because I know how to stop thinking. I count backwards from 100 with rhythmic breathing. (breathing very important)
internally say 90 while inhaling; then 9 while exhaling
inhale 90; exhale 8.
inhale 90; exhale 7
If you start to drift off; but not quite and forget where you are; start again.
If you restart thinking instead of counting; go immediately back to counting where you left off.
James Mixon, have you tried meditation? Doing a body scan in the comfort of your own bed to get to sleep or get back to sleep after awakening can work wonders!
James, sometimes obsessing on a thought is simply a looping prison for the brain. Examine what you are thinking about. Are you thinking to resolve a problem or just replaying the same thought again and again? I would call that worrying. Instead, take command of your thoughts. I channel them to some enjoyable event or memory I prize and engage in reliving some aspect of it mentally. Before I know it I am asleep. It can be a struggle sometimes but it works for me.
Tune in to a comedian before bedtime. A little gut excercise is useful.
I thought this thread was a joke and was expecting the punchline.
It reminds me of the observation that my wife and I had 20 happy years, then we met each other. (That was a joke by the way)
To address the actual thread: I've gone through phases in my life. Sometimes I've had so much to think about I could hardly get to sleep at night for wondering, imagining, planning. Other times I could go to sleep usually always (!) when my head hits the pillow. At the moment I go to sleep instantly. I guess I don't have much appetite for cogitating at the moment for some reason...
A lot of that ceased for me when I finally became convinced that JWs were wrong, without any doubt. I have not come to a conclusion about "what is right", and I think that is a lot more difficult to achieve that conclusion. I'm pretty much OK with "it doesn't matter". My time too is short. WAY TOO MUCH time, effort, and assets wasted on being a "zealous JDub". Life is short. Enjoy what time you haven't squandered on the Cult.
The greatest revenge is living a happy & successful life!
James Mixon, My heart goes out to you. In my humble opinion, I would try and do what Jayk suggested. That being, "read before bed, draw, go for a walk. Those are the basic for anyone. " I would walk first and then either watch TV or read a book. Making sure the book was NOT about JWs in any way lol. It's been over 30 years since I exited the cult and I STILL do those things. Because I can't stop reading sites that JWs post on denying EVERYTHING that is true about them, to unsuspecting ones. I cannot stand them trying to rake in families and nice people!