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Jennifer Aniston – who is best known for her role as Rachel Green on Friends – has opened up about her decades-long battle with sleepwalking and insomnia, branding heading off to bed as "walking the plank".
Speaking to People, the 53-year-old actor took a deep-dive into the sleep struggles that she's been dealing with for over 20 years. "I think it started somewhere in my 30s or even earlier, but you just don't start to notice the effects of a lack of sleep when we're younger because we're so invincible," Aniston said. "It began as something that I would just accept and then all of a sudden you realise the effects of your lack of sleep and how it affects your day and your work and your mind function and your physique."
For the Friends star, her issues with sleep started with the inability to drift off, leaving her "counting cracks in the walls" for hours on end. Eventually, Aniston's struggle to fall asleep impacted her mental health, triggering anxiety and creating a catch-22 situation. "The more I worry about it, the harder it is to fall asleep," she explained.
As well as insomnia, the actor also developed a habit of sleepwalking – although she's since been able to stop. "I have been known to [sleepwalk]," Aniston recalled, "I've been woken up by house alarms going off that I've set off." She went on, "I don't think I do that anymore — that was when I was super sleep deprived."
After avoiding seeking medical advice for her sleep struggles – believing that she could just get by without – the actor says she's focussed on healing this aspect of herself in recent years. "It became something that I really was struggling with," she admitted. "It used to be the last thing on the list, but you can't really abide by the three pillars of health — which are diet, exercise and sleep — if you can't really exercise and you can't really eat right if you haven't slept well because your body clock is so completely thrown off."
Since getting professional help – which she "absolutely recommends people do" – Aniston has implemented a number of tactics to help improve her sleeping pattern, with sticking to a nightly routine being the most important. As for what that routine entails, The Morning Show star says she gives herself time to wind down each night, enjoys a yoga session and keeps her phone out of sight.
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