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Can Anxiety Make You Scared To Sleep

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What Does Anxiety Feel Like

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The symptoms of anxiety disorders can affect people both emotionally and physically.

People with anxiety may feel extremely nervous and on-edge. This can affect their concentration and mood, leading to irritability and restlessness. Their fear or sense of impending doom can feel overwhelming and out-of-control.

Physically, anxiety disorders can provoke tense muscles, rapid breathing and heartbeat, sweating, trembling, gastrointestinal distress, and fatigue.

Many people with anxiety disorders attempt to avoid situations that could trigger heightened worry however, this does not resolve their underlying fear and can interrupt both professional and personal activities. Over time, a person with anxiety disorder may get used to being worried such that a state of distress or fear seems normal.

Anxiety disorders can occur alongside other mental health problems like depression. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America , nearly 50% of people with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Panic Disorder And Agoraphobia

The essential features of panic disorder are recurrent. attacks of severe anxiety , which are not, restricted to any particular situation or set of circumstances and are therefore unpredictable. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria of panic disorder, unexpected panic attacks have to be followed by at. least 1 month of persistent concern about, having another panic attack. The dominant, symptoms of a panic attack vary from individual to individual. Typically, it includes autonomic symptoms with marked psychic anxiety. The most, prominent autonomic symptoms are palpitations, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest, pain, nausea, and paresthesias. There is almost always a secondary fear of dying, losing control, or going mad. Most individual attacks last only for a. few minutes, but. a. common complication is the development, of anticipator}’ fear of helplessness or loss of control during a panic attack, so that, the individual may progressively develop avoidant, behavior leading to agoraphobia or specific phobias. In this respect, most, if not all, patients with agoraphobia also have a current diagnosis of panic disorder. Accordingly, sleep disturbances of panic disorder and agoraphobia are discussed in the same section.

What Is The Difference Between Somniphobia And Insomnia

The two issues are similar, but not interchangeable. Somniphobia is an anxiety disorder and a sense of fear that keeps people from sleeping even when they are tired. Common fears that fuel this problem are connected to health problems, the idea of dying, worrying about nightmares or nighttime behaviors.

Insomnia, on the other hand, is a chronic sleep disorder that makes it difficult for people to fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomniacs tend to stay awake late, or wake up early, no longer feeling sleepy.

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Sleep Anxiety: How To Manage Your Symptoms At Night

When people experience sleep anxiety – which is also known as somniphobia or sleep phobia – they fear going to sleep at night.

Some believe it to be evolutionary in nature, as before we had the trappings of modern life, we would have been most vulnerable when we were asleep. But nowadays, it is typically an unfounded fear that actually goes on to have a damaging effect on our health and wellbeing.

Within this blog, we will look at the reasons behind sleep anxiety, as well as the strategies that people can use to manage the symptoms that stop them from getting to sleep at night. We will also provide information on the support available for you at Priory Group hospitals and wellbeing centres, where we provide treatment for people with anxiety disorders, phobias and sleep disorders.

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Anxiety comes in lots of forms. It can be a nagging dread about entering a public place, or about joining a group of people. Sometimes the dread is worse than other times.

Sometimes its a sickening feeling that interferes with your good intentions.

Other times its a crippling terror that plants your feet as if theyre concrete bolted to the sidewalk.

Sometimes anxiety turns on faucets of sweat that run down your face and sides while you ride an elevator. Or makes your mind go blank when you stand up to give a presentation youve worked on for weeks.

A date with a someone new can lead to abdominal cramps, headache, and diarrhea.

But anxiety symptoms can get much, much worse. A rapid heartbeat and sweaty hands, face, and torso, along with severe chest pain and shortness of breath can mimic a heart attack. Many people wind up in the emergency room and theyre shocked when theyre told theyre having a panic attack, not a heart attack.

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Take Time For Yourself

While taking time to relax or even meditate does not cure tinnitus, it can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety caused by tinnitus. Relaxation takes different forms for everyone. Some people choose to write down their feelings, others may paint, walk, exercise or read books.

If you meditate to relax, consider playing music or even guided meditation sounds in the background during this activity. This allows you to meditate while also dampening the sound of tinnitus.

Prepare For The Next Day

Getting yourself organised for the following day can help put your mind at ease, Bijlani says.

“Many people struggle to get to sleep because they are anxious about the following day. You can try to reduce this anxiety by making sure that you have everything prepared. For example, you could have a to-do list or even get your clothes ready.”

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What Is The Relationship Between Anxiety And Sleep

Serious sleep disturbances, including insomnia, have long been recognized as a common symptom of anxiety disorders. People who are plagued with worry often ruminate about their concerns in bed, and this anxiety at night can keep them from falling asleep.

In fact, a state of mental hyperarousal, frequently marked by worry, has been identified as a key factor behind insomnia. People with anxiety disorders are inclined to have higher sleep reactivity, which means they are much more likely to have sleeping problems when facing stress.

Sleeping difficulties have been found for people with various types of anxiety including generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, and PTSD. In several studies, over 90% of people with PTSD associated with military combat have reported symptoms of insomnia.

Distress about falling asleep can itself complicate matters, creating a sleep anxiety that reinforces a persons sense of dread and preoccupation. These negative thoughts about going to bed, a type of anticipatory anxiety, can create challenges to healthy sleep schedules and routines.

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At the same time, strong evidence indicates that sleeping problems are not only a symptom of anxiety. Instead, sleep deprivation can instigate or worsen anxiety disorders. Researchers have found that people who are prone to anxiety are especially sensitive to the effects of insufficient sleep, which can provoke symptoms of anxiety.

How To Manage The Stress Of Tinnitus

Sleep, Anxiety, and Insomnia: How to Sleep Better When You’re Anxious

As already mentioned, for some patients, the sound of tinnitus fades easily into the background. To them, tinnitus is a manageable condition, and the sounds they hear are distant and unimportant.

However, for people who experience stress and aggravation due to their condition, tinnitus is a hardship. Learning to manage the stress of tinnitus can make it less of a problem. If you have tinnitus, there are many things you can do to keep your condition under control.

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What Is Sleep Anxiety

Sleep anxiety is fear or worry about going to sleep. You may be apprehensive about not falling asleep or not being able to stay asleep. Some people also have a distinct phobia, or fear, about sleep called somniphobia. They may think something bad will happen to them while they sleep, or that they shouldnt sleep because they need to stay alert and watchful.

Sleep and psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety, often go hand in hand. If you have an anxiety disorder, you may find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. Similarly, if you have a sleep disorder, you might feel anxious or fearful before bed because youre afraid you wont get the rest you need. One condition usually makes the other worse, so it can feel like a never-ending cycle.

How To Stop Feeling Hot

That hot feeling can be very disruptive to your life. Those that experience hot flashes at night often report significant problems sleeping, as their sheets start to feel drenched in sweat and their body feels too warm to get any rest. Those that experience it during the day may find that they are uncomfortable everywhere they go. They may even worry that others are judging them, increasing their anxiety and the length of their hot flash.

Hot flashes are not something that you can stop once they’ve started. They’ll eventually stop on their own when your anxiety trigger goes away. But you can control how much the symptoms affect you by integrating the following:

Once the hot flash begins, waiting until it decreases is really your only option. There are a few ways to cool down, and distracting yourself can be valuable, but a hot flash is a natural body response and one that you can’t turn off. If anxiety is causing your hot flashes, you’ll need to find a way to reduce the anxiety itself.

You have a lot to consider, because while there are many anxiety treatments, they will not work for everyone. Some examples of treatment options include:

Everyone reacts to anxiety treatments differently, because everyone has different anxiety causes, biochemistry, symptoms, and more. So the above list is nowhere near extensive, and there are several very effective anxiety treatments that have been developed for specific symptoms and types of anxiety.

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What Triggers Night Anxiety

Its dark and everything seems tragic when its dark.

Then you worry about not getting enough sleep again and the cycle continues until its 5 AM and youve slept only 2 hours the entire night.

You may also experience hideous dreams that make no sense at all. You wake up feeling awful. You just know that youre going to be a wreck again tomorrow.

A surefire way to ruin your entire day too, right?

Why? What keeps triggering these night anxiety attacks especially when youre in bed at night?

The relative isolation, quiet, and absence of distractions are probably the most important factors here.

During the day, we can use a variety of strategies to modulate these concerns, including taking direct action to address them.

Lying in bed in a dark room, they become overwhelming and inescapable.

How Is It Treated

What Causes Nightmares?

Not all phobias require treatment. In some cases, its fairly easy to avoid the object your fear. But can have serious physical and mental health consequences. Thats why treatment is generally recommended for any condition that keeps you from getting restful sleep.

Treatment may depend on the underlying cause of somniphobia. For example, if you have a sleep disorder, addressing that issue may resolve your somniphobia. But for most cases, exposure therapy is the most effective treatment option.

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See Our Other ‘how To’ Guides

Fear is one of the most powerful emotions. It has a very strong effect on your mind and body.

Fear can create strong signals of response when were in emergencies for instance, if we are caught in a fire or are being attacked.

It can also take effect when youre faced with non-dangerous events, like exams, public speaking, a new job, a date, or even a party. Its a natural response to a threat that can be either perceived or real.

Anxiety is a word we use for some types of fear that are usually to do with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future, rather than right now.

Fear and anxiety can last for a short time and then pass, but they can also last much longer and you can get stuck with them. In some cases they can take over your life, affecting your ability to eat, sleep, concentrate, travel, enjoy life, or even leave the house or go to work or school. This can hold you back from doing things you want or need to do, and it also affects your health.

Some people become overwhelmed by fear and want to avoid situations that might make them frightened or anxious. It can be hard to break this cycle, but there are lots of ways to do it. You can learn to feel less fearful and to cope with fear so that it doesnt stop you from living.

How Can I Stop Sleep Anxiety

Generally, the same tips for improving sleep hygiene also apply to those who have sleep anxiety. These recommendations range from keeping a set bedtime and wakeup time throughout the week to meditation and mindfulness. The expectations and routines that you have surrounding sleep are important because somniphobia is, in part, a psychological issue.

That is why cognitive behavioral therapy is an especially effective treatment for somniphobia.

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Why Wont My Fear Go Away And Leave Me Feeling Normal Again

Fear may be a one-off feeling when you are faced with something unfamiliar.

But it can also be an everyday, long-lasting problem even if you cant put your finger on why. Some people feel a constant sense of anxiety all the time, without any particular trigger.

There are plenty of triggers for fear in everyday life, and you cant always work out exactly why you are frightened or how likely you are to be harmed. Even if you can see how out of proportion a fear is, the emotional part of your brain keeps sending danger signals to your body.

Sometimes you need mental and physical ways of tackling fear.

Why Does It Happen At Night

How do I STOP being afraid to fall asleep?

Anxiety is a normal human emotion characterized by feelings of nervousness and worry. You may find yourself experiencing anxiety during stressful situations, such as a first date or job interview.

Sometimes, though, anxiety may linger around for longer than usual. When this happens, it can interfere with your daily and nightly life.

One of the most common times when people experience anxiety is at night. Many clinical trials have found that sleep deprivation can be a trigger for anxiety. Historically, research also suggests anxiety disorders are associated with reduced sleep quality.

Treating your nighttime anxiety and addressing your sleep issues are important steps in improving your quality of life.

There are manysymptoms of anxiety. Everyone experiences anxiety differently. Symptoms can happen anytime of the day, morning, or night. Common symptoms of anxiety include:

  • feelings of nervousness, restlessness, or worry
  • trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • gastrointestinal problems

Another symptom a person with anxiety may also experience is a panic attack. A panic attack is an episode of extreme and intense fear, often accompanied by physical manifestations. The common symptoms of a panic attack include:

  • a sense of impending doom
  • increased heart rate and chest pains
  • shortness of breath and throat tightness
  • sweating, chills, and hot flashes
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • a feeling of detachment, or like nothing is real

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When Should I Ask For More Help

If you’re struggling with anxiety issues, don’t suffer in silence talk to someone you trust about it.

You should ask for more help if:

  • you’ve tried some of these suggestions and still feel anxious or fearful
  • your anxiety has been going on for some time and not getting any better
  • it’s stopping you from doing things you usually do, or want to do
  • it’s strong and unpleasant. If you experience intense anxiety or panicky feelings frequently, this can be seriously distressing and disabling
  • it’s causing you emotional distress and making you feel fed up depression and anxiety often go hand in hand, if you have lost interest in things you once enjoyed or feel low all the time it could be a sign of depression

There are services available that can help you overcome these difficulties. Find out where to get support

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

The basics:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
  • Donât eat or drink any caffeine in the four to five hours before bed.
  • Resist the urge to nap.
  • Avoid exercise two hours before bed.
  • Keep your bedroom cool and dark.
  • Limit your bedroom activities to sleep and sex.

If you canât sleep, get up and do something boring. âKeep a boring book on your bed table,â Obolsky says.

Also, create a restful routine. Prime your body for bed by doing the doing the same things every night. A restful routine that involves a warm bath, listening to music, or deep breathing can be especially helpful if you have insomnia, Edlund says.

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How Can I Make Living With Sleep Anxiety Easier

Anxiety or sleep problems can affect every aspect of your life, from your performance at work to your interactions with others. It may help to talk about your sleep anxiety with a therapist, co-workers, friends or loved ones. Support groups can also connect you to a community of people dealing with similar experiences.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Sleep anxiety is a feeling of fear or stress about falling asleep or staying asleep. Sleep problems and mental health disorders such as anxiety are closely intertwined. One can often make the other worse, so it can feel like a never-ending cycle. But anxiety and sleep problems are both treatable. Talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms and work together to build the right treatment plan. Common treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy , good sleep hygiene and medication.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/13/2021.

References

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