Why Does It Happen At Night
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
Where Can I Get Help For My Anxiety And Insomnia
You can see your medical provider or a mental health professional. If you are already seeing someone for your anxiety who is aware of your history with the disorder, you may want to continue seeing them for insomnia.
You might believe anxiety is behind your poor sleep, but just in case, your provider will rule out other possible causes first. These can include:
- Medications. Certain medications, including popular ones for ADHD, asthma, and pain can cause insomnia. Even antidepressants you may have been prescribed for anxiety can have this side effect.
- Physical illnesses. Symptoms of health conditions related to the heart, blood vessels, lungs, thyroid, stomach, and brain can keep you awake at night.;
- Habit-forming substances. Alcohol and other drugs with a risk for dependency and addiction, as well as caffeine and nicotine can make it hard to get a good nights rest.
They may also ask about your daily habits and see if anything about them is making it challenging for you to sleep. For example, traveling frequently for work or working overnights can offset your circadian rhythm , and eating late in the evenings can lead to acid reflux or discomfort when lying down. Watching TV or being on your computer or phone before you go to bed can also make it hard to fall asleep.
If you have any of these conditions, treating them may help your insomnia.
Anxiety And Sleep Apnea: The Sleep/health Connection
Anxiety and sleep apnea are like fish and water: Find one, and youll usually find the other, too.
This connection is supported by more and more studies as the years pass. For example, in December 2012, a major European;medical journal published a study1;finding that more than half of patients diagnosed with sleep disorders had some degrees of depression and anxiety.
The study noted that sleep apnea was not associated with the severity of anxiety, only the presence of it. But other sources have made the connection between sleep apnea and anxiety at its most severe levels namely, post-traumatic stress disorder . According to;The New York Times Health Guide, sleep apnea may intensify symptoms of PTSD, including sleeplessness and nightmares. The guide notes that sleep apnea is also sometimes associated with a risk for panic disorder. 2
A 2005;study by the journal;SLEEP3;helps clarify the anxiety and sleep apnea connection. Compared with patients not yet diagnosed with sleep apnea, those who were diagnosed experienced a significantly greater prevalence for mood disorders, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, psychosis, and dementia in patients with sleep apnea, the study found.
This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and potential treatments. It is not medical advice.;If you have any medical questions, please consult your doctor.
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What Is Anxiety What Are Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a feeling of worry and unease. Its normal to experience anxiety occasionally in response to fearful or stressful situations.
In anxiety disorders, this distress becomes excessive. Fears are not proportional to the situation, and worrying interferes with everyday life. These feelings become persistent, occurring most days for a period of six months or more.
Anxiety And Sleep Problems
When you sleep your mind and body relax, so the next day you’re sharper and able to withstand some of life’s daily stresses. For those with anxiety however, sleep is not always easy to come by.
Sleep problems are extremely common in those with persistent stress, and in many cases it can actually cause a cycle that makes it harder to overcome anxiety in the future.
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Set Aside Time For Winding Down
If youve been struggling with sleep anxiety, Dr. Fran Walfish, family and relationship psychotherapist, suggests creating a routine that winds you down and gets you in the mood for sleep. This can include things like dimming the lights, listening to calming music, or taking a warm bath.
Walfish also suggests opting for activities like light reading in place of a TV or computer, as using a screen can tend to rev up anxiety and excitatory thresholds versus relax and calm you down.
The best nighttime routine allows your mind and body time to slow down before you turn off the lights. Allot at least 30 minutes to take a bath, read a book, listen to a podcast, or play quiet music. These transition rituals can condition your brain to associate certain actions with preparing for sleep.;
Do You Immediately Try To Stop Trembling
Most people will not allow themselves to shake when anxious.
When their whole body starts to shake violently, they freak out and quickly try to suppress all shaking.
when you do not release the energy of an aroused nervous system it gets stored in your muscles as tension
This tension can result in:
More frightful thoughts and unusual bodily sensations, such as:
This, in turn, makes you even more anxious a;vicious cycle.
Anxiety trembling is a discharge of nervous arousal and a fast clearing of stress hormones from your body.
Isnt mother nature clever?
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How To Prevent Your Next Anxiety Attack
Now that you know how to manage feeling anxious and shaking from anxiety, how about preventing your next anxiety attack altogether?
Anxiety is not something you have to learn to live with.
You can use simple CBT techniques at home whenever you need them until your life-destroying anxiety symptoms go away for good.
I know, because I was there too.
How do you feel when you start shaking from anxiety? how do you deal with it?
To your health and happiness,
Heres how toget rid of anxiety chest pain in less than a minute!
Force Yourself To Get Out Of Bed
Many sleep experts will tell you to get up when you can’t sleep, and I think there’s some truth to this.In my experience, lying awake at night for a long time causes my brain to associate my bed with not sleeping, creating even more anxiety. When I can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes of lying in bed, I get up, walk around the house, and do an activity that doesn’t require much brain power. My go-to: coloring in adult coloring books with gel pens. It’s soothing, mindless, and better than lying awake feeling anxious and frustrated.
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Try To Go To Bed Around The Same Time Every Night Even On Weekends
Each of us are equipped with a 24-hour internal body clock known as our circadian rhythm that tells our mind when to rest and when to be alert, but it craves consistency, says Bill Fish, a sleep science coach and general manager at The Sleep Foundation.
If you made a concerted effort to go to bed within a 20-minute window each night, get your 8 hours of sleep, and wake within the same 20-minute window each morning, you will gradually train your body, and will make it much easier to get to sleep each night, especially when dealing with anxiety, Fish says.
Its important to wake up at the same time every day too, even if you have a bad nights sleep.
We often think we should catch up on sleep over the weekend or if we have a bad night of sleep, says Annie Miller, a licensed social worker and behavioral sleep medicine provider based in Washington, D.C. But in fact, that can make insomnia worse by creating whats called social jetlag.
It is important to keep your wake time consistent and understand that you may be tired in the short term, but this will build up sleep drive and eventually allow you to fall asleep faster, she explains.
Set Aside Time To Worry But Do It Early In The Day
Anxiety triggers our flight or fight system, which involves body responses such as adrenaline and cortisol release, Scheutzow explains. The body uses these to prepare us for a threat and thus makes us more alert, stopping us from being able to fall asleep. When it works as intended, this system can help us find solutions to threats, but in many cases, it may keep us stuck going around and around in circles.
To ensure better sleep, it may be helpful to schedule in worry time, which could be 15 minutes two times per day, preferably well before bedtime, advises Scheutzow. During this time you can worry about anything. Its best to write down your worries and do one of three things: do something about them, delay them, or delete them.;
Some worries are important, can be solved and are urgent, so schedule time to solve them. Some worries are important but dont need to be solved right away, so you can delay them. Some are not important, so you can delete them.
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Free Yourself Of The Things You Can’t Control
What about the worries in your delete column? Some worries are unsolvable or outside of your control, says Scheutzow, in which case you can reflect on the fact that you simply cannot do anything about them, so why should you spend time worrying about them?;
If any of these types of worries crop up at bedtime, reflect on the fact that you have decided to delete them. This may not solve all your worries but, with practice, it may help you to not feel overwhelmed by them.;
On a piece of paper, make three columns, one titled Solve, one titled Delay, and one titled Delete. Write your worries into each of those columns so that you can see at a glance what is solvable, so you can make a plan to tackle them and therefore ease the worry, and which ones you can put away for now.
If you need help sorting your worries into these three groups, work with a trusted friend or family member, or speak with a mental health professional.
How Is Sleep Anxiety Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider performs a physical exam, reviews your medical history and evaluates your symptoms. They may ask you questions like:
- Do you eat or drink anything before bed?
- Does your anxiety always occur before bed?
- How long does it take you to fall asleep?
- How often do you wake up during the night?
- What activities do you do before bed?
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How Can Healthier Sleep Habits Treat Sleep Anxiety
Sleep habits, or sleep hygiene, are your routines around bedtime that can affect your sleep. Your healthcare provider may ask you to keep a sleep diary for several weeks. This is a daily log of your sleep habits. It can help identify things that might make it harder for you to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Some common ways to improve your sleep hygiene include:
- Avoid drinking lots of fluids before bed, especially alcohol.
- Do relaxing activities before bed, such as meditation or listening to soft, peaceful music.
- Dont consume caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
- Dont go to bed unless you feel sleepy.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- If you dont fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed.
- Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, quiet and softly lit.
- Only use your bed for sleep and sex. For example, avoid watching television or doing work in bed.
- Set a goal of getting at least seven hours of sleep every night.
- Stop using electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Try not to eat right before bedtime. If youre hungry, have a light snack and not a big meal.
How To Stop Anxiety Ruining Your Sleep According To A Psychologist
ByClaire Davies16 March 2021
Anxious thoughts keeping you awake? This Sleep Awareness Week, a psychologist helps you learn how to curb them.
At times life can be fun, brilliant and filled with joy, but other times it can be sad, challenging, or just plain disappointing. Thats life, right? But for those of us with anxiety, every day is worrisome. And anxiety cares little for our sleep too even though we know why sleep is important for our physical and mental wellbeing. So if this rings true with you and youve been wondering how to stop anxiety ruining your sleep, you are in the right place for answers.
Even before the pandemic, many of us were dealing with anxiety at night. Its a desperate thing to experience, but there are ways to stop anxious thoughts from ruining your sleep and hijacking your brain. You could listen to soothing sounds on a meditation app or practice some in-bed breathing exercises, sure, but there are other steps you can take outside of the bedroom.
Johanna Scheutzow, MSc in Organizational Psychiatry and Psychology, King’s College London, and a psychologist for mental health app Thrive, has some effective techniques for how to stop anxiety ruining your sleep. In short, how to curb those anxious thoughts when youre lying awake in the dark. Some of these techniques take place in the day and in other parts of your home or garden. Why? So that they dont enter the bedroom with you when its time to snooze.
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Treatment For Sleep Issues
Sleep disturbances and anxiety can form a vicious cycle. People with panic disorder and those who experience anxiety often have trouble sleeping and the resulting sleep deprivation can result in more anxiety and exacerbated symptoms.
If you believe you have developed a sleep disturbance and/or are experiencing the symptoms of panic disorder, anxiety, and panic attacks, consult with a mental health professional. Medications for panic disorder, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, may help ease the severity of your nocturnal and daytime panic attacks.
If you think you might be experiencing sleep apnea or sleep paralysis, you should talk to your doctor about having a sleep study or multiple sleep latency tests to rule out those conditions.
If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety or panic disorder, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.;
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Attending in-person and online anxiety support groups and psychotherapy can also help you learn ways to stop worrying, acquire good sleep hygiene, and learn effective strategies for getting through panic attacks.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Anxiety
When you cant sleep due to anxiety, you may experience behavioral changes, including:
- Feelings of being overwhelmed.
- Tense muscles.
Some people also have nocturnal panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden, intense burst of extreme fear. Nocturnal panic attacks only happen at night, and often wake you from sleep.
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Get Up At The Same Time Daily
Creating a routine can be an effective way to combat sleep anxiety and insomnia. By getting up at the same time every day, your body will naturally start to adjust your internal clock or circadian rhythm.
One sleep study, highlighted in the Guardian as;A Cure for Insomnia, found that getting up at the same time every day helped the participants body feel sleepy around the same time every night. Over time, this helped the participants bedtimes become consistent.
However, creating a nighttime routine can also have similar effects. Winnie Yu for WebMD suggests creating a nightly routine can help relax your body as it starts to anticipate and expect sleep as you follow through each step. It can also help relieve anxiety, as you know what to expect each night and each morning.
Stalked By Chronic Nightmares
Chronic nightmares are another troublesome sleep disorder that can cause fear, says Shelby Harris, PsyD, CBSM, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Montefiore Medical Centerâs Sleep-Wake Disorders Center in New York City. Children are especially vulnerable, but adults – especially those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder — experience nightmares, too.
Joni Aldrich, 57, of Winston-Salem, N.C., began to dread sleep after she lost her husband to brain cancer four years ago. After he had a seizure, she had to make the difficult decision to suspend treatment, an experience that traumatized her.
Every night, she had nightmares of him begging her to help him, but she couldnât. She would awaken shaking. Aldrich finally got help from a counselor and began taking an anti-anxiety medication to help her sleep. âI still take the anti-anxiety medication in a very low dose, because I fear the results otherwise,â says Aldrich, CEO of Cancer Lifeline Publications. âEven one of those nightmares wouldn’t be worth it. And, I still go to bed later than I should just to make sure that I’m really tired.â
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