How Common Are Anxiety Disorders
|Adults Affected in U.S.||Percentage of U.S. Adult Population|
|Generalized Anxiety Disorder|
Not all people with anxiety disorders have the same degree of symptoms or impact from anxiety on their everyday life. In one large survey, around 43% of adults described having mild impairment of their life from anxiety. Around 33% said it was moderate, and nearly 23% said it was severe.
How Sleep Affects Mental Health
Sleep and mental health go together. Sleep deprivation messes with your physical and mental health, but researchers are still figuring out exactly whats going on in your brain.
A research review showed that a good nights sleep helps your mental and emotional strength, while chronic sleep deprivation can cause negative thinking and emotional vulnerability.
While scientists dont know all the ins and outs, they have discovered that sleep disruption really messes with your brain by affecting neurotransmitters and stress hormones.
This effect can impair your thinking and how you regulate your emotions. It also explains why insomnia can amplify psychiatric disorders and vice versa.
How Depression And Anxiety Cause Insomnia
Statement of the Problem
For the longest time, practicing psychologists and other practitioners have treated anxiety, depression, and insomnia as different clinical conditions. However, recent observations demonstrate that the coincidence with which these three conditions occur is too high. This started raising questions among all the affiliates of the American Psychological Association.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to demystify the relationship between anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
- What linkages exist between anxiety, depression, and insomnia?
- Can anxiety, depression, or insomnia exist exclusively in a patient?
- Should different professionals treat the three conditions separately, or should one specialist be involved?
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Suggestions For Improving Sleep
There are several strategies for helping you avoid behaviors that get in the way of good sleep. You can develop good sleep habits by practicing some of the below:
- Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce anxiety at bedtime. Other relaxation techniques include taking a warm bath or meditating prior to going to bed.
- Controlling stimuli such as using the bedroom for sleep only and not allowing other stimuli such as electronics in. This will help you dissociate your bed as a place of busy activity.
- Setting a consistent bedtime and wake-up time can help you train yourself for consistent sleep.
- Avoiding naps and similar sleep restrictions can make you feel more tired at bedtime which can help improve insomnia for some people.
- Avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime can help you be physically ready for sleep. Your doctor might also recommend avoiding alcohol close to bedtime.
Your doctor may suggest other strategies tailored to your sleep environment and lifestyle that will help you learn and develop habits that will promote healthy sleep.
Anxiety And Insomnia: Whats The Link
Anxiety and insomnia seem to go together, especially when stress is involved.
Anxiety is a natural response your body has to stress or fear, which can already wreak havoc on your sleep.
The American Psychological Association notes that 43 percent of Americanadults report that stress has caused them to lie awake at night in the past month. And, poor sleep habits have been linked to illnesses like depressionand anxiety.
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Antidepressants That Help With Sleep Anxiety
Your doctor may prescribe various medications for your anxiety, and you will need to find the one that best suits you. If your anxiety is present long-term, you may be prescribed antidepressants.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends the addition of a low-dose, sedating antidepressant for severe insomnia, including:
Why Panic Disorder And Anxiety Cause Sleep Issues
People with panic disorder, panic attacks, and other anxiety disorders are often susceptible to sleep issues. These can include insomnia , panic attacks, or other sleep problems. Since lack of sleep may exacerbate symptoms of anxiety, it is important to try to treat these sleep problems.
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What Does Insomnia Treatment Look Like
Treatment for insomnia typically includes addressing the underlying cause, making lifestyle changes to improve sleep hygiene, going to therapy, and/or taking medication.
If you have disturbed sleep, step one is to improve your sleep habits. A few quick tips:
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Exercise more during the day, ideally outside if you can.
- Avoid large meals, too many fluids, and stressful discussions before bed.
- Limit naps and dont snooze in the late afternoon.
- Cut down on alcohol and nicotine intake, and avoid nightcaps.
- Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and coolideally between 60°F to 67°F for a peaceful snooze.
- Create a wind-down routine before bed with relaxing self-care activities like a long bath or meditation.
- Schedule a digital curfew at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- If you cant stop intrusive thoughts, try writing out your worries.
- If its been about 20 to 40 minutes and you cant fall asleep, get out of bed and go do something relaxinglike reading a bookuntil youre sleepy.
If CBT-I is unavailable to you or simply not working fast enough, you can also try sleep medications like zolpidem or eszopiclone , provided that your doctor recommends them for your situation, says Dr. Ong. Keep in mind its important to take these under close medical supervision, as they do come with risks such as dizziness, brain fog, and possible dependence.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders
The exact cause of anxiety is unknown. In fact, researchers believe that there is not one single cause but rather an interplay of factors that include a persons genetics, family history, and exposure to negative life events. Some health problems and drugs can also contribute to symptoms of anxiety.
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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.
How Can Anxiety Cause Insomnia
If you go to bed feeling anxious, whether youre worried about work, or something in your personal life, lying in bed without any distractions gives your mind the time to go over and over your worries.
This can lead to your anxiety building, and your bodys fight or flight response being activated. This is our bodys way of protecting us in threatening situations and causes physical changes, including an increase in heart rate and the release of adrenaline, which are designed to help us be stronger or run faster . If your anxiety triggers your fight or flight response while youre in bed, these changes can over-stimulate your body, so that you can find it impossible to drop off to sleep.
Unfortunately, the link between anxiety and insomnia can act like a vicious circle. If you cant sleep because youre feeling anxious, this lack of sleep can make you tired, irritable and even more anxious the next day. You may struggle to get to sleep again the following evening, resulting in the cycle starting all over again.
If youve reached the stage where your anxiety is leading to insomnia and your insomnia then leads to more anxiety, its time to take steps to stop the cycle and achieve positive mental wellbeing again.
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When To See A Doctor
A person should see a doctor if they find their anxiety is affecting their happiness and interfering with daily life.
If a person is experiencing intense, vivid dreams or lack of sleep that significantly affects their ability to function in their daily life, they should see a doctor as soon as possible.
In addition to prescribing medications and discussing lifestyle changes, a doctor may also recommend therapy.
CBT can help a person identify thoughts that may affect their ability to sleep at night.
Anxiety and poor sleep are closely connected. Both are treatable with interventions to promote better sleep and help a person adapt their way of thinking about sleep.
Through lifestyle changes, CBT, and medications, a person can start to live a healthier, more well-rested life.
Why Am I Afraid Of Sleeping
There are many reasons that can cause you to be anxious at night.
You may find it hard to stop your mind racing about problems in your life or you keep thinking about scenarios which make you anxious. You may be focussed on your daily worries and stressing about what you need to get done the following day.
Alternatively, you may also experience sleep anxiety from a fear of recurring nightmares or the fear of sleep apnea .
Sleep anxiety can sometimes be a type of performance anxiety.
You may stress about not getting enough sleep to function the next day, but this stress is precisely what can cause you to be awake for hours.
If you are worried or anxious about not being able to fall asleep when you go to bed because of your experience of previous bad nights, this is called anticipatory anxiety and can itself lead to sleep disturbance and insomnia. Such an unfortunate self-perpetuating feedback loop can worsen both your anxiety and sleep.
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How Is It Diagnosed
There are 9 types of anxiety!
To diagnose you, a doctor will perform a physical exam to rule out any health issues that could be the cause of your anxiety. If everything comes back normal then the next step is a psychological evaluation.
is the fear of harm to, loss of or separation from certain people or figures in your life.
Selective Mutism is the consistent failure to speak in social situations where you are expected to speak. If you have watched Big Bang Theory this is what Raj is afflicted with and why he cannot talk to girls!
Specific Phobia is specific objects or situations that cause you to feel intense fear.
Social Anxiety disorder is an intense fear of social situations where you could be embarrassed. This one relates to being embarrassed, rejected, humiliated or offending others.
Panic Disorder relates to individuals that experience recurrent, unexpected panic attacks. This is a vicious cycle as worrying about when or if you have another panic attack can trigger panic attacks!
Agoraphobia is when people are fearful about being in public or enclosed spaces as they are worried about help not being available if they have panic symptoms, embarrassment or that escape may be difficult.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is excessive worrying about various things in your life such as work or school.
Substance/Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder occurs when you continually use a certain substance or from the withdrawal of certain medical treatments.
Impact On Bipolar Disorder
If you have bipolar disorder, you may enter a depressive phase in autumn and winter. You may have episodes of euphoria or mania . This is due to fewer daylight hours. You will need more help to manage your condition.
You may also suffer from sleep problems and feel worse at a particular time of day. Sometimes using a bright light can help these symptoms.
What Are The Causes Of Insomnia During Pregnancy
Multiple factors can cause insomnia during pregnancy:
- Discomfort: Increased weight and changed body composition can affect positioning and comfort in bed.
- Disrupted Breathing: Growth of the uterus places pressure on the lungs, creating potential for breathing problems during sleep. Hormonal changes can increase snoring and the risk of central sleep apnea, which involves brief lapses in breath.
- Reflux: Slower digestion can prompt disruptive gastroesophageal reflux in the evening.
- Nocturia: Greater urinary frequency can create the need to get out of bed to go to the bathroom.
- Restless Leg Syndrome: The exact cause is unknown, but pregnant women have a greater risk of RLS even if they have never had symptoms before becoming pregnant.
Studies have found that more than half of pregnant women report sleeping problems consistent with insomnia. In the first trimester, pregnant women frequently sleep more total hours, but the quality of their sleep decreases. After the first trimester, total sleep time decreases, with the most significant sleeping problems occurring during the third trimester.
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How Can You Treat Insomnia
There are both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatments for insomnia that you can discuss with your doctor. You may need to try some different treatments before finding the most effective one for you.
The American College of Physicians recommends cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia as the first route to treat chronic insomnia.
This process helps you recognize your emotions and attitudes that affect your sleep. You can then learn how to change them to get back some Zzzs.
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How A Pharmacist Can Help With Insomnia
You can buy tablets or liquids from a pharmacy that may help you sleep better.
Some contain natural ingredients while others, like Nytol, are an antihistamine.
They cannot cure insomnia but may help you sleep better for 1 to 2 weeks. They should not be taken for any longer.
Some of these products can have side effects, for instance, they may make you drowsy. This could make it difficult for you to do certain things like drive.
Check with your doctor before taking anything for your sleep problems.
Characteristics Of Groups Defined By History Of Dims
Age, gender, education level, anxiety disorders and depression grouped by the variable History of DIMS are given in . Significant gradients were evident with respect to both symptom burden and prevalence of disorder (HADS defined depression: Somers’ d = 0.159, t = 15.4, P < 0.001
HADS defined anxiety disorders: Somers’ d = 0.214, t = 21.6, P < 0.001).
Sleep disturbances the year prior to the HUNT-2 survey showed gradients related to History of DIMS. Significant gradients were observed for frequency of sleeplessness as well as for impaired work performance .
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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.
Is All Insomnia The Same
Not all insomnia is the same people can experience the condition in distinct ways. Short-term insomnia happens only over a brief period while chronic insomnia lasts for three months or more. For some people, the primary problem is falling asleep while others struggle with staying asleep .
How a person is affected by insomnia can vary significantly based on its cause, severity, and how it is influenced by underlying health conditions.
How Does Insomnia Cause Anxiety
Here comes the big question, does insomnia cause anxiety. In a short answer YES, but also NO. Let me explain.
They both contribute to each other. If you have anxiety, you likely have sleeping problems. On the other hand, insomnia can cause anxiety especially around sleeping and everyday life. It often depends on which one happens first!
In fact, for certain anxiety disorders such as generalised anxiety disorder, part of the definition includes sleep disturbances such as nightmares and insomnia. Furthermore, the prevalence of insomnia for individuals with panic disorder can be as high as 67%!
On the other hand, insomnia can contribute to anxiety symptoms, increase the risk for the development of anxiety and can make anxiety disorders worse!
For individuals suffering from insomnia, going to bed can be a major source of stress. This stress combined with poor sleep quality can contribute to the development of anxiety.