Tips And Tricks For Anxious Sleepers
Youve heard it before. It is the go-to phrase that health and wellness writers use time and time again, but it is also our best piece of advice. We dont claim to have all the answers, and were not in a position to know your body like you or your doctor does.
The bedroom should be a place conducive to rest. Nick Littlehales, a professional sleep coach and author of the book Sleep, indicates the only purpose of a bedroom should be for sleeping. He recommends sleepers have a dark and cool environment.
This can be achieved by using blackout curtains and keeping the air conditioner around 66 degrees at night. Littlehales strongly suggest removing a TV or computer from the bedroom as well as keeping your phone in another room and limiting the use of any blue light emitting devices to one hour before sleep.
Sleepers should also establish a routine that prepares them for sleep. Taking a bath or shower before bed can help the body relax and give you some time to yourself. Likewise, reading a book can help distract you from lifes worries.
Anxious types often have their minds racing before they sleep. A recent study shows that journaling can be a resourceful way of getting all your thoughts out and planning for the next day before your head hits the pillow.
;It is best not to do anything that involves blue lights or is overly engaging. Just be sure not to relax too much while sitting on the sofa, its best if you still get to sleep in your bed.
Tips For Managing Anxiety Before Bed
There are many ways that people can alleviate some of their struggles with sleep that do not require medication or a specialist.
If youre experiencing anxiety before bed, we recommend intentionally reminding yourself about what youre experiencing. Anxiety is an increase of the hormone adrenaline in the bloodstream because the body or mind perceives danger, says family therapist Jodi Aman. If you were actually in danger, your body would not want to be asleep, so this adrenaline keeps you awake. Thus, anxiety at bedtime is a recipe for trouble.
She recommends various strategies for a clear mind at night, like creating a calming nighttime ritual that includes self-massage, a warm bath, or listening to meditative music. Weve included additional stress-relieving tips below.
While all these tips may not be effective for more severe types of anxiety and insomnia, they certainly do not hurt to try.
Tips For Improving Sleep And Managing Anxiety
Move your body Exercise has been found to both lower anxiety and improve sleep. But try not to exercise right before sleep, as it can keep you awake. Moving your body in the morning or afternoon can help you get your sleeping and waking cycle back on track and also treat insomnia or sleep apnea.3
Tailor your environment Controlling light, sound, and temperature can help you get a good nights rest. The darker, quieter, and cooler you can keep your bedroom, the greater chance you have of calming your mind and falling asleep. Taking a shower or bath shortly before bed can also help lower your body temperature and help you fall asleep more quickly.
Limit caffeine and alcohol Drinking too much caffeine or consuming it too late in the day can increase anxiety and inhibit sleep. Consuming alcohol close to bedtime can also increase your heart rate and keep you up.4 Drink plenty of water throughout the day, but dont drink too much before bedtime, as trips to the bathroom can keep you anxious and alert.
Calm your mind There are many relaxation techniques that can help you calm your mind throughout the day and improve sleep. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, and breathing exercise can help you achieve calm, but it can also be as simple as taking a walk when you have a short break at work. If you practice techniques for calming your mind during the day, then it will be easier to trigger your relaxation response at night.
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Remember The Basics Good Sleep Hygiene
If you are struggling to get to sleep at night, think about whether or not you are doing the following:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every night, even at weekends. Our body likes working to a rhythm, but listen to your body too. Lying in bed when youre not sleepy wont help your anxiety
- Dont consume caffeine for at least six hours before you to go to bed
- Resist napping during the daytime, but if you have to, sleep for no longer than 20 or 30 minutes
- Get some exercise outdoors, but avoid exercising in the 2 hours before bed
- Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, cool and dark, and avoid spending time in your bedroom during the evening and daytime
- Get into a routine where you do similar relaxing activities before bed
How Can I Overcome Anxiety At Bedtime
If anxiety or disrupted sleep occurs often in your day-to-day life, these simple strategies can help you relax your body and mind and ease yourself into sleep. Changing your pre-sleep habits takes time and patience, but adapting to these changes may help you fall asleep with less sleep anxiety over time.;
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How To Sleep When Stressed
Stress management is key to a good nights sleep, and how well you manage stress can depend on your day-to-day lifestyle. In addition to following a balanced diet and exercising throughout the week, you can alleviate stress through controlled breathing and other relaxation techniques. A healthy work-life balance is also important, as is your ability to productively release stress during situations that cause stress, and not at other moments.
Laying in bed when you are too stressed to sleep can be counterproductive. If you havent gone to sleep within 15 minutes of going to bed, try getting up and relocating to another area of your residence for a relaxing activity such as reading, meditating, or listening to calming music; avoid watching TV or other activities that involve blue light devices.
Some people also experience anxiety when they wake up in the middle of the night and see the time on their bedside clock. Avoid looking at your clock if you wake up cover the display if necessary.
So What Does Sleep Or The Lack Of It Have To Do With It
Just like many of the reasons listed above, losing sleep or having a sleep disorder can either cause or make the condition worse. In fact, nearly all psychiatric disorders are linked to some sort of sleep issue.
The Harvard Health Newsletter points out that sleep disorders were traditionally considered symptoms of a condition.; However, recent studies have concluded that these sleep issues may raise the risk for, and even directly contribute to, the development of some psychiatric disorders. This is evident across both sleep health and mental health studies.
Sleep disturbances-(particularly insomnia are highly prevalent in anxiety disorders and complaints such as insomnia or nightmares have even been incorporated in some anxiety disorder definitions, such as generalized anxiety disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder, Staner said.
Harvard Health agrees with this describes but they go further by describing the neurological connection between the two:;
Sleep disruption which affects levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones, among other things wreaks havoc in the brain, impairing thinking and emotional regulation. In this way, insomnia may amplify the effects of psychiatric disorders and vice versa.
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Common Sleep Disorders Related To Gad
A nightmare is a disturbing dream associated with negative feelings, such as anxiety or fear that awakens you. Nightmares are common in children but can happen at any age, and occasional nightmares usually are nothing to worry about. Mayo Clinic
While the fear of nightmares can cause anxiety and nightmares can be a dreamlike reflection of anxiety, these conditions do not always correlate. One study demonstrates that they are often actually quite independent of each other.
Population surveys indicate that the prevalence of anxiety disorder is about 24% to 36% in subjects with insomnia complaints and about 27% to 42% for those with hypersomnia. Luc Staner, M.D.
Insomnia and GAD quite often coexist in patients. Either condition can be a symptom or cause of the other and it is often quite difficult to know which came first.
Nocturnal panic, waking from sleep in a state of panic, is a common occurrence among patients with panic disorder, with 44-71% reporting at least one such attack. Nocturnal panic is a non-REM event that is distinct from sleep terrors, sleep apnea, nightmares or dream-induced arousals.; Department of Psychology, University of California
This condition is shown to be most severe among patients who experience both daytime and nocturnal panic attacks and may share a similar pathophysiology as adult night terrors.
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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How To Sleep With Anxiety
Sleep problems are extremely common for those struggling with anxiety. Ideally, you’ll need to focus on reducing your anxiety and stress in general so that you’re less consumed by the negative thoughts and experiences, and can drift off to sleep more easily.
There are tips and strategies you can use to get more rest with anxiety. Consider the following:
Mental distractions can also be beneficial, especially for heavy sleepers. Some people find that turning on radios, podcasts, or television sets, and putting the volume as low as possible so that you can barely make out the words can be helpful. Your mind tries to listen to the distraction, causing it to stop focusing on the stressful thoughts, and ultimately you’re able to fall asleep.
This solution does not work for everyone, however.
Another important thing that you can do is to create a bedtime routine. It can be difficult to go through your daily activities and then get into bed and just turn everything off. By giving yourself an hour before you want to fall asleep to go through the same motions every night you train your brain and your body to prepare for sleep. This in turn can make it easier to both fall, and stay asleep.
Unfortunately, these tips are likely not enough. You still need to stop experiencing anxiety so that sleep comes much more naturally.
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How Is Anxiety And Insomnia Treated
If your insomnia is directly related to your anxiety, your provider will likely recommend psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. Your exact treatment will depend on your individual circumstances and how severe your symptoms are. Your provider may decide to treat your anxiety or insomnia separately, or both at the same time.
Medications that are used to treat insomnia include the following. Benzodiazepines and antidepressants can also be used to treat anxiety. The type of medication your provider recommends will be based on your age, your health, what kind of insomnia symptoms youre having, the side effects, the cost of the medication, and other factors.
Your provider may also recommend therapy to help you manage your anxiety and insomnia. The most popular therapy used for these 2 conditions is cognitive behavioral therapy .
Therapy for anxiety often takes on 2 different forms:
Theres also CBT for insomnia , which focuses on identifying and correcting thoughts and behaviors that can fuel insomnia, as well as helping you develop healthier sleep habits.;
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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.
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 A Bed That Fits You
When you sleep on an uncomfortable mattress, pressure points build up on your body, causing you to toss and turn. A supportive mattress and pillow provide support to the contours of your body and neck, and keep you cool and comfortable for sleep.
For drool-worthy sleep at a price point that wont break the bank, you may want to check out the Casper Original Mattress. Engineered for cool, comfortable sleep, the Casper Original provides targeted layers of support and unique cooling perforations so you can spend less time counting sheep and more time catching Zs.
If youre looking for that sleeping-on-a-cloud experience, the Casper Nova Hybrid may be the right option for you. As our most plush mattress yet, the Casper Nova provides sturdy support with a luxuriously soft top layer so you can sleep worry-free.
What To Do When You Cant Sleep: 9 Tips
Prioritizing a good nights sleep isnt just important for your general health, it can also help with feelings of anxiety, as your body is less likely to feel overwhelmed or on edge when youve slept well.
However, falling asleep can be difficult, so its important to;build a strategy for a better nights sleep. Below are some tips to try in order to improve your chances of falling asleep naturally.
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So What Can You Do To Calm Down So You Can Actually Sleep
Well, first off, theres no substitute for seeking help from a mental health professional.
An anxiety or trauma therapist, in particular, can help work with you to reduce your anxiety and panic symptoms.
According to Hahn, there are specific treatments, like EMDR or sensorimotor psychotherapy, which can be helpful in resetting your nervous system and settling your overactive amygdala thats causing your anxiety disorder.
How Can I Help My Anxious Child To Relax
Teaching your child to relax can help them to fall asleep at bedtime. Below are some ideas of how to do this. Giving them something else to think about while lying in bed can help to distract them from their fearful thoughts. Remember, it is impossible to be relaxed and scared at the same time!
Relaxation ideas for your child include the following.
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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.
Could I Have Insomnia Or An Anxiety Disorder
Chronic insomnia is clearly defined as when you have trouble falling or staying asleep at least three times a week for more than 3 months. But an anxiety disorder is harder to diagnose.
In addition to ongoing tension, worry, and trouble with sleep, other signs of an anxiety disorder include:
- Steering clear of situations that trigger your fears
- Nervousness, restlessness
- Trouble concentrating
- Digestion problems
See your doctor if you have these symptoms or your level of worry has drastically changed your lifestyle or is affecting work or school. Call 911 if you start having thoughts of hurting yourself or committing suicide.
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How Anxiety Can Affect Sleep
Lack of sleep can lead to increased chances of anxiety, but anxiety can also cause a lack of sleep. Unfortunately, the two can intertwine quite a bit, causing one to exacerbate the other.
Anxiety can have a negative effect on your bodys ability to fall asleep as your brain is in fight or flight mode, thinking of all potential outcomes for whatever is causing the anxiety. Furthermore, anticipatory anxiety and specific anxiety about sleep can lead to sleep disturbance and insomnia, which then creates a feedback loop that can make both conditions worsen. Insomnia can also make you more irritable and more worried, as your brain is not getting all the sleep it needs in order to function at normal levels.
However, its not uncommon to experience anxiety related to sleep. As Winnie Yu, a writer for WebMD noted in her article Scared to Sleep,;sleep anxiety is a form of performance anxiety. Many people may stress about not getting enough sleep to function, but the stress alone of trying to sleep can cause people to sit awake for hours. Additionally, other fears such as recurring nightmares, fear of sleep apnea , and more can all lead to disturbed sleep.