Not Getting Enough Sleep
According to the CDC, adults should get at least 7 hours of a good quality sleep per day. Not getting enough of that recommended sleep time is another factor that can worsen anxiety. Over the years, Dr. McCann has done studies on the link between sleep deprivation and anxiety. Through this work, she has found that regardless of whether or not someone has an anxiety disorder, anxiety levels go up following a night of sleep deprivation.
This link can be a vicious cycle: while sleep deprivation can cause anxiety, anxiety can cause sleeping problems, as the Anxiety and Depression Association of America points out.
Dr. McCann also notes that when people are sleep-deprived, they become much more sensitive to the effects of anxiety-inducing substances, such as caffeine and other stimulants.
Sleep And Anxiety: How Does Lack Of Sleep Cause Anxiety
Trying to figure out whether your anxiety disorder caused your sleep problem or vice versa is much like asking whether the chicken or the egg came first.
The truth is, anxiety will cause sleeping problems the same way that lack of sleep will cause anxiety.
This is because when youre exhausted you have stronger emotional responses to stimuli than you normally would.
Lab studies and recent research has shown that people who suffer from chronic insomnia are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or social anxiety, than an individual who sleeps well at night .
Thats because lack of sleep can cause anxiety for reasons other than just your internal stress responses and their physical manifestations. Lack of sleep also causes poor performance at work, high blood pressure, and weight gain.
Poor performance at work from sleep deprivation can make you devalue yourself. As a result, it can lead to negative self-talk and loss of self-confidence which increases anxiety .
Similarly, high blood pressure from sleep loss can cause your body to experience more physical stress. This makes you quicker to react angrily, which in turn increases anxiety and tension within your relationships.
Chronic sleeplessness can likewise cause you to gain weight because you eat more and move less. As a result, the extra pounds can increase anxiety, especially for individuals who have a fragile self-esteem .
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.
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What Happens If I Don’t Sleep
Everyone’s experienced the fatigue, short temper and lack of focus that often follow a poor night’s sleep.
An occasional night without sleep makes you feel tired and irritable the next day, but it won’t harm your health.
After several sleepless nights, the mental effects become more serious. Your brain will fog, making it difficult to concentrate and make decisions. You’ll start to feel down, and may fall asleep during the day. Your risk of injury and accidents at home, work and on the road also increases.
To find out how to tell if you’re too tired to drive, visit the governments Welcome to THINK! website.
If it continues, lack of sleep can affect your overall health and make you prone to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Here are 7 ways in which a good night’s sleep can boost your health:
Besides Asking Can Lack Of Sleep Cause Anxiety The Benefits Of Sleep How Does One Get A Better Sleep
We also came across some wonderfully helpful tips from Dr. Andrew Weil which Id like to share below.
Ensure you do not have too much noise in your room. If noise is an unavoidable problem . Perhaps consider getting a white noise machine or small fan that runs in the background. You can adjust to this consistent background noise while these things help block out other external noises.
Also ensure that your room is not too hot. A cool temperature is best for sleeping.
If you awake in the night then do not turn on the lights, but rather use a flashlight where feasible. Light effects a brain chemical called melatonin. Melatonin regulates your sleep-wake cycle, so having too much light will cause you to increase levels of melatonin which begins to wake you up. This is the same process that happens when the sun comes and you begin to awaken.
Establishing a routine and preparing for bedtime in advance, making your sleeping quarters as comfortable as possible. Using some natural aromas or lighting a candle as you do your shut down routine, i.e. brushing teeth, etc., can be helpful.
Also developing good sleep habits such as sleeping on your side and developing and sticking to a bedtime and sleep schedule can be incredibly helpful.
How Are Sleep Disorders And Depression Treated
The treatment for depression depends on how serious it is. For instance, psychotherapy combined with medications is highly effective in treating depression. The antidepressants decrease symptoms of sadness or hopelessness while the psychotherapy helps improve coping skills and change negative attitudes and beliefs caused by depression. Talk therapy also works on coping skills to help you fall asleep more easily.
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.
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Addressing Sleep Problems Makes A Difference
If you sleep poorly and feel depressed, anxious, or less emotionally responsive, there are many treatments that can help. First, look at your sleep habits and see if there are steps that you can take on your own to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep. See Adopt Good Sleep Habits for tips on how to improve your sleep. If problems persist, you may wish to see a medical provider and ask about an evaluation for sleep problems and mental health concerns. After an evaluation and diagnosis, your provider can advise you on the best course of treatment. Options may include behavioral or other forms of therapy and/or medications. You can read about and watch a video of a behavioral sleep consultation in the Healthy Sleep module.Even if you do not have underlying sleep problems, taking steps to ensure adequate sleep will lead to improved mood and well-being. Sheila, a Boston district attorney and mother, became sleep deprived due to the conflicting demands of a full-time job and caring for her young children. She began to feel cranky, irritable, and uncharacteristically depressed. When she got both of her children on a consistent sleep schedule, she herself started sleeping an average of seven to eight hours a night and her mood improved considerably. Read more and watch a video about this in Sheila’s Balancing Act.
Sleep Increases Sex Drive
Men and women who don’t get enough quality sleep experience a loss of libido and less of an interest in sex, research suggests.
Men who suffer from sleep apnoea a disorder in which breathing difficulties lead to interrupted sleep also tend to have lower testosterone levels, which can lower libido.
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Anxiety Can Lead To Sleep Debt
One of the “Catch-22s” of sleep debt anxiety is that it’s not uncommon for the anxiety caused by sleep debt to lead to further sleep issues. Many people struggle to sleep with anxiety, and unfortunately even when that anxiety is caused by a lack of sleep it can be hard to turn off your mind and get rest. This is entirely normal, and something that you can reduce if you to manage your anxiety.
But keep this in mind when you’re going to sleep. If you have anxiety because of sleep debt and it disrupts your sleep causing more sleep debt, you’re not alone. This problem affects millions of those with sleep deprivation, and is something you will learn to work on in the future as you start to address both your sleep and your anxiety issues.
When sleep debt causes or contributes to anxiety, the solution is simple: take steps to get more sleep. If you’re able to go to sleep earlier then you can ease the problem by simply taking it upon yourself to get longer periods of sleep, and allowing that sleep to refresh your body.
Don’t expect this to stop your anxiety right away. Sleep debt issues tend to linger, and you may need to have a good night’s sleep for a few weeks in a row if you want to improve. Taking responsibility for your health and aiming to go to bed earlier can have a positive impact on your levels of anxiety.
- Journal Writing
- Changing Locations
- Develop Routines
- White “Noise”
- Tackle Anxiety First
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How Do You Know If Sleepiness Is A Problem
Because individual sleep needs vary, experts say the best way to gauge whether youÃ¢re getting enough sleep is by how you feel. Ã¢You shouldnÃ¢t feel sleepy when you wake up,Ã¢ says Verceles. Ã¢You should be energetic throughout the day and slowly wind down as you approach your usual bedtime.Ã¢
Krakow suggests assessing your day-to-day abilities and quality of life. Ã¢Ask yourself if your cognitive performance is where you want it to be,Ã¢ he says. Ã¢Are you having conflicts with other employees or your boss over your memory, attention, or concentration â and particularly your productivity?Ã¢
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Lack Of Sleep Looks The Same As Severe Anxiety In The Brain
Chronic sleep deprivation could make some people more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.
ByDana G. Smith | Published Nov 26, 2018 6:00 PM
If youve ever found that a poor nights sleep has left you feeling not only a bit groggy, but also on edge, you arent alone. People with insomnia have double the risk of developing an anxiety disorder, and 70 to 80 percent of people with clinical anxiety have trouble either falling or staying asleep. However, until now, how this relationship works in the brain was unknown.
New research presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego last month revealed that missing just one night of sleep results in a pattern of brain activity that looks a lot like anxiety.
Sleep loss triggers the same brain mechanisms that make us sensitive to anxiety to begin withregions that support emotional processing and also regions that support emotion regulation, says Eti Ben-Simon, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley. If we are chronically sleep deprived, if we keep losing sleep, it could sensitize us to greater anxiety levels and help develop an anxiety disorder.
The good news is that after the participants got a full night of sleep, their anxiety levels went back to normal. But it wasnt only the quantity of sleep that mattered, it was also the quality.
The Struggle Against Anxiety And Sleep Deprivation
- ENT Institute
Weve all dealt with bouts of anxiety, mild or severe. If we examine how it makes us feel, its almost a sickly feeling depending on frequency and intensity. Despite anxietys psychological properties, theres a physical manifestation thats beyond denial. When that happens, were caught in a prison of mind-numbing thoughts and crippling surges of who-knows-what throughout our bodies. What affects our brains, affects our bodies in more ways than we understand. It just so happens that the correlation between anxiety and sleep deprivation is something that we can talk about at the ENT Institute, since we treat sleep disorders.
Im no expert on the subject. Rather, I drew a bad hand at the table of life, another statistic of an anxiety disorder that attacks the mind and the body simultaneously. But thats why this subject became a point of interest for me. Since Im no expert, heres a quote from one: Long-term anxiety and panic attacks can cause your brain to release stress hormones on a regular basis. This can increase the frequency of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and depression. When you feel anxious and stressed, your brain floods your nervous system with hormones and chemicals designed to help you respond to a threat. Adrenaline and cortisol are two examples, .
So then, what is there to do about anxiety and sleep deprivation?
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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.
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.
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How To Catch Up On Lost Sleep
If you don’t get enough sleep, there’s only one way to compensate getting more sleep.
It won’t happen with a single early night. If you’ve had months of restricted sleep, you’ll have built up a significant sleep debt, so expect recovery to take several weeks.
Starting on a weekend, try to add on an extra hour or 2 of sleep a night. The way to do this is to go to bed when you’re tired, and allow your body to wake you in the morning .
You might sleep up to 10 hours a night at first. After a while, the amount of time you sleep will gradually decrease to a normal level.
Don’t rely on caffeine or energy drinks as a short-term pick-me-up. They may boost your energy and concentration in the short term, but can disrupt your sleep patterns even further in the long term.
Page last reviewed: 5 August 2021 Next review due: 5 August 2024
Can Lack Of Sleep & Nutrients Cause Panic Attacks
Panic attacks, a type of anxiety disorder, involve episodes of extreme anxiety or terror out of proportion to any actual threat. They can come on without warning, in response to mild stressors or even while you sleep, and they can have intense physical symptoms such as trembling, nausea, racing heart rate, dizziness, sweating, cramps, chest pain or a choking feeling. Although several things can cause panic attacks, good-quality sleep and nutrition may help you avoid future episodes.
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