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How Does Anxiety Affect Your Sleep

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Avoid Stressful Activities Before Bed

How Does Anxiety Affect Sleep? How To Sleep With Anxiety

Amber Weiss, licensed psychotherapist and founder of Transformative Mindset, says, Creating some form of a transition from daytime to sleeping is highly recommended. According to Weiss, you cant expect the mind to go to sleep on demand. Instead, you need to allow time for the brain to transition, just like we transition to go outside or when we get home.;

The goal is to reduce the nervous thoughts in your head so your mind is clear, calm, and positive before you head off to sleep. This can entail leaving the office, work, news, and social media exchanges for earlier in the day to create buffer time between work and sleep, setting yourself up for better rest.;

What Happens When Anxiety Interrupts Sleep

When anxiety causes inadequate sleep, it can go beyond the tiredness of a regular all-nighter. Poinsett says that anxiety can be a trigger for sleep deprivation, creating a vicious cycle that can further affect your sleep pattern.;;;

While the impact of sleep anxiety is largely individual, some common effects of sleep anxiety include:

  • Negatively impacts your mood
  • Increases chance of depression
  • Reduces cognitive reaction times;

A small study even found that those who have insomnia are four times more likely to develop depression.

In addition to mental health issues, those with sleep disorders can be at risk for other health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.;

When You Wake Up Panicking At 3 Am

Weve all been there a nightmare or stressdream causes you to wake up. The next thing you know youre lying thereoverthinking your finances and everything you have to do the next day.

When this happens, what can you do to getback to sleep?

  • Stop watching the clock: Counting the minutes will onlyheighten your distress. Turn your alarm clock around and dont pick up yourphone.
  • Try to relax your body: Use a relaxation strategy thathelped prior to bed to relax your body and mind.
  • Get out of bed: If you cant fall back to sleepafter a stressful dream, then try getting out of bed to help decrease thefrustration. Dont spend time in bed hopelessly trying to get back to sleep orinterpreting your dream. ;Once you leave your bed,find an activitythat is uninteresting or boring. When you start to get drowsy, go back to bed.

Since dreams obviously arent measurable, theres no real answer to what meaning they hold in our day-to-day life. But we do know that we generally have control over daily stress, which can trigger weird or anxiety-clad dreams. Learning to control the crazy and manage your stress is your best defense to help you sleep peacefully.

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Can Insomnia Also Cause Anxiety

Yes, it can. If you have insomnia, you may become anxious about your lack of sleep. One study on teenagers found that sleep problems started before their anxiety disorders almost a third of the time.;

Researchers have also found that the brains of people who havent slept well look very similar to the brains of people with anxiety disorders. The sleep-deprived brain produces more stress hormones like cortisol, which can make you feel more on edge.

So, insomnia can come before anxiety disorders or make the symptoms of anxiety disorders worse. The two can also feed off each other. If you have enough sleepless nights over time, you may start to worry that you wont ever get good sleep, which can lead to more anxiety and more insomnia.;

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How Can Medication Treat Sleep Anxiety

How do stress and insomnia affect your body?

Your healthcare provider may recommend medication to treat anxiety or other mental health disorders. Medication can also help improve the symptoms of sleep-related disorders such as restless legs syndrome or insomnia.

But some medications might actually increase your anxiety or make sleeping harder when you first start taking them. If you experience these side effects, talk to your healthcare provider. Many over-the-counter sleep aids can also be habit-forming. Dont start any medication for anxiety or sleep without your healthcare providers supervision.

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Links Between Depression And Sleep

Research suggests that sleep and depression have a two-way relationship . People with sleep disorders are more likely to develop depression, and poor sleep is often the chief complaint of people diagnosed with depression. In the past, sleep issues were seen as secondary to depression and were rarely a target of treatment. Today, researchers believe that sleep issues often begin before depressive symptoms, and treating sleep issues may be an important part of the overall treatment of depression.

Although researchers are still learning about the two-way relationship between sleep and depression, several potential links have been suggested. Depression and sleep disorders may be affected by similar processes within the body, such as:

Sleep Complaints in Depression

In people diagnosed with depression, sleep complaints are common. In fact, its estimated that 90% of patients with depression experience sleep issues , including insomnia and hypersomnia. Depression is the most common cause of chronic insomnia. People with depression and insomnia may experience a variety of symptoms , including trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up too early.

Depression and Sleep Disorders

Insomnia isnt the only sleep disorder linked to depression. Patients diagnosed with sleep disorders have higher rates of depression then the general population. Sleep disorders with significant links to depression include sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome.

What Tests Help Confirm A Sleep Anxiety Diagnosis

In some cases, your provider may do a sleep study to find out if you have a sleep disorder. Also called polysomnography, a sleep study is a test where you stay overnight in a sleep lab. Your healthcare provider evaluates how your body works during sleep by checking your:

  • Blood oxygen levels.
  • Snoring or other noises you make during sleep.

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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.;

Types Of Stomach Problems From Anxiety

How Sleep Really Affects Your Anxiety Levels

What’s interesting about anxiety stomach problems is that they may occur at different times for different people. Some people get stomach problems only during severe anxiety attacks. Others get these problems all throughout the day but know that they suffer from intense anxiety.

The following represent the most common types of “stomach problems” from anxiety. Remember, people often use the word stomach to also include bowels, colloquially.

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Establish A Sleep Routine

Developing a ‘wind-down’ routine before bed helps your body recognise when it’s time for sleep.

“Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Even at the weekends, try to get up at a time that isn’t too different to when you get up during the week,” Bijlani advises.

It’s also important to make sure you give yourself time to get the sleep you need, too.

“Going to bed too late and not leaving enough time for sleep may result in you constantly checking the clock and worrying that you’re not going to feel rested the next day,” Bijlani explains. “These negative thought processes can fuel anxiety.”

Cant Sleep Because Of Anxiety

Its a routine you know all too well. Youre getting ready for bed, tired, and ready to sleep. Then as soon as you crawl between your sheets about to step into dreamland, your anxiety starts tapping on the windows in your brain and youre unable to do anything other than overthink everything your brain brings to the surface. Anxiety-induced insomnia strikes again.

If you cant sleep because of anxiety, we are here to help you understand the relationship anxiety can have on sleep and offer tips on how you can conquer your insomnia.

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Easing Anxiety Improves Sleep

The good news about anxiety and insomnia being so closely related is that, if you help one problem, you also help the other.

For example, Neubauer said, if you have an anxiety disorder, then getting treatment with cognitive therapy, meditation, or medication can have the indirect effect of improving sleep.

Short of getting treatment for an anxiety disorder, said Neubauer, there are ways people can, on their own, sleep better. For instance:

Practice relaxation techniques. Many approaches, such as nighttime meditation or yoga, can combat anxiety. Neubauer recommends you start by learning new relaxation techniques earlier in the day so youre not putting too much pressure on yourself before bedtime. Then, once youre comfortable with it, you can do it later in the day.

Get into a regular sleep routine. Going to bed and getting up at about the same time each day lets the bodys internal circadian clock work better. Getting up at odd hours can undermine that rhythm.

Schedule some idle time before bed. A common problem is that, when people get into bed, its the first time theyve had to ponder the day, Neubauer said. Try to sit down and think about the day before you get ready for sleep. Jot down any concerns on a piece of paper if you need to remember tasks for the next day. Dont use the time before bed to pay bills or other anxiety-inducing activity.

What Are The Symptoms Of Nighttime Anxiety

How Does Anxiety Affect Your Sleep?

Symptoms of nighttime anxiety take on many forms, as it is experienced differently by everyone. Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, pediatrician and medical consultant for Mom Loves Best, says, Before bedtime is no different than anxiety during the day. The difference is that you may be more aware of anxiety at night as fewer other stimuli are co-occurring.

While sleep anxiety is individual to each person, some of the most common symptoms include:;

  • Nightmares and night terrors
  • Hypnic jerk

Another symptom of sleep anxiety is panic attacks. This involves an episode of extreme fear thats characterized by a sense of doom, increased heart rate, sweating, dizziness, shortness of breath, and a feeling of detachment that could occur before or during sleep. After experiencing a nighttime panic attack, there can be anxiety about getting another attack, making it harder to fall asleep.

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Anxiety And Insomnia During Covid

Many find that anxiety and insomnia have increased during this years pandemic brought on by the coronavirus . Charles Morin claims in his research that, While the emergence of sleep disturbances and psychological distress in response to stressful life events is to be expected, the prolonged measures of social confinement and isolation during COVID-19 brings new dimensions to this crisis that might explain the increased incidence of sleep problems.

It also goes without saying that insomnia brought on by anxiety can lead to other mental health side effects. A lack of sleep can often lead to delusions, irritability, depression, and, you guessed it more anxiety.

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.
  • Trembling.

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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How Does Anxiety Affect Sleep

It is no secret that symptoms of anxiety can significantly impact your sleep. However, many people may not know that it is anxiety that is affecting their rest. Many individuals that have sleep problems typically think physical health is the culprit, but anxiety is one of the most common causes of sleep disturbance. By learning how anxiety affects sleep and vice-versa, you can begin to notice if this disorder is to blame for your sleep problems. From there, you can start to take steps towards managing in in a healthy manner that will not only help you sleep better but improve your anxiety in general.

What is Anxiety? What Does It Feel Like?

First and foremost, it is essential to outline anxiety and its symptoms. This way, you can begin to notice if they are currently present in your own life. Anxiety is a part of life, with many people feeling anxious from time to time due to external life circumstances. These can come from work, school, or significant life changes. However, anxiety can become a problem when it is persistently present and seemingly has no cause. When this happens, it is classified as an anxiety disorder and can affect your daily life from professional performance, grades, and interpersonal relationships.

Common symptoms of these various disorders include:

  • Muscle tension
  • Problems in interpersonal relationships

âEffects of Anxiety on Sleep

Lack of Sleep on Anxiety

Managing Anxiety For A Good Nightâs Sleep

Insomnia Characteristics According To The Presence Of Anxiety Or Depression

Why Anxiety Affects Your Sleep… & Vice Versa (& How to Cope)

No statistical differences were observed among the 4 groups in average sleep time during workdays, weekends, and overall sleep. The three insomnia-related symptom scales of each group are presented in Figure 3. Regarding the difficulty in initiating sleep and feelings of impaired quality of life, only Groups 1 and 4 featured a statistically significant difference. Group 4 was more likely to have difficulties in maintaining sleep than were Groups 1 and 2. The groups did not differ in their scores on the frequent awakening scale.

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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.;

Write Down Your Worries On Paper

According to Juanita Wells, director of clinical development at New Method Wellness, putting your thoughts down on paper can help us remain accountable to ourselves, our feelings, our purpose, and plan.

Instead of letting thoughts and to-dos swirl around in your brain, write them down so that your brain has a game plan for the following day. Wells says that writing down your anxious feelings, especially through stream-of-consciousness journaling , can help ease anxiety before bed.

In addition to calming pre-bedtime anxiety, research shows that journaling can also help you fall asleep more quickly. To get started journaling, just snuggle up with your notebook and some cozy pillows and let your thoughts take it away.

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How To Manage Anxiety And Get A Good Nights Sleep

Stress and anxiety are some of the most common reasons people toss and turn at night. Surveys estimate that about 24% to 36%of people with insomnia have an anxiety disorder, and these 2 problems can feed off each other.;

If your anxiety is interfering with your sleep, it can seem like a waking nightmare. But there are a number of treatments to help you get some shuteye again.;

Tips For Managing Stress For Better Sleep

5 Ways Stress Wrecks Your Sleep (And What To Do About It ...

These tips can help you ease stress and hopefully get a better night’s sleep:

These steps can help many people sleep soundly through the night. However, if you have frequent sleep problems, talk to your doctor. They can check you for possible medical problems like an overactive thyroid or sleep disorders, or a psychiatric condition like an anxiety disorder, and recommend treatment.

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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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