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.
Tips To Beat Insomnia
A Vicious Cycle: Insomnia Anxiety And Depression
Heed this condition it could lead to early detection of mental disorders and other illnesses.
Chronic insomnia can increase a persons chances for developing anxiety disorders and depression, according to a study conducted by Dag Neckelmann, MD, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway.
The study, published in the July 1, 2007, issue of the journal SLEEP, was based on data collected from 25,130 adults from two general health surveys conducted over a 10-year period. Neckelmann found significant associations between the long-term course of chronic insomnia and the development of anxiety disorders and depression.
Compared to the group of participants without chronic insomnia in both surveys, the group with chronic insomnia had increased associations with anxiety disorders and depression. Those subjects who reported that they had insomnia during the initial survey had a higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder during the second phase of the study conducted 10 years later.
The findings were upheld even when factors such as the patients age, gender, and educational level were taken into consideration.
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Have A Bedtime Routine If Youd Like But Dont Freak Out If Its Different Each Night
A routine establishes a positive conditioning for sleep, says Tal. When you start your routine, your body gets the “hint” and starts to initiate the mechanisms for sleep.
It was important for me, however, to realize that Im someone who might be unmoored by obsessing over the ritual of what I do each night. During treatment, I liked to take a shower, have a warm glass of milk with honey and do some type of relaxing activity. Early on I found that if I didn’t do something exactly as I’d done it the night before, I would grow anxious over my ability to fall asleep that night. And then boom, no sleep. Instead, I now keep the overall framework of a nighttime routine but have let go of the specifics. One night, I may watch 20 minutes of a TV show, another I might read 10 pages of a book. I’ve done this so my brain doesn’t associate the particular ordering of activities with sleep. For me, the ritual was about relaxation, not rigidity.
How To Get Rid Of Anxiety So You Can Sleep Better
If youre struggling to fall asleep due to anxiety, it could be that treating the anxiety will help solve your insomnia and lack of sleep as well. Anxiety disorders should only be diagnosed by a licensed therapist or medical professional, and these professionals can also help you find treatment regimens as well as, potentially, medications to control the condition. You should not try to self-medicate for anxiety disorders, and should only medicate per the medical advice and supervision of a psychiatrist.
One of the most common and effective treatments for anxiety disorders is continued and guided therapy with a professional counselor or therapist.
The branch of therapy known as;Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be effective for many people, as it helps patients suffering from anxiety disorders create new, positive thought pathways that can help when in anxious situations. There are three different types of CBT, each with an individualized approach in treatment, including interpersonal therapy, thought records, and modern exposure therapy.
Another form of therapy is;Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, also known as ACT. This form of therapy is more focused on mindfulness training and taking action based on personal values, and is unique in that it is not focused on symptom reduction.
Shifting Your Perspective
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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.
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Dietary Supplements Melatonin Plus
If youre looking for accurate information on what are proven home remedies for insomnia, the insomnia forum will be a good source. There we will find first-hand news, users opinions on how they themselves cope with this disease, and even information about dietary supplements that can help in its treatment.
Specialists recommend one in particular, Melatonin Pluswith research-proven efficacy directly resulting from the appropriate selection of natural active ingredients, which are:
- hop cones containing lupulin, an ingredient with sedative and sleeping effects;
- chamomile, a source of essential oils that help us sleep through the night;
- Indian ginseng root, relieving symptoms and effects of stress, allowing to maintain calmness even in the most nervous situations;
- tryptophan, which conditions the correct production of melatonin in the pineal gland;
- l theanine, which facilitates falling asleep;
- GABA, or gamma aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter whose deficiency is another cause of sleep problems;
- Vitamin B6 , which improves nervous system function;
- saffron, which is relaxing and helps maintain a good mood and mental balance regardless of the situation we find ourselves in.
Melatolin Plus is a supplement that works comprehensively, tackles most causes of insomnia, is completely safe to use and can be taken without the risk of side effects. At the best price, you can buy it through the manufacturers website and finally get a good nights sleep.
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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.
Think You Have Insomnia
If you find youre having trouble sleeping at least three times a week, try talking with your doctor about your options.
Theyll probably perform a physical exam and have you keep a sleep journal for a few weeks. From there, they might refer you to a sleep specialist who can complete a sleep study.
Also known as a polysomnogram, a sleep study electronically monitors your sleep activities so a specialist can interpret whats going on with your brain and body while you sleep.
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Whats Causing Your Insomnia
- Are you under a lot of stress?
- Are you depressed? Do you feel emotionally flat or hopeless?
- Do you struggle with chronic feelings of anxiety or worry?
- Have you recently gone through a traumatic experience?
- Are you taking any medications that might be affecting your sleep?
- Do you have any health problems that may be interfering with sleep?
- Is your bedroom quiet and comfortable?
- Do you try to go to bed and get up around the same time every day?
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
- Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
- Donât eat or drink any caffeine in the four to five hours before bed.
- Resist the urge to nap.
- Avoid exercise two hours before bed.
- Keep your bedroom cool and dark.
- Limit your bedroom activities to sleep and sex.
If you canât sleep, get up and do something boring. âKeep a boring book on your bed table,â Obolsky says.
Also, create a restful routine. Prime your body for bed by doing the doing the same things every night. A restful routine that involves a warm bath, listening to music, or deep breathing can be especially helpful if you have insomnia, Edlund says.
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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
Sleep Problems And Sleep Disorders
The National Institutes of Health estimates that about 20 million Americans sometimes experience disruptions in their normal sleeping patterns. More than twice that number of people have ongoing or chronic sleep disturbances serious enough to meet the definition of a diagnosable sleep disorder. A sleep problem becomes a sleep disorder when it repeatedly interferes with your ability to maintain a sense of mental/emotional or physical well-being during waking hours.
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Keep A Regular Sleep Wake Cycle
Being worried that they wont sleep can make insomniacs go to bed earlier in the hope they will sleep sooner, or stay up later because turning in simply fills them with dread. This chopping and changing can create something called social jetlag, says Guy. Just keeping regular bedtimes and wake times is simple but really important.
Relieving Anxiety That Keeps You From Falling Or Staying Asleep
If sleep worries are getting in the way of your ability to unwind at night, the following strategies may help. The goal is to train your body to associate the bed with sleep and nothing elseespecially not frustration and anxiety.
Use the bedroom only for sleeping and sex. With many of us working from home now, it can be difficult to avoid, but if possible dont work, use your computer, or watch TV in your bedroom. The goal is to associate the bedroom with sleep alone, so that your brain and body get a strong signal that its time to nod off when you get into bed.
Move bedroom clocks out of view.;Anxiously watching the minutes tick by when you cant sleepknowing that youre going to be exhausted when the alarm goes offis a surefire recipe for insomnia. You can use an alarm, but make sure you cant see the time when youre in bed.
Get out of bed when you cant sleep. Dont try to force yourself to sleep. Tossing and turning only amps up your anxiety. Get up, leave the bedroom, and do something relaxing, such as reading, meditating, or taking a bath. When youre sleepy, go back to bed.
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Common Psychological And Medical Causes Of Insomnia
Sometimes, insomnia only lasts a few days and goes away on its own, especially when it is tied to an obviously temporary cause, such as stress over an upcoming presentation, a painful breakup, or jet lag. Other times, insomnia is stubbornly persistent. Chronic insomnia is usually tied to an underlying mental or physical issue.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. Having difficulty sleeping can also make anxiety, stress, and;depression symptoms worse. Other common emotional and psychological causes include;anger, worry, grief, bipolar disorder, and trauma. Treating these underlying problems is essential to resolving your insomnia.
Medical problems or illness. Many medical conditions and diseases can contribute to insomnia, including asthma, allergies, Parkinsons disease, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, kidney disease, and cancer. Chronic pain is also a common cause of insomnia.
Medications. Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, including antidepressants, stimulants for ADHD, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medications, and some contraceptives. Common over-the-counter culprits include cold and flu medications that contain alcohol, pain relievers that contain caffeine , diuretics, and slimming pills.
Get Perspective On Your Thoughts
ACT seeks to change the way in which we relate to our thoughts. Instead of thinking Im not going to sleep tonight and I wont be able to cope, try adding a prefix so it becomes My mind is telling me that Im not going to sleep tonight and I wont be able to cope. This way you are no longer in the thought; youre looking at the thought. Its not about belittling the thought, its about owning it rather than getting caught up in it.
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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.