The Link Between Sleep Disturbances And Depression
Approximately 80% of people with depression experience sleep disturbances. While some have trouble falling asleep, others have difficulty staying asleep. And some find themselves sleeping too much.
Both depression and insomnia involve chemicals in the brain. Changes in neurotransmitters and hormonal imbalances may affect both sleep and mood.
For many years, researchers studied which came first: depression or insomnia. It was clear that the two issues often go hand-in-hand and exacerbate one another.
Studies show that sleep disturbances;often occur before depression begins. Experiencing insomnia prior to feeling depressed may increase the severity of depression.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine now encourages treatment providers to pay close attention to whether insomnia needs to be identified as a separate condition as opposed to viewing it as a symptom of depression only.
How To Treat Sleep Anxiety
When it comes to handling sleep anxiety, Gilliland suggests having a short-term memory for a bad nights rest. Focus on things to improve sleep, and dont allow worry and agitation to creep into thoughts about sleep. You dont need to add that kind of pressure, and it wont help.
Treating sleep anxiety is similar to how you treat more generalized anxiety and worry, but with a few differentiators, says Carlopio. She emphasizes that seeing a doctor first is the most important step, especially to rule out any medical conditions that might be mimicking anxiety or insomnia. Youll also want to make sure you arent suffering from breathing difficulty at night from conditions such as snoring or sleep apnea, as these can also cause sleep disturbances, including sleep anxiety, if not treated.
Whatever the outcome of your doctor visit be it a diagnosis of a specific, perhaps more chronic, sleep disorder or an acute issue brought on by specific stressors turn to these tips if you catch yourself slipping into sleep anxiety-territory.
See a therapist. As noted, getting a professional evaluation from a physician is crucial. Then getting professional support from a therapist trained in dealing with anxiety and stress is recommended, says Carlopio.
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How To Get A Good Night Sleep When Stressed
Another sleepless night spent worrying as you stare at the ceiling? Stress and anxiety can often keep you from getting the sleep you need.
Many people with anxiety disorders have trouble sleeping and at some point its hard to tell whether youre having trouble sleeping because youre anxious, or youre anxious because you cant sleep. The answer may be both. The fact is that stress and anxiety can cause sleeping problems, or worsen existing ones. Too little sleep affects your mood and can contribute to irritability and sometimes depression. Vital brain functions occur during different stages of sleep that leave you feeling rested and energized and that help you learn and build memories.
Here are a few tips to help you practice good sleep hygiene so you can wind down both your body and mind:
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Reason #: Poor Sleep Cycle
According to Lawson, insomnia and anxiety share a strong relationship, meaning sleep problems or insomnia can cause anxiety and vice versa.;
If youve always been anxious or struggled to fall asleep, you may have developed a pattern of poor or interrupted sleep. This makes your body most susceptible to stress and insomnia.;;;Types of Anxiety Disorders
Research also shows that sleep disorders occur in almost all psychiatric and anxiety disorders. Some of these include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder: Worry over everyday events, making it difficult to relax.
- Social anxiety disorder: The anticipation of social situations can often prevent sleep at night.
- Compulsive-obsessive disorder: Research suggests that intrusive thoughts and fears can keep people up when theyre trying to fall asleep.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: The constant re-experiencing of traumatic events can induce nightmares and rob people of sleep.
Takeaway When Dealing With Anxiety And Sleep
Clearly, anxiety and sleep are interconnected. Therefore, you need to give priority to your bodys sleeping cycle. Yes, treating an anxiety disorder is not an easy process. But having a decent amount of sleep has a positive impact on your mental health. So, always value this period when your body gets to restore and strengthen its features.
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Restless Leg Syndrome: Treatment And Symptoms
What is Restless Leg Syndrome and how does it affect your mood, sleep, and health? What are the symptoms of it and what are the treatments for Restless Leg Syndrome ? In this video, well look at how Restless Leg Syndrome an affect mood, sleep, and health, along with some treatments. Every video also contains a tip for doctors and healthcare professionals.
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Causes Of Anxiety Before Sleep
Everyone experiences anxiety differently. Those that have anxiety when falling asleep may have that problem for their own unique reason. Some of the causes include:
These are only an introduction to the different issues that may cause anxiety when falling asleep. There are a variety of other reasons why a person with anxiety may struggle to fall asleep including something as simple as what you ate or drank before going to bed.
Effects and Symptoms of Nighttime Anxiousness
Anxiousness, when you are trying to get to sleep, causes both mental and physical struggles. See if these descriptions of the types of problems encountered by anxiety sufferers trying to get to sleep match up to your own experiences.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms when trying to sleep, you should take the steps outlined below to help you escape the torture of being too anxious to get a good night’s sleep.
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Challenging The Worries And Thoughts That Fuel Insomnia
Its also helpful to challenge the negative attitudes about sleep and your insomnia problem that youve developed over time. The key is to recognize self-defeating thoughts and replace them with more realistic ones.
|Challenging self-defeating thoughts that fuel insomnia|
|Self-defeating thought:||Sleep-promoting comeback:|
|Unrealistic expectations: I should be able to sleep well every night like a normal person. I shouldnt have a problem!||Lots of people struggle with sleep from time to time. I will be able to sleep with the right techniques.|
|Exaggeration: Its the same every single night, another night of sleepless misery.||Not every night is the same. Some nights I do sleep better than others.|
|Catastrophizing: If I dont get some sleep, Ill tank my presentation and jeopardize my job.||I can get through the presentation even if Im tired. I can still rest and relax tonight, even if I cant sleep.|
|Hopelessness: Im never going to be able to sleep well. Its out of my control.||Insomnia can be cured. If I stop worrying so much and focus on positive solutions, I can beat it.|
|Fortune telling: Its going to take me at least an hour to get to sleep tonight. I just know it.||I dont know what will happen tonight. Maybe Ill get to sleep quickly if I use the strategies Ive learned.|
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.
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.
How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treat Sleep Anxiety
CBT is a form of psychotherapy, or talk therapy. It teaches you how to change your behavior by changing the way you think. Its a common treatment for people with anxiety. A special form of CBT called cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia focuses on helping people who have insomnia. This therapy can take anywhere from six to 12 weeks to produce results.
During CBT or CBTI, you may learn to:
- Avoid behaviors or environmental factors that trigger your anxiety or make sleeping difficult.
- Better understand how sleep and anxiety affect your brain and the rest of your body.
- Change negative or inaccurate thinking about bedtime or sleep.
Your therapist may teach you how to sleep with anxiety by using biofeedback. Biofeedback trains you to control your bodys functions. You learn to relax your muscles, regulate your breathing, lower your heart rate and focus your attention. Your therapist might use special sensors to measure these bodily functions, or they may give you exercises, such as deep breathing and meditation, to do at home.
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Meditation And Relaxation Techniques
A regular meditation practice may help to promote sleep by slowing breathing and;reducing stress hormone levels.;Meditation is a technique that involves consciously directing one’s attention to an object of focus in order to increase awareness, relax the body, and calm the mind.
Some types of meditation include;guided meditation, vipassana meditation, yoga nidra, or;body scan. Also try:
- Visualization: Visualization involves actively imagining a relaxing scene. You can try it in bed for 20 minutes before falling asleep. Involve all your senses. If you’re imagining yourself on a tropical island, think of the way the warm breeze feels against your skin. Imagine the sweet scent of the flowers, look at the water and listen;to the waves. The more vivid the visualization and the more senses you involve, the more effective it will be.
- Relaxation response: This is a mind/body response that occurs after following specific instructions;patterned closely after;Transcendental Meditation.
- Mindfulness: This type of meditation essentially involves focusing on your mind on the present.
Early;evidence suggests that meditation techniques may improve sleep. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says relaxation techniques have enough evidence to say they can be helpful for insomnia. But further research is still needed.
Find A Solution For Your Sleep Problems
Sleep Health Solutions of Ohio is equipped with to provide doctors and patients with diagnostic information for a wide range of sleep disorders. We can help determine what is keep you up at night, find the right treatment option for you, and monitor your progress towards better sleep health. Call our office for more information.
Dr. Rosenberg is specialized in sleep medicine and neurology. He is also certified by the American Board of Sleep Disorders Medicine and the American Board of Psychology and Neurology. Patients with a wide range of issues are referred for sleep studies and he works together with them to find effective solutions that fit their lifestyle.
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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
Tips For Sleeping With Anxiety
Anxiety disorders largely interfere with your sleeping. Therefore, its important that you get a good rest to improve your cognitive functions. Here are some relevant tips that you can make use of when you have anxiety.
- Follow a routine.;Its highly recommended that you have a sleeping pattern when to go to bed and when to wake up. You can also incorporate regular exercise and meditation to prepare your mind before sleeping.
- Keep track of your activities.;To evaluate your disorder properly, you can create a specific diary where you can write down all your thoughts. This is a great way to release tension and track your progress.
- Converse with your doctor or therapist about your sleep troubles.;Theres nothing to be ashamed of when talking about your anxiety and sleep issues. This would help pinpoint the causes and provide proper treatment.
- Request for sleep supplements, if needed.;If your anxiety is messing up with your sleep, you can ask for sleep supplements from your doctor. Melatonin and CBD oil are some possible aids that regulate sleep.
- Make use of a weighted blanket.;;This works wonders to calm your anxiousness and help you feel more secure. A weighted blanket offers amazing benefits when sleeping because of its cosy composition.
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Get Your Worries On Paper
Calming an already-stirred up mind can be challenging, so also implement some calming practices before you even get into bed.
Dr. Whitney Roban, a clinical psychologist and family sleep specialists number one piece of advice for people suffering from night-time anxiety is to keep a journal where you can write down all those clingy thoughts.
When you get these thoughts out of your head and onto paper, there is a good chance they will not infiltrate your mind when its actually time to go to sleep, Dr. Roban says. Many people also like to make lists in their journal of the things they need to do the next day.
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.
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Consider Getting Medical Help
If you have a sleep disorder that doesnât let up, such as insomnia or chronic nightmares, talk to a sleep specialist.
Insomnia can be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy or sleep medications. Chronic nightmares may require imagery rehearsal therapy that involves rewriting and rehearsing a new version of the nightmare during the day. It can also be treated with various prescription medications. You should also talk to your doctor if you think you have sleep apnea or another condition thatâs disrupting your sleep.
For Coulter, training for a marathon in 2008 provided a temporary break from the sleeplessness. She also gets some relief by taking a sleep medication, though she says it doesnât always work. She is now considering seeing a sleep specialist and in the meantime, has started running again. âRunning does help,â she says. âI think I shift my anxiety to doing a good run or doing well in a race.â
How To Sleep With Anxiety
However, there are ways to get a good night’s sleep even if you are dealing with anxiety, Mendez says. Here’s how:
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What Does Anxiety Feel Like
The symptoms of anxiety disorders can affect people both emotionally and physically.
People with anxiety may feel extremely nervous and on-edge. This can affect their concentration and mood, leading to irritability and restlessness. Their fear or sense of impending doom can feel overwhelming and out-of-control.
Physically, anxiety disorders can provoke tense muscles, rapid breathing and heartbeat, sweating, trembling, gastrointestinal distress, and fatigue.
Many people with anxiety disorders attempt to avoid situations that could trigger heightened worry; however, this does not resolve their underlying fear and can interrupt both professional and personal activities. Over time, a person with anxiety disorder may get used to being worried such that a state of distress or fear seems normal.
Anxiety disorders can occur alongside other mental health problems like depression. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America , nearly 50% of people with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.