Understand You Are Not Alone
While you may be self-conscious or feel isolated with this phobia, its important to remember that you are not alone. There are others who struggle with sleep anxiety as well, and though you may be concerned about opening up about your condition, a trusted friend or family member can be a great source of support.
Find Balance In Your Life
Stress can turn our lives upside down and throw everything off-kilter. Finding your equilibrium, getting your bearings straight, and finding the balance in your life between the many demands of family, partner, work, and friends is essential.
If you are feeling increased stress, take a look at the demands around you and make sure that there is a balance between the different parts of your lifein particular, the areas where you find more nourishment for the soul.
Incorporating the well-known life coaching strategy life wheel is a great way to think about the different parts of your life to ensure that you are giving all areas the time and attention that they need.
Aromatherapy Diffuser And Essential Oil Set
Aromatherapy is a great self-care tool because its said to help improve pain levels and relieve stress.
In particular, while research is somewhat limited on essential oils, lavender oil is one thats generally considered a natural sleep aid. For example, one older study found that lavender increased the amount of slow and deep wave sleep.
Thats why this diffuser and essential oil set is a great tool to help you work aromatherapy into your nightly routine. Plus, the wood diffuser will look cute on your bedside.
Sense a pattern here? Products that give you something calming to focus on before bed are a great idea because they help take your mind off your worries.
Lighting a scented candle before bed is a great way to do that.
Homesick makes a whole line of candles designed to evoke the smells of your home state or specific memories so its pretty easy to find a scented candle that youll find calming.
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Set An Intention Early
Many of us go from one activity to the next throughout our day without really considering how we are feeling, let alone how we would like to feel. For example, do you ever come home after a long day of work and think to yourself, I really want to relax and enjoy this evening?
Most likely you are far too busy or preoccupied to stop and ponder how you want your evening to be. However, by setting an intention early, you are more likely to get the results you want.
If you remind yourself each day that you are determined to have a peaceful evening, you are more likely to actually experience it that way.
Remembering to set an intention is easier when you mark a certain point in your day for it. For example, while driving home from work, you may be going over in your mind all the stress that you went through that day.
At a certain point during your drive home, such as when you drive over a certain bridge or pass a particular landmark, you can set the intention to let go of work stress from that point forward and enjoy the rest of your evening. Another option can be to set an alarm that reminds you to set your intention for a nice evening.
Regardless of what type of prompt works for you, get in the habit of setting your personal objective of how you want to feel each evening.
What Are A Few Tricks To Help You Sleep When You Have Anxiety
Relaxation techniques help a person relax so that sleep pressure will be unopposed and they can fall asleep. Techniques such as breathing skills, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, meditation, yoga, constructive worry, and mindfulness can all help. Right now, there are a lot of apps you can get for free that teach you how to do these skills. A favorite free app in the sleep community is called CBT-i Coach. It was made in partnership with Stanford University Sleep Center and the VA. It has a lot of useful information about improving sleep, including a section called Quiet Your Mind. All of the techniques that benefit anxiety and sleep are there, and your phone will guide you in how to use it.
Regions Sleep Health Center employs two sleep psychologists. Not only are they trained and experienced in clinical psychology and mental health treatments, but they have additional training in assessing and treating sleep disorders. If they determine that anxiety is your chief concern, they can help you connect with Behavioral Health to treat the anxiety and then offer treatment for insomnia. If the anxiety is strictly due to poor sleep, they can usually help improve your sleep without adding medications in six to eight weeks.
Here are some resources that can help with anxiety, sleep disorders and behavioral health:
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Is It Common In Adults
Both children and adults can experience sleep anxiety. However, with kids, they may be scared of thing such as the dark or imaginary monsters. In this case, experts say parents can help by not building up fears, introducing a night light, avoiding scary tv shows or movies, or providing a comfort object such as a blanket or stuffed toy.
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.
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Making Your Bedroom Comfortable
A peaceful bedroom atmosphere greatly helps in sending asignal to the mind that it is time to relax. Maintaining silence in the room isimportant for a good nights sleep. If you cant completely avoid trafficsounds, barking dogs and various noises from creeping into your bedroom, trymasking them with a fan or white noises. Earplugs may be your next best friend!
Keeping your room at a comfortable temperature also helpsyou sleep. Mostpeople prefer to sleep in a moderately cool room withadequate ventilation. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can keep youuncomfortable at night. Also make sure you have enough legroom to stretch andturn. Place a comfortable bed in your room with a topnotch mattress so youdont end up with a sore neck and aching back. Invest in a firm pillow toprovide adequate support to the neck.
How Anxiety Affects Sleep
Sleep problems caused by anxiety arent limited to people with diagnosed anxiety disorders.
The spectrum ranges from everyday kind of problems that might make us anxious and affect sleep all the way to people diagnosed with anxiety disorders who are likely to have ongoing problems, Dr. Neubauer said.
Anxiety can affect sleep at any time, but most commonly causes difficulty in falling asleep. People with higher levels of anxiety may feel anxious all the time and have trouble staying asleep. In general, Neubauer said, the risk for awakening in the night parallels the degree of anxiety.
People with persistent insomnia also become anxious about sleep, he said. The more anxious they are about sleep, that undermines the ability to sleep well, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In fact, a June 2013 study in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that sleep deprivation contributes to anxiety by heightening peoples anticipatory and stress-inducing response processes.
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/ Get Into The Habit Of A Relaxing Practice Before Bed
Try an evening breathing session, meditation, gentle yoga class or series of stretches to help relax your body and clear your mind. Though late night runs can feel useful as youre expending energy, they raise your heart rate which in turn will affect your sleeping. Instead exercise in the morning or afternoon, which has been proven to reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
‘You can use your breathing to calm your nervous system down, teaching it to shift from a state of high arousal to a state of rest and relaxation,’ says Bostock. ‘Focusing on your breath will also help you to come into the present moment and slow down those racing thoughts.’
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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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
How To Stop Feeling Anxious Right Now
While itâs normal to get nervous about an important event or life change, about 40 million Americans live with an anxiety disorder, which is more than the occasional worry or fear. Anxiety disorders can range from a generalized anxiety disorder , which is intense worrying that you canât control, to panic disorder — sudden episodes of fear, along with heart palpitations, trembling, shaking, or sweating.
For those with an anxiety disorder, itâs important to look into strategies that can help manage or reduce anxiety in the long term, like talk therapy or medication. But everyone can benefit from other ways to reduce stress and anxiety with lifestyle changes such as eating a well-balanced diet, limiting alcohol and caffeine, and taking time for yourself.
Plus, there are steps you can take the moment when anxiety starts to take hold. Try these 10 expert-backed suggestions to relax your mind and help you regain control of your thoughts.
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S To Managing Anxiety
1. Admit to yourself that you are anxious and tell those close to you that it is happening.
2. Seek out a friend or family member who has gone through anxiety and dealt with it successfully. Make this person your confidant and source of empathy.
3. Don’t pretend that you aren’t anxious pushing the feeling down will only make it stronger. Anxiety seeks relief and won’t rest until it gets some.
4. Get regular sleep that lasts 8 to 9 hours. This can be difficult, because anxious thoughts tend to increase at bedtime. Meditation and relaxation exercises can help here. Try a natural sleep aid if your anxiety causes insomnia that leaves you exhausted during the day. Or if that doesnt work, you may want to try an over-the-counter sleep aid. Make sure to begin with half a tablet and take it sparingly rather than turning it into a crutch and into part of your regular nighttime ritual.
5. Seriously deal with stress in your life. Anxiety is too high a price to pay for living under constant pressure. For most people, anxiety is a sign that their stress response is overloaded. Try to make time every day to be alone and quiet, to meditate, and to walk outside in nature.
6. Avoid alcohol and tobacco. People use these to help them stop worrying and feeling nervous. Ultimately, both substances contribute to the problem rather than solving it.
Set Yourself Up For Healthy Sleep When Stressed And Anxious
If you try all of these steps and still struggle to sleep soundly, consider reaching out to your doctor or a sleep expert for support. Treatments for a generalized anxiety disorder or a sleep disorder can vary significantly.
One mental health treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia , is an evidence-based therapeutic technique that looks at the interplay of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that can impact sleep.
Your sleep and anxiety are interconnected. Finding ways to better manage one will ultimately help you find relief with the other.
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Proactively Reduce Stress During The Day
Sometimes our anxious thoughts are simply the remains of a stressful day.
Some of the best ways to deal with anxious thoughts at night are to reduce the stress you have to deal with during the day, says Benjamin Ritter, a coach and consultant specializing in personal and professional leadership development. You can avoid stressful people, be more open and honest about your feelings, and most importantly plan and strategize areas of your life. Reduce the number of decisions you have to make during the day and you’ll have more left over in your brain bank to deal with stress and anxiety at night.
Stay Away From Caffeinated Drinks
Eliminate caffeinated drinks and foods after 2:00 P.M. Caffeine affects people differently, so your cut off time may be a little earlier or later, but start with 2:00 P.M. and adjust as needed. The National Sleep Foundation identifies caffeine as a source of insomnia as well as anxiety, excessive urination, irritability and rapid heartbeat.
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How Do I Know If I Need Help
Fear and anxiety can affect all of us every now and then. It is only when it is severe and long-lasting that doctors class it as a mental health problem. If you feel anxious all the time for several weeks, or if it feels like your fears are taking over your life, then its a good idea to ask your doctor for help, or try one of the websites or numbers listed at the back of this booklet. The same is true if a phobia is causing problems in your daily life, or if you are experiencing panic attacks.
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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What Are The Symptoms Of Nighttime Anxiety
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.
Engage Your Creative Brain
When we engage the creative parts of ourself we tap into the part of our brain that releases dopamine, which has a naturally calming, therapeutic effect. Needless to say, this will almost immediately help us to relax and will lower our stress levels. One of the premises for which art therapy has been well established.
In one study, in particular, it was found that after just 45 minutes of engaging with artistic materials, regardless of the level of production or artistic talent the person had, there was a notable decrease of cortisol in 75% of the participants.
Music therapy is another form of creative art that can relieve stress and restore our energy. Many of us use music to help us decompress or move into another part of our day or activity. Music also taps into this part of our brain that increases focus and can help us emulate the feeling or vibe we perceive in the music. As we know, upbeat music will help you feel more positive while slower music can help you feel more relaxed by easing some of the tension in your body.
There are tons of great playlists out there aimed at stress relief. The next time you are on your preferred music streaming service, test out a few and see which works for you. Needless to say, music is one of those things that we can have in the background while moving forward with other parts of our day.
Perhaps this is another area in need of a reboot that could enhance your stress relief routine.
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