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How To Get Rid Of Anxiety When Trying To Sleep

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Dont Lie In Bed Awake

Sleep, Anxiety, and Insomnia: How to Sleep Better When You’re Anxious

Lying awake will only give your brain time to start another firestorm of worries and anxieties.

If you cant fall asleep after 20 minutes or so, try restarting that bedtime routine.

Dont turn on bright lights, of course, but go do a low-stress activity like pet your cat or drink a cup of tea for a few minutes to help give your body another chance at winding down for the night.

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.

What Is The Relationship Between Anxiety And Sleep

Serious sleep disturbances, including insomnia, have long been recognized as a common symptom of anxiety disorders. People who are plagued with worry often ruminate about their concerns in bed, and this anxiety at night can keep them from falling asleep.

In fact, a state of mental hyperarousal, frequently marked by worry, has been identified as a key factor behind insomnia. People with anxiety disorders are inclined to have higher sleep reactivity, which means they are much more likely to have sleeping problems when facing stress.

Sleeping difficulties have been found for people with various types of anxiety including generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, and PTSD. In several studies, over 90% of people with PTSD associated with military combat have reported symptoms of insomnia.

Distress about falling asleep can itself complicate matters, creating a sleep anxiety that reinforces a persons sense of dread and preoccupation. These negative thoughts about going to bed, a type of anticipatory anxiety, can create challenges to healthy sleep schedules and routines.

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At the same time, strong evidence indicates that sleeping problems are not only a symptom of anxiety. Instead, sleep deprivation can instigate or worsen anxiety disorders. Researchers have found that people who are prone to anxiety are especially sensitive to the effects of insufficient sleep, which can provoke symptoms of anxiety.

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Coffee And Sugary Morning Foods

Coffee has developed an unfair reputation in the anxiety world. While coffee can increase your risk of anxiety symptoms and panic attacks, many people are able to drink coffee without too many problems; and some even find the clarity that coffee brings to be calming.

But coffee can still contribute to feelings of morning anxiety. Studies have shown that coffee increases cortisol levels, which may trigger a physiological anxiety response. This might also involve an elevated heart rate, and for those that are sensitive to how their heart feels, that increased heart rate may trigger further anxiousness.

But coffee is not the only culprit. Many people eat foods high in sugars, from donuts to cereal to juice, and high sugar foods can also contribute to nervousness and jitters. All of these scenarios may indicate that your diet could be affecting morning anxiety.

How Does Anxiety Affect Your Body

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We have already established that morning anxiety is normally characterized by excessive and constant worrying. If you have this condition, you may often find yourself struggling to leave your bed in the morning.

Most of the time, you just give in, pull the covers, and call in sick at work. Anxiety has a devastating impact on the overall health of a person. Besides affecting a persons sleep and eating schedules, anxiety also has a negative impact on a persons physical health. People with anxiety will sometime have physical symptoms such as abdominal pain, increased heart rate, and headache.

If people have distress in their life, this distress often comes out in a physical way. The people will complain about low energy or fatigue. The condition is easy to diagnose and even easier to manage. There are effective therapies and medications that help people overcome the problem. In addition, things like good sleep and regular exercise also play a vital role in minimizing morning anxiety.

Also Check: Does Zoloft Make You Sleepy

Meditation And Mindfulness Make Them A Habit

Meditation and mindfulness can offer endless benefits to us emotionally and psychologically, which will naturally relieve stress. Many of those benefits include increased focus, relaxation, and a decrease in the mental clutter in your head.

One of the biggest challenges with mediation or mindfulness is that to feel the impact, we need to practice it consistently, which takes discipline. The people who are most successful at integrating mediation and mindfulness into their self-care and stress relief routines are people who build it into their daily practices.

And as is true with many strategies, we dont need to spend hours doing it. Just 5 or 10 minutes a day can make a difference, but we do need to make sure we are doing it.

Maybe there is a 5 or 10-minute window at the end or beginning of your day where you could fit this consistently? There are lots of great apps to help guide you through your mediation with music and visualization.

Part 3 Of 4: Being Healthy In Your Daily Life

  • 1Get some sunshine to help with depression. Sunlight is important with maintaining your sleep and awake cycles in the body. It also can help boost your Vitamin D in the body. So don’t spend all your time indoors, particularly on sunny days.XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source
  • While too much sun exposure can be bad for the skin, it’s important to have a healthy dose of sunlight in the day, and darkness at night. It has been shown to help with a good night’s sleep.XResearch source
  • 2Exercise to improve your mind and body. Being active can help with depression รข in fact, regular exercise has been shown to be as effective as taking antidepressants.XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source Though it is not entirely understood, experts believe that exercise may help treat depression by releasing endorphins or by stimulating the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which can improve mood.
  • Try to exercise for about 150 minutes each week . You can start by going for a brisk walk.
  • People who work out for 150 minutes weekly sleep better and feel less sleepy during the day.XResearch source
  • Consider doing stretches in the morning and night to loosen your muscles. This may help relax your body.
  • Avoid spicy foods particularly close to bedtime.
  • Late-night snacks should be limited to light snacks, if at all.
  • Listening to music that makes you happy
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    Eat The Same Breakfast

    Thinking about food is, of course, fun but obviously not when you already have a lot of tasks at work to worry about. Give yourself a morning gift eat the same breakfast . Pick a dish that you especially love and enjoy every morning. It will save you from deciding what to eat and also from the anxiety that it brings.

    Do A Bedroom Makeover

    How To Get Rid Of Anxiety

    Another helpful trick is to make your bedroom a place for nothing but sleep. For some people living in small loft apartments, this might be tricky, but by putting up a divider or curtain, you may be able to simulate a similar separate room effect.

    Regardless,;redecorating your bedroom;for a more comfortable and quiet environment can do wonders for your sleep health. Consider decluttering the room and regularly changing the;bedding;or adding a;rug;to make the space more appealing and comfortable.

    If you come into your bedroom and still cant sleep, dont just lay there and wait for slumber to hit. Instead, get up after 15 minutes and work on some small projects until your body naturally feels sleepy.

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    What Causes Sleep Anxiety And Insomnia

    Silence can be a trigger for thoughts to begin to flood in. Suddenly, thoughts spiral or snowball, and you start to feel anxiety, which leads to further insomnia. All of this leads to impacts on your physical and emotional health, which can lead to difficulty functioning or focusing in general.

    Anxiety can be rooted in many mental health disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, PTSD, and more. Insomnia can exist on its own or be worsened by a mental health disorder. A little sleep anxiety or anxiety happens to everyone, but when it starts to take over your life, thats when you know you have a problem.

    Insomnia is an inability to sleep for periods of time. It can look different for everyone. It can be a difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or variations of both. The lack of sleep is the key component of it. There are many forms of insomnia, such as highly distressed to acute or chronic insomnia.

    There may be a bidirectional relationship between anxiety and insomnia, one impacting the other and creating more of each other. It can be difficult to know which precedes the other. This causes further upset and sleeplessness, making it seem like a never-ending cycle. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, and an additional 20 million report occasional sleep problems.

    Get Outside Its Like Therapy

    Simply getting outside in the fresh air will automatically bring down your stress levels and restore some lost energy. The research around this growing field known as ecotherapy is proving once again how powerful nature is and how we can improve our mental wellbeing along with our physical and spiritual health with time outdoors.

    When you are outside, you are more likely to have increased activity levels and will be exposing yourself to the mood-boosting sun, which helps our body create vitamin D. Research on vitamin D indicates that those who are vitamin D deficient may be more susceptible to inflammatory illness, depression and lowered resistance to stress, and more and more of us are becoming vitamin D deficient across the United States.

    Spending as little as 10 minutes outside every day can be enough to improve mood, mental focus, and decrease blood pressure. Think of the increased concentration and improved efficiency you will get as a return on investment that yields way better growth on your aptitude and attitude for life.

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    How Anxiety Can Affect Sleep

    Lack of sleep can lead to increased chances of anxiety, but anxiety can also cause a lack of sleep. Unfortunately, the two can intertwine quite a bit, causing one to exacerbate the other.

    Anxiety can have a negative effect on your bodys ability to fall asleep as your brain is in fight or flight mode, thinking of all potential outcomes for whatever is causing the anxiety. Furthermore, anticipatory anxiety and specific anxiety about sleep can lead to sleep disturbance and insomnia, which then creates a feedback loop that can make both conditions worsen. Insomnia can also make you more irritable and more worried, as your brain is not getting all the sleep it needs in order to function at normal levels.

    However, its not uncommon to experience anxiety related to sleep. As Winnie Yu, a writer for WebMD noted in her article Scared to Sleep,;sleep anxiety is a form of performance anxiety. Many people may stress about not getting enough sleep to function, but the stress alone of trying to sleep can cause people to sit awake for hours. Additionally, other fears such as recurring nightmares, fear of sleep apnea , and more can all lead to disturbed sleep.

    How Do You Stop Panic Attacks At Night

    How To Sleep Better With Anxiety Get Rid of

    Unfortunately, you can’t always stop panic attacks, especially if it’s a nocturnal panic attack that can happen during sleep without warning. However, you can learn to stay relaxed and “talk yourself down” by controlling your breath, practicing positive self-talk, relaxing your muscles, and seeking support from a friend or family member.

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    Identify The Root Of The Anxiety Out Loud And Fight It With Positivity

    Once you’re in the grips of anxious thinking, you have to work at clearing your mind by venting the nervous thoughts and replacing them with positive ones.

    First, decide what it is specifically that you are focused on that is causing you anxiety, says Dr. Cummins. Is it something that you have control over? Is it something in your future that has not yet occurred for you? If so, state the negative thoughts or anxious concerns out loud and then follow them up with alternative and positive thoughts or solutions for your problems.

    You have to be able to soothe yourself out of the uncontrollable and irrational black or white thinking by combating it with alternative thinking or it is impossible to avoid, adds Cummins.

    Anxiety Dreams: How To Sleep Better

    Medically Reviewed By: Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC

    Many books have been written on the topic of interpreting dreams. Its nice when you can lay your head down on the pillow and drift off to dreamland within minutes. Unfortunately, it doesnt work that way or that well for everyone.

    Have you ever gone through a period of time that no matter what you try, you just cant get to sleep? Counting sheep, reading a book, listening to music, nothing seems to relax you enough to help you drift off. Maybe you have a spouse that starts snoring as soon as their head hits the pillow and it makes you feel resentful. You may be so anxious you cant sleep or youre having trouble sleeping because youre anxious. Stress and anxiety can literally keep you up all night.

    Science and research have attempted to explain various things about our sleep routines and habits. To date, even the best researchers dont fully understand how dreams work. Many people try to interpret their own dreams, and that too is only somewhat successful.

    According to the National Institutes of Health,;over 40 million Americans have long-term, serious sleep disorders.;Another 20 million people say they have sleep problems at least occasionally.

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    How Can I Overcome Anxiety At Bedtime

    If anxiety or disrupted sleep occurs often in your day-to-day life, these simple strategies can help you relax your body and mind and ease yourself into sleep. Changing your pre-sleep habits takes time and patience, but adapting to these changes may help you fall asleep with less sleep anxiety over time.;

    Common Psychological And Medical Causes Of Insomnia

    How to get rid of anxiety

    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.

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    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.

    Write Out Your Worries

    The number-one thing that keeps me awake at night? My own thoughts.Sometimes they’re anxious thoughts, sometimes they’re negative thoughts, and other times it’s a rapid stream of consciousness that I can’t turn off.When this happens, I force myself to write down every single thing I’m thinking in a physical notebook. Not a computer or phone, but old-fashioned pen and paper.I simply write down any thoughts that come to mind, especially the negative ones. As soon as I put just one to paper, they all seem to come pouring out of me. Don’t hold back; no one has to see what you’re writing.But the result is like draining grease out of a pan. I often marvel at how this simple, five-minute exercise makes me feel instantly sleepy, as if I spent the day taking care of all my problems while running a marathon. I feel lighter, and once I’m in bed, my mind is gloriously quiet.

    Recommended Reading: How To Stop Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    / Track Your Heart Rate Variability

    Fancy sleep clinics look at your HRV when diagnosing issues as, unlike heart rate itself, it focuses on the fluctuations of the heart, which is a reliable measure of fitness, fatigue and stress. Hence its inclusion in the newer Fitbits. When analysed over 24 hours, it offers valuable information about autonomic functioning.

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