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How To Manage Insomnia Anxiety

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Establish A Regular Sleep Routine

How to manage sleep anxiety

Since sleep anxiety can harm your sleep, and in turn make your anxiety worse, it is vital to make getting a good nights sleep a priority.

Stick to the same times to go to bed and to wake up every day, even on weekends, and make sure that you have blocked out seven to nine hours for a full night of uninterrupted sleep.

Make your evening bedtime routine conducive to getting yourself relaxed and ready to sleep.

Avoid stimulants like coffee, chocolate, and nicotine before going to sleep, and dont watch TV or use your phone or computer before going to bed. Read a book, listen to soft music, or meditate instead.

Figure Out What’s Bothering You

The physical symptoms of panic and anxiety, such as trembling, chest pain, and rapid heartbeat, are usually more apparent than understanding just what is making you anxious. However, in order to get to the root of your anxiety, you need to figure out whats bothering you. To get to the bottom of your anxiety, put some time aside to exploring your thoughts and feelings.

Writing in a journal can be a great way to get in touch with your sources of anxiety. If anxious feelings seem to be keeping you up at night, try keeping a journal or notepad next to your bed. Write down all of the things that are bothering you. Talking with a friend can be another way to discover and understand your anxious feelings.

Make it a habit to regularly uncover and express your feelings of anxiety.

Avoid Stressful Activities Before Bed

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.

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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.

What Happens When Anxiety Interrupts Sleep

I Suffer from Insomnia Caused by Stress  and How Im ...

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.

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What Does It Do To The Body

Youve probably heard the term fight or flight reaction before, typically in reference to a caveman being chased by a lion or a wooly mammoth. While we dont typically find ourselves literally running for our lives in the present day and age, we often feel like were fighting for our lives when were faced with stressful situations. A scary medical diagnosis, an overdrafted bank account, or a devastating breakup can all elicit the same classic fight or flight reaction in the body that our Paleolithic ancestors experienced when faced with danger.

The fight or flight response causes chemical changes in the body to prepare you to take action. It starts when the emotional processing center of your brain, the amygdala, sends a signal to the main command center in your brain, the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is interconnected with your entire body through the autonomic nervous system, which controls all of the automatic functions in your body breathing, heart rate, etc.

All of these functions are regulated through two different systems: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. When the hypothalamus detects a stressor from the amygdala, it sends a message to the adrenal glands and activates the sympathetic nervous system with a fight or flight response. The parasympathetic nervous system has the opposite effect, calming things down and moving you into rest and digest mode.

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.

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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.

What You Can Do About It

Tips for managing insomnia

There are a number of things you can try to help yourself get a good night’s sleep if you have insomnia.

These include:

  • setting regular times for going to bed and waking up
  • relaxing before bed time try taking a warm bath or listening to calming music
  • using thick curtains or blinds, an eye mask and earplugs to stop you being woken up by light and noise
  • avoiding caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, heavy meals and exercise for a few hours before going to bed
  • not watching TV or using phones, tablets or computers shortly before going to bed
  • not napping during the day
  • writing a list of your worries, and any ideas about how to solve them, before going to bed to help you forget about them until the morning

Some people find over-the-counter sleeping tablets helpful, but they don’t address the underlying problem and can have troublesome side effects.

Read more self-help tips for insomnia

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How To Sleep When You’re Stressed And Anxious

Most of us have been there before.

A stressful day at work, an argument with a partner, or an event during the day can leave your head spinning. Learning how to sleep when stressed and anxious is important for a variety of reasons.

It doesnt take long before sleep quality drops and you start to develop a sleep problem. This stops you from getting a good night’s rest because youre too stressed to sleep.

With anxiety driving your mind into overdrive, it can be hard to stop ruminating and relax at the end of the day. Your mind loops around the same track, keeps going over the same conversation, or worries the same unanswerable questions. Often, sleep becomes unattainable.

So what comes first, lack of sleep or anxiety?

Its not so clear cut, one might bring about the other.

Lets break down both to gain some more insight into how these two issues are related.

Avoid Lying In Bed Awake

If youre lying in bed for more than 20 minutes and still cant fall asleep, it might be time to give yourself a do-over. While it may feel counterintuitive, Lawson suggests leaving your bedroom to do a sleep-inducing activity, like having a cup of tea or reading a book. This conditioning, known as stimulus control, can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.

If youre going to try stimulus control, its important to remove yourself from your bedroom environment. This helps give you a mental reset when you try to fall asleep again.

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Tips For Managing Sleeplessness

The following are some of the more effective, simplest strategies that you can start doing today to curb your insomnia and start sleeping better.

  • Go Running – Don’t run right before bed, since it will get your heart rate up which may cause you to stay up later, but do run a few hours before your bedtime, ideally before dinner. This will work your muscles and keep them in shape while also tiring them out and giving your brain a good reason to want to shut down for the night. Running also releases endorphins in the brain, which are your brains happy chemicals and can help balance out any sad or anxious chemicals your brain may be prone to producing.
  • Eat Lighter Dinners – Try eating a more substantial lunch during the day, and a less substantial dinner before bed. In Mediterranean countries, which are known for their healthy lifestyles and eating habits, lunch is usually bigger than dinner. That is because eating a large meal before dinner gives your stomach too much digestive work to do while you sleep to allow you to rest comfortably. This habit can also be good for your figure, as a smaller meal at dinner gives your body less fat to hold onto . Improving your physical health by eating properly is an excellent way to reduce your anxiety by reducing any extra strain unhealthy eating was putting on your body.
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    What Does Anxiety Feel Like

    Stress and Insomnia: The Link

    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.

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    What Causes Sleep Anxiety

    Anxiety is a natural part of being human. Were meant to feel afraid or worried in dangerous situations. Stress and anxiety trigger our bodies to release hormones that help us react quickly to escape harm. But if you have chronic anxiety, you might feel stress or worry all the time. You may feel fearful of everyday situations like driving to work or even falling asleep.

    Chronically high levels of these hormones, especially before sleep, can make it hard for your body to relax. You may have difficulty falling asleep. If you do fall asleep, you may wake up during the night with stressful or worrisome thoughts and not be able to fall asleep again.

    The combination of a anxiety and insomnia can also be caused by a condition where there isnt enough thyroid hormone in your bloodstream and your metabolism slows down .

    Research suggests that anxiety can affect rapid eye movement sleep. This is the phase of sleep when you tend to have vivid dreams. If you have anxiety, the dreams may be disturbing or turn into nightmares that wake you.

    Just as anxiety can affect sleep, sleep can affect anxiety. Sleep anxiety is a common characteristic of insomnia, wherein the individual begins to experience anxiety during the day and evening about poor sleep, which may help cause another night of bad sleep.

    How To Manage Anxiety The Natural Way

    Another morning comes and you wake up feeling exhausted. Events occur throughout the day that leave you feeling drained. Difficult situations fail to get easier, leading to worry. People once again fail to understand that you are facing internal struggles on top of the external pressures around you, and another day passes where nothing gets better. Many people struggle with stress and anxiety on a regular basis. Unfortunately, very few people know how to manage anxiety and the symptoms it causes. As events in the world grow more and more worrisome, an increasingly larger number of people suffer from stress-related issues such as insufficient sleep, agitation, changes in appetite, and other health issues. Fortunately, you can learn how to manage anxiety. Furthermore, there are natural ways you can manage stress in your daily life to decrease anxiety levels. This will help to allow people to enjoy life to the fullest extent.

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    Tips For Reducing Stress At Bedtime

    Occasional stress at bedtime is inevitable. Having a plan for coping with stress can help you prevent stress from interfering with your sleep. Here are tips for learning to recognize the signs of stress and combating stress at bedtime:

    Although stress can certainly interfere with getting a good nights sleep, it doesnt have to take control of your life. Understanding the bodys stress response and making a plan for managing stress can help you regain control and improve your rest.

    Sleep Anxiety Complications And Related Conditions

    How To Get A Good Nights Sleep | Tips To Manage Insomnia

    Sleep anxiety goes hand-in-hand with trouble sleeping. If you are finding it hard to sleep or stay asleep, your insomnia can cause you further complications through a lack of sufficient quality sleep.

    This goes beyond tiredness. Sleeplessness can lead to difficulties in concentrating and performing at work, an increased risk of injury and motor vehicle crashes, and various health problems.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies a short sleep duration as adults getting less than seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour cycle.

    In fact, a third of American adults are not getting the recommended amount of sleep.

    If you are getting insufficient sleep long-term, the CDC has shown that this can be associated with the development of chronic diseases and moreover difficulty in managing these chronic diseases.

    Conditions related to long-term sleep anxiety/insomnia include:

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    Take The Pressure Off Sleep

    As mentioned, when losing sleep becomes a regular occurrence, bedtime itself can become stressful. If you’ve reached this point, there are a few things you can do to take the stress off insomnia.

    First, if you’re having trouble sleeping, you might want to get up and do something after a few minutes, when you’re sure that sleep is a long way off.

    It’s also a good idea to use your bedroom primarily for sleep so that you associate your bed and your bedroom with sleep and not stress. Think of getting up and reading a book, getting things done around the house, and doing other not-too-stimulating activities that can help foster sleep when you’re ready. Also, avoid caffeine during the afternoon and evening.

    Learning How To Manage Anxiety Can Give You Hope

    Although it may seem like all hope is lost, there are always many different options available to someone struggling with anxiety. Keep an eye out for signs that your body is trying to tell you that anxiety is affecting your well-being. These signs might include a sudden increase in appetite and nervous eating, or a loss of appetite and nausea. Random sores on the mouth or other parts of the body can also be a negative reaction to stress. There are many signs and symptoms of anxiety, both physical and mental, but none that cannot be treated and helped. Anxiety should never be faced alone. Talk to someone you trust and learn to listen to what your body is trying to tell you. It can help you face stress with a smile and live life to the fullest.

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    Which Comes First Does Anxiety Cause Insomnia

    So, does anxiety cause insomnia? Or does insomnia cause anxiety? Well it could be either. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association ofAmerica, anxiety can cause sleep problems and sleep deprivation can also lead to an anxiety disorder.

    A 2012 review of studies found that psychiatric disorders can impact sleep. Sleep problems are often present or influenced by psychiatric disorders. In the case of anxiety, chronic insomnia may also increase your chances of developing an anxiety disorder.

    Another review of studies found that brain activity after periods of sleep deprivation is similar to brain activity in anxiety disorders. More specifically, your brains fight-or-flight response turns on when you havent slept enough.

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