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How To Sleep When You Have Anxiety

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What Happens When Anxiety Interrupts Sleep

Anxiety : How to Sleep With Severe Anxiety

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.

Unplug From All Devices

You check your social media notifications one more time, you check your work email to find out if you have gotten an answer to the mail you sent earlier but it should not be done when you are on bed. This can cause more anxiety and contribute to lack of sleep

I am also guilty, so we are in this together but we need to tell ourselves the truth.

Our devices, computer, phone tablet etc emit blue light. light suppresses the natural body hormone -melatonin levels in the blood that helps us to sleep.

Keep your devices away and the quality of your sleep will be improved.

When To See A Doctor

Constant anxiety that makes it difficult to sleep at night can affect your daily quality of life. Your work or school performance may worsen, and you may find it hard to complete your normal daily tasks.

If anxiety and lack of sleep are affecting your life in this way, its important to reach out to a doctor or mental health specialist for help.

For some people, nighttime anxiety can lead to insomnia. Insomnia is defined as persistent trouble falling or staying asleep. Chronic insomnia can have negative health effects, including an increased risk of:

  • health conditions, such as high blood pressure and a weakened immune system
  • mental health conditions, such as depression
  • accidents

Whether your doctor makes a diagnosis of anxiety, insomnia, or both, reaching out is the first step in the treatment process.

Also Check: Can Sleep Deprivation Cause Depression

Teapigs Snooze Sleepy Tea

Everyone has heard that chamomile tea can help you sleep. Why? Well, its commonly called a mild tranquilizer and has an antioxidant called apigenin, which binds to specific receptors in your brain that may decrease anxiety and help make you sleepy.

This sleepy tea takes chamomile up a notch by also adding in lavender, another ingredient that has been used for centuries to help calm nerves. The tea is also naturally caffeine free and, well, its simply delicious.

Lack Of Sleep And Weight Gain

How To Get Sleep When You Have Anxiety

When you get into a rhythm of constant sleep deprivation, the body reacts by changing the release of appetite- and hunger-regulating hormones: leptin goes down while ghrelin goes up.

Furthermore, studies have shown that when sleep-deprived weâre much more likely to have sugar cravings and make poor food choices like fatty/fried foods/junk food that weâd usually avoid.

Combine that with just being plainly exhausted and lacking energy, itâs obvious that working out or any other physical activity isnât even on the table anymore.

And yes, even our sex drive goes way down which, of course, leads to intimacy problems.

You can see how a lack of quality sleep is a recipe for a miserable and sneaky weight gain.

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Address Your Worries During The Day

Katy asked Dr. Farrell-Carnahan the following question: I have a really hard time shutting my brain off to fall asleep. How can I get over this to fall asleep better?

First off, I feel this deep in my soul. Second, Dr. Farrell-Carnahans answer isnt completely surprising to me, although it is definitely something I need to put into practice in my own life.

She explains that you should set aside time during the DAY to write out your worries and fears. While you are at it, you should also generate some solutions, if you can, to your worries.

It is advisable to set aside this time during the day or prior to winding down for the evening.

Dr. Leah Farrell-Carnahan

Dont Become Fixated On A Specific Bed Time

This tip closely follows #1. Dr. Farrell-Carnahan notes that people tend to get fixated on bed times, probably because parents aim to get kids into bed at a specific time.

It turns out that, when you are having difficulty falling asleep, in general, a consistent bedtime is less important than a consistent wake time.

Dr. Leah Farrell-Carnahan

Dr. Farrell-Carnahan suggests setting an alarm for the same time every day and getting out of bed at that time, or within a few minutes of it. Dont play the snooze game, either.

That way your circadian rhythm will begin to regulate, and you will notice that you will be more likely to get sleepy around the same time at night.

Of course, this is as long as you are providing yourself a nice, long wind down time where you allow your mind to quiet, your body to calm itself, and your whole self time to prepare for sleepiness to come.

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Spend Time In Bed Before Going To Sleep

Some people just lay down in bed at night and are out within mere moments. If youre not one of those lucky people which youre probably not because you are reading this post then it can be hard to just lay down and expect to go to sleep. Try spending 15 minutes or so in bed before you try to go to sleep. Make sure that you are doing something just to unwind like reading, journaling, or some light pillow talk.

Keep Consistent Sleep Hours

Do You Have Insomnia or Sleep Anxiety? Basic Sleep Hygiene | #PaigePradko, #Insomnia, #sleepanxiety

To keep your body in a regular cycle of sleep, it’s important to stay consistent with your sleep hours. That means trying to go to bed at night and wake up in the morning around the same time every day. Your body will become used to the sleep schedule you set, helping you more easily fall and stay asleep throughout the night.

Many people find it difficult to maintain routine sleep hours over the weekend. However, if you’re always having irregular sleep hours on the weekends, you’re setting yourself up to have sleep issues throughout the week. Shifting your wake and sleep times an hour or two shouldnt completely throw your sleep schedule off for the rest of the week. But if you’re committed to getting better and more consistent rest, you’ll need to keep your hours as stable as possible.

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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.

Get Out Of Bed When You Feel Restless

This one might feel contrary to what youd assume were good sleeping practices, but if you are feeling restless while trying to fall asleep, Dr. Farrell-Carnahan actually recommends getting out of bed.

She describes this feeling as being tired but wired, which is different from that nodding off/sleepy feeling you get when you are truly ready to fall asleep.

This advice goes for those of us who wake up in the middle of the night and cant fall back asleep. Dr. Farrell-Carnahan recommends getting out of bed if you wake up in the middle of the night and are restless.

Go to a dimly lit room and do something that holds your attention but isnt particularly activating. You could do a crossword puzzle, read a book, organize a junk drawer, write thank you notes, do a guided meditation, etc. Once you get sleepy, you can return to bed and try again. Repeat as necessary.

The way to prevent and cure this trap is to just not spend any time in your bed while restless. I would take it a step further and not do anything in your bed or bedroom besides sleep and sex. So, no folding laundry, no TV, no work, no studying. That is the gold standard. Do what you can with it.

Dr. Leah Farrell-Carnahan

There you have it! Your bed is for sleep and sex and nothing else. Get out of it when you feel restless!

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How Is Sleep Anxiety Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider performs a physical exam, reviews your medical history and evaluates your symptoms. They may ask you questions like:

  • Do you eat or drink anything before bed?
  • Does your anxiety always occur before bed?
  • How long does it take you to fall asleep?
  • How often do you wake up during the night?
  • What activities do you do before bed?

Read But Not On Your Phone

How To Know If You Have Sleep Anxiety

Getting lost a book is beneficial for many reasons, and it can be pivotal to sleep health.

Reading is a great way to quiet your mind and distract yourself from any anxious thoughts that might creep up at night. When you are engaged in a story, your thoughts are in the moment, instead of worrying about the future, says Dr. Sal Raichbach, a licensed clinical social worker at Ambrosia Treatment Center. On the other hand, the blue light emitted from cell phones does the opposite. Even if you turn down the brightness, blue light from LED screens interferes with the production of essential brain chemicals like melatonin that tell your body it’s time for bed.

Pick up a real book, and I recommend from extensive experience with insomnia, that you pick the densest, dullest tome in your collection.

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Keep The Bedroom Chilled And Completely Dark

We may want to consider keeping our bedroom just a tad cooler than we like, and leaving any nightstand lights off.

Ensure your bedroom is quiet, comfortable, ventilated, dark and cool, says Elaine Slater, a psychologist and psychotherapeutic counselor. Even a small amount of light in your bedroom can disrupt the production of melatonin and overall sleep.

Turn Down The Noise In Your Head For A More Restful Night

As you tuck into bed at night, do the thoughts in your brain refuse to slow down when you turn off the lights? Instead of winding down, its a wave of worries about everything from paying your credit card bill on time to an upcoming meeting with your boss. That non-stop chatter about what might occur tomorrow is a sign of anxiety and, for many, its a serious roadblock to getting a good nights sleep.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the number of people struggling with anxiety is staggering. Anxiety has become the number one mental health issue in North America, affecting approximately 40 million Americans . Some estimates put this number higher at around 30% since many people with anxiety dont know they have it or dont seek treatment.

Simply put, its a national epidemic.

When it comes to sleep, anxiety is a key part of a toxic cycle because it makes getting to sleep and staying asleep difficult. Whats more, it becomes a source of worry itself, worsening the original anxiety a chicken-and-egg problem. Did the anxiety cause poor sleep or did poor sleep cause anxiety? One feeds the other, experts say.

The bad news is that even as you manage to nod off, your anxiety is still active. While we sleep, our mind is still active and maybe processing information, she says. If we dont take time throughout the day to process information and to unwind, then stress/anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.

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How To Fall Asleep With Anxiety: 23 Proven Mind Tricks

One of the leading causes of major sleeping disorders, like insomnia, are anxiety disorders. The prevalence of cases in which sleeplessness was associated with anxiety are numerous and oftentimes accompanied by phobias, panic disorders, and traumatic stress disorder.

Therefore, people who have anxiety also have a hard time falling and staying asleep.

Many people even develop sleep anxiety, which further affects their sleep pattern and sleep quality. The deal with sleep and anxiety is that both affect each other sleeplessness makes you anxious about not being able to fall asleep, and anxiety itself causes you not to fall asleep in the first place.

So, in the following paragraphs, were going to take a look at the best ways you can fall and stay asleep, even if you have anxiety.

But, before we begin, we need to point out that in order to take any advice from the Internet, you first need to consult the recommendations with your designated doctor.

Your doctor will see how these recommendations fit your therapy plan and whether they could help better your sleep.

Avoid Lying In Bed Awake

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

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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How To Sleep Better At Night With Anxiety: Consider Anxiety Therapy

Anxiety therapy is a great option to explore when you feel stuck in what to do next with your anxiety. You have identified what is causing your anxiety to keep you up at night, and you already try to incorporate as much self care as possible. Now, you are stuck at a crossroads. What could I possibly do next?

Its best to start thinking about starting anxiety therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based, effective form of anxiety treatment that is commonly used among therapists. Cognitive behavioral therapy is administered to examine your thoughts and thought processes to better understand why you may ruminate so much or think a certain way.

Connecting with an anxiety therapist is a great way to understand the severity of your anxiety problem and how it interferes with your sleeping schedule. It could be that you would benefit more from short term therapy, where you work with the therapist on direct, present issues. Or, you could hold long term therapy, where you continue to work with the therapist as more anxiety triggers or events come up that you could use support on.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Dr. Nikki Lacherza-Drew, licensed psychologist and owner of Vici Psychological Care, suggests engaging in proper sleep hygiene to help get better sleep. Lacherza-Drew says, If you have a routine and engage in appropriate sleep hygiene on a consistent basis, your mind will be less likely to go down the rabbit hole of anxious thoughts.

Sleep hygiene refers to various habits that are necessary for good sleep quality. To practice good sleep hygiene, Lacherza-Drew suggests:

  • No major physical activity or heavy meals close to bedtime
  • No caffeine or alcohol near bedtime or after a certain time in the afternoon

Other easy ways to practice good sleep hygiene include:

  • Soaking up the morning sun
  • Limiting power naps to 20 minutes
  • Keeping your bedroom dark and cool
  • Following a consistent bedtime routine

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Anxiety And Insomnia Basics

If you struggle to fall asleep due to anxiety, youre certainly not alone. An estimated 19.1 percent of American adults dealt with anxiety disorders in the past year, and more than 35 percent of all adults have been affected by short sleep duration .

Anxiety can vary in severity. Types of anxiety and anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and specific phobias, such as intense fears that are linked to specific objects or situations.

While its normal to feel anxious from time to time, chronic, severe anxiety that occurs during the night can take a major toll on your ability to relax and sleep properly.

The exact symptoms of anxiety can vary from person to person. You might feel overly worried about the future, for example, which prevents you from relaxing.

Some people may experience physical anxiety symptoms such as an elevated heart rate and a spike in blood pressure.

When nighttime

anxiety causes you to experience insomnia, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Spending much of the night awake

  • Lying in bed for a long time before youre able to fall asleep

  • Sleep disturbances that cause you to wake up at night or early in the morning

  • Feeling tired and as if you havent slept right after you wake up

This guide on the symptoms of anxiety has more details about the mental and physical experiences you may incur if youre prone to anxiety.

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