Generalized Anxiety Disorder Sleep Problems
Are you prone to constantly overthinking the smallest details, staying up late worrying, and easily getting upset? Then theres a good chance that you are suffering from generalized anxiety disorder sleep problems and in dire need of tips on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety.
People suffering from generalized anxiety disorder sleep problems, experience a high level of worry, tension, and apprehension for little or no reason at all.
Symptoms of Generalized anxiety disorder sleep problems include:
Being easily irritated or upset. Difficulties in controlling thoughts and feelings of worry and fear. Difficulties in concentrating and remembering things. Getting easily fatigued. Constantly feeling restless, uneasy, or fearful. Having difficulties with sleeping on time, staying asleep, and thinking in the middle of the night. Feeling tired even after sleeping.
If youre suffering from generalized anxiety disorder sleep problems, you are more liable to get depressed, and this will impact your lifestyle negatively. But dont worry, these pro tips on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety are sure to get you back on the right track.
Why Is It So Hard To Sleep When You Have Anxiety
Lets start with a little about how sleep works.
Sleep happens by balancing two forces that oppose each other. The first force is called sleep pressure. Basically, the longer you are up, the stronger this force becomes. If you are up for 16 hours, youll be tired. After 24 hours of being awake, sleep is more likely. And after 72 hours, it becomes difficult to stay awake.
The second force resists sleep pressure by pushing you awake. This force is an alerting signal that cycles based on an internal clock. It gets stronger as the day progresses and then is supposed to drop off at night. When this force drops in the evening, all the sleep pressure you built up during the day pushes you to sleep.
So how does anxiety affect this? The alerting signal force runs off many of the same neurochemicals anxiety uses. This is likely a great adaptive trait that aided our survival in the past. Imagine you were being chased by a pack of wolves. That would be a really bad time to go to sleep. Anytime you feel anxious, worried or threatened, the alerting signal gets stronger. Its your brains way of saying, If this is a threat, you should stay awake and deal with it.
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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Ways To Treat Anxiety And Insomnia
Now that weve covered the various anxiety disorders that may be fueling your insomnia, its time to learn how to treat insomnia due to anxiety.
There are many methods on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety. This guide covers the natural remedies for insomnia and anxiety, foods that help you stay asleep, relaxation techniques for sleep anxiety, and the best antidepressants that aid sleep. Below are possible ways to treat anxiety and insomnia.
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.
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Why Therapy For Sleep Disorders And Not Medication
When youre desperate for sleep, it can be tempting to reach for a sleeping pill or an over-the-counter sleep aid. But sleep medication wont cure the problem or address the underlying symptomsin fact, it can often make sleep problems worse in the long term. Thats not to say theres never a time or a place for sleep medication. To avoid dependence and tolerance, though, sleeping pills are most effective when used sparingly for short-term situationssuch as traveling across time zones or recovering from a medical procedure. Even if your sleep disorder requires the use of prescription medication, experts recommend combining a drug regimen with therapy and healthy lifestyle changes.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can improve your sleep by changing your behavior before bedtime as well as changing the ways of thinking that keep you from falling asleep. It also focuses on improving relaxation skills and changing lifestyle habits that impact your sleeping patterns. Since sleep disorders can be both caused by and trigger emotional health problems such as anxiety, stress, and depression, therapy is an effective way of treating the underlying problem rather than just the symptoms, helping you develop healthy sleeping patterns for life.
Practice & Maintain Sleeping Schedule
- Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy & wise. This is more than a saying.
- Creating a waking & sleeping routine & practising it regularly will have an incredibly positive effect on your health. You wont just get rid of anxiety disorder and sleeplessness but can also make your day happier & organized.
- Once you start practising the routine, your natural clock adjusts your internal clock & circadian rhythm. Slowly, youll start waking up the same time daily & will feel sleepy & ready for bed around the same time.
Voila! Youve found your cure.
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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 Is Sleep Anxiety & How It Happens
Sleep anxiety is sleeplessness experienced by people due to a stressed mind. Less frequent sleep anxiety can be waivered, but often sleeplessness causes troubles. Do you know? Anxiety Disorders are common among 40 Million Americans & is so one of the most common mental illness in the USA.
When you feel sleep anxiety, the brain perceives it as dangerous signals. Most Americans suffer from acute, recurring, and overpowering anxiety that later develops into an anxiety disorder.
Let us tell you that anxiety disorder is caused by certain phobias. You can say that it is the stress that brews up in everyday life due to one or other reasons. As a result, the brain floods your body with adrenaline that, in turn, causes increased heart rate, shortened breath, or distraction of mind.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Insomnia
Sleep is something thats quintessential for the human body. It relaxes, recharges, and refreshes our mind & body. When your body suffers from the dual attack of sleep anxiety & disorder, here are some side-effects that show up:
How Can I Stop Sleep Anxiety
Generally, the same tips for improving sleep hygiene also apply to those who have sleep anxiety. These recommendations range from keeping a set bedtime and wakeup time throughout the week to meditation and mindfulness. The expectations and routines that you have surrounding sleep are important because somniphobia is, in part, a psychological issue.
That is why cognitive behavioral therapy is an especially effective treatment for somniphobia.
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Anxiety Stress And Insomnia Are Closely Related
When it comes to anxiety and sleep, there’s a bit of chicken and egg situation: it’s hard to know which problem came first.;
However, research has found that insomnia and stress are closely related. Studies have shown that stress causes lack of sleep, and that lack of sleep, in turn, “activates many stress-related pathways” in the brain.;
Because of this, treating one condition can help with the other. According to Mendez, getting enough sleep is part of an overall care plan for managing anxiety, with or without a formal diagnosis. On the other hand, for people with anxiety disorders, treatment with medication and therapy can help address sleep issues.;
“If you’ve tried all these practical, non-invasive strategies, there is no crime in seeking out medical help,” Mendez says.;
Fears Related To Sleep Apnea
Still others are fretful about sleep because they have health conditions. People who have sleep apnea for example, sometimes fear that theyâll stop breathing in their sleep.
âOnce the apnea is under control, people sleep better knowing theyâre not waking up multiple times a night,â Harris says.
So what can you do to eliminate the fear of sleep? Hereâs what experts suggest:
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Treatment Of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can be successfully treated. The most common form of treatment is a combination of drug therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy .
Because most anxiety disorders have some biological basis, the most common drugs prescribed are anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs.
CBT involves helping people to turn their anxious thoughts and feelings into more rational ones. Sometimes people will benefit from being exposed in a controlled way to the object and situation they fear. Some CBT techniques have been developed to deal with specific disorders. For example, people with panic disorder can benefit from learning new breathing and meditation techniques, which can help them deal with their anxiety.
Support groups and learning more about the disorder can also help a great many people deal with anxiety disorders. Involving family and friends who are also affected by the disorder, can help people recover or learn how to cope with their condition.
The most important first step in treatment is to get a proper diagnosis from a specialist in anxiety disorders. Many people suffer for 10 years or more before getting the right treatment.
Natural Remedies For Anxiety
Natural remedies for anxiety are those that donât involve conventional medications . They include things such as herbs, aromatherapy, and performing certain actions that promote relaxation. Some people with anxiety use natural remedies alongside conventional treatments to find relief.Â;
Examples of natural remedies for anxiety include:
Exercise isnât just good for your physical health; itâs also beneficial for your mental health. While the connection isnât well understood, studies do show that exercise can help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
Getting active helps to take your mind off of the issues bothering you. It also triggers your body to release endorphins, which are natural feel-good hormones. Â;
Several different herbs and herbal supplements may help alleviate anxiety symptoms, helping you to relax and feel calmer. Some of the more well-known varieties include:
Studies show that chamomile can help with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. While many of the studies on herbal supplements for anxiety are limited, the results are promising.
You can find many of these supplements in capsule form. Many people also drink herbal teas to help them relax.Â;
Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils to improve health and overall well-being. Many scents can help to boost your mood, help you relax, and reduce anxiety.Â;
Scents to use for anxiety include:
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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.
Can Insomnia Also Cause Anxiety
Yes, it can. If you have insomnia, you may become anxious about your lack of sleep. One study on teenagers found that sleep problems started before their anxiety disorders almost a third of the time.;
Researchers have also found that the brains of people who havent slept well look very similar to the brains of people with anxiety disorders. The sleep-deprived brain produces more stress hormones like cortisol, which can make you feel more on edge.
So, insomnia can come before anxiety disorders or make the symptoms of anxiety disorders worse. The two can also feed off each other. If you have enough sleepless nights over time, you may start to worry that you wont ever get good sleep, which can lead to more anxiety and more insomnia.;
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Sleep Issues Common To Social Anxiety Disorder
When people have social anxiety disorder, they often develop insomnia. They lie in bed, worrying about how they performed socially that day and whether they embarrassed themselves, as well as dreading their social performance the following day. Their thoughts are often cyclical and feel uncontrollable, preventing sleep and making bedtime a restless experience. Worse, the chronic lack of sleep from anxiety-induced insomnia worsens their anticipatory anxiety of upcoming social events.
Besides having a tougher time falling asleep, people with social anxiety disorder also worry that others will perceive their lack of sleep and judge them for it. This increases their distress during social situations and adds to the anxiety that keeps them up at night.
Studies show that individuals with SAD have a tougher time falling asleep, experience more interruptions during sleep, and lower sleep quality overall. As a result, their daytime functioning is impaired.
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
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What Tests Help Confirm A Sleep Anxiety Diagnosis
In some cases, your provider may do a sleep study to find out if you have a sleep disorder. Also called polysomnography, a sleep study is a test where you stay overnight in a sleep lab. Your healthcare provider evaluates how your body works during sleep by checking your:
- Blood oxygen levels.
- Snoring or other noises you make during sleep.
Simple Ways To Help Insomnia
While theres no one magic trick for getting the deep sleep your mind and body need, following a few simple tips can help you get good rest.
If youve found yourself unable to sleep after 20 minutes, try again, advises Dr. Fareed. Get up for a few minutes and read or sit quietly until you feel sleepy. Then go back to bed.
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