How To Minimize Anxiety And Maximize Sleep
To get to sleep more easily, you can try changing some of your pre-sleep habits to decrease your mental and physical stress levels. Habit-changing takes time and persistence, but if you stick to these changes, you will find yourself adapting and feeling less anxious overall in no time.
Avoiding the anxiety that keeps you from getting the sleep you need can be difficult, but following the above all-natural and healthy techniques may be all that you require taking back control over your sleep schedule.
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Transform Your Room Into A Sanctuary For Sleep
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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.
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Sleepless Nights Try Stress Relief Techniques
In a recent national survey, 44 percent of adults said stress had causedsleepless nights at least once in the previous month. All that tossing,turning and staring at the ceiling can leave you feeling tired andmore stressed the next day. If youre caught in this vicious cycle ofanxiety and insomnia, theres good news: Simple stress relief techniquescan help you sleep better and feel calmer.
How To Sleep With Anxiety
However, there are ways to get a good night’s sleep even if you are dealing with anxiety, Mendez says. Here’s how:
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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.
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.
What Causes Anxiety Attacks At Night
People who suffer from anxiety disorders, are usually more likely to suffer from problems with their sleep. Sleep issues are a natural side-effect of the increased heart rate and rapid breathing that comes from feelings of anxiety.
According to studies, up to 36% of people with insomnia suffer from an anxiety disorder too. People prone to anxiety will also be more likely to experience a sleep anxiety attack, as theyll start to worry about what their lack of sleep means for their health.
Here are some of the most common causes of anxiety at night:
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What Does Anxiety Feel Like
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.
Causes Of Insomnia: Figuring Out Why You Cant Sleep
In order to properly treat and cure your insomnia, you need to become a sleep detective. Emotional issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression cause half of all insomnia cases. But your daytime habits, sleep routine, and physical health may also play a role. Try to identify all possible causes of your insomnia. Once you figure out the root cause, you can tailor treatment accordingly.
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Reason #: Poor Sleep Cycle
According to Lawson, insomnia and anxiety share a strong relationship, meaning sleep problems or insomnia can cause anxiety and vice versa.
If youve always been anxious or struggled to fall asleep, you may have developed a pattern of poor or interrupted sleep. This makes your body most susceptible to stress and insomnia. Types of Anxiety Disorders
Research also shows that sleep disorders occur in almost all psychiatric and anxiety disorders. Some of these include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder: Worry over everyday events, making it difficult to relax.
- Social anxiety disorder: The anticipation of social situations can often prevent sleep at night.
- Compulsive-obsessive disorder: Research suggests that intrusive thoughts and fears can keep people up when theyre trying to fall asleep.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: The constant re-experiencing of traumatic events can induce nightmares and rob people of sleep.
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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How Can Medication Treat Sleep Anxiety
Your healthcare provider may recommend medication to treat anxiety or other mental health disorders. Medication can also help improve the symptoms of sleep-related disorders such as restless legs syndrome or insomnia.
But some medications might actually increase your anxiety or make sleeping harder when you first start taking them. If you experience these side effects, talk to your healthcare provider. Many over-the-counter sleep aids can also be habit-forming. Dont start any medication for anxiety or sleep without your healthcare providers supervision.
Anxiety And Sleep Deprivation: The Dangerous Cycle
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association in America, anxiety is a side-effect or reaction to stress. It can appear in a number of different ways, from physical changes in blood pressure to anxious thoughts and feelings of tension.
Though anxiety may not make you feel great its not a bad thing. Like physical pain, feelings of anxiety are intended to warn the body and mind that something is potentially dangerous.
Some short-term issues with stress can also draw your attention to things in your life that you need to correct. For instance, if youre always anxious about going to work, maybe you need to look for a new job?
Sleep anxiety, on the other hand, is a disorder. Youre feeling nerves, when you shouldnt be. This anxiety isnt protecting you from anything. Its just stopping you from falling asleep, which isnt good for anyone.
Unfortunately, anxiety and sleep deprivation are issues that go hand-in-hand more often than youd think. The National Institute of Mental health suggests that over 40 million people in the US alone suffer from some manner of anxiety that affects their sleeping.
Doctors have begun to describe sleep disorders and anxiety as comorbid concepts. In other words, they both feed each other. The less you sleep the more anxious you feel, the more anxious you feel, the less you sleep.
There are many answers to the question what causes anxiety attacks at night?
The good news?
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Common Psychological And Medical Causes Of Insomnia
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.
How To Fall Asleep In 5 Mins
If anxiety or disrupted sleep crops up, there are numerous strategies that may help us to relax our body and mind, to get the sleep that one needs
Turns out, there are some unconventional tactics that will help us get that perfect sleep, and will help us sleep like a baby, in no time.
1- Do The Breathing Exercise
This breathing exercise is also called the 478 methods, and is one of the most effective techniques as it helps regulate our nervous system.
- Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- Breathe out through your mouth slowly for 8 seconds.
- Repeat this process until you fall asleep.
2- Roll Your Eyes Backward
You can simulate the eye movement you experience in sleep by rolling your eyes upwards and back. If you do this continuously three times, you will automatically feel yourself going into deeper relaxation, and hence, fall asleep in under 5 minutes in no time.
Use the power of your mind to focus on images that will help calm you. Imagine things that bring you peace and content. Think of an environment that brings you solace, and imagine you are in that environment. Try using all three of your senses. For example, imagine you are standing alone in front of the sea. Imagine the cool breeze across your face. Feel the cold water running against your feet. Listen to the calm and relaxing sounds of the water coming to the shore.
4- Pretend You are Lethargic, Totally Drained of Energy and Tired
5- Hypnotize Yourself
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Falling Asleep With Anxiety
Worries keeping you up at night? Anxiety and sleep problems can feed off each other, but practicing relaxation and sound sleep habits can stop the cycle.
Does your mind race as soon your head hits the pillow? Does anxiety over work, money, or relationships keep you from going to sleep?
Its normal to be anxious from time to time. But when anxiety and emotional problems routinely get in the way of a good nights sleep, its time to take action before a potentially dangerous cycle begins.
Its really like a circular pattern — emotional problems can affect sleep, and lack of sleep can affect peoples emotions, said David Neubauer, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins Medicine and associate director at the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center in Baltimore, Md. There is quite a bit of overlap between symptoms of insomnia and anxiety and other mood disorders.
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?
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Do A Bedroom Makeover
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.
What Really Works When You’re Too Anxious To Fall Asleep
Senior Wellness & Travel Editor, HuffPost
Why is it that just when our heads hit the pillow our thoughts take off in a sprint?
Our brains have this annoying tendency to ruminate on worst-case scenarios and other negative reflections at night — and all that worry is seriously disrupting our ability to fall asleep.
“Anxiety is an emotion that actually wakes us up,” Steve Orma, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and author of Stop Worrying and Go to Sleep: How to Put Insomnia to Bed for Good, tells The Huffington Post. “There are all kinds of physical changes happening that ramp you up, which is the exact opposite state of what you need to be in when you’re trying to fall asleep.”
The good news is that since anxiety is often triggered by our own thinking, we also have the ability to think our way to better sleep, Orma says. Below are some tips to help you banish that anxiety so you can drift off to dreamland faster — no sleeping pill required.
Identify what you’re worried about.
Dissecting the source of your anxiety is the first important step to banishing it, Orma says. If you’re suffering from insomnia, you’re likely feeling anxious about sleep if you’re suffering from general anxiety, you’re likely unable to drift off because your thoughts are preoccupied with other stressors.
Get out of bed.
Address what’s on your mind.
Research suggests that putting our worries into something tangible and physically throwing them away can help clear our mind of negative thoughts.
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