Anxiety and sleep problems often go hand in hand. If you’re struggling with anxiety, it can be tough to relax and fall asleep at night. And if you’re having trouble sleeping, that can lead to more anxiety the next day.
Anxiety disorder can be challenging to manage, and when left untreated, it can lead to sleep deprivation. If you’re looking for ways to calm your anxiety and get a good night’s sleep, you’re in the right place.
Fortunately, you can do a few things to calm your anxious mind and get better sleep.
In this post, we’ll discuss some tips that can help you get on the road to recovery from your sleep disorder. Keep reading for more information about how to sleep better at night even when you have chronic insomnia and sleep anxiety.
How do anxiety disorders affect sleep?
It’s no surprise that if you’re anxious, you’ll have trouble sleeping which also causes sleep apnea.
Anxiety often causes people to experience distressing thoughts, making it hard for them to relax at night and fall asleep. And these same thoughts might also pop up when you’re trying to sleep, making it even more difficult to relax enough to drift off.
People who experience anxiety also tend to experience more stress and physical discomfort, making it hard for them to sleep and causing sleep disorders. Plus, the fatigue of not sleeping enough can contribute to even more anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorders can even affect your biological clock, interfering with your ability to fall asleep at night and stay awake during the day. It can also lead to disrupted sleep, making it harder for you to get the restorative rest you need.
On top of that, chronic sleep anxiety can wear and tear on your body and mind (literally), making it hard for you to stay healthy and rested.
Are anxiety and sleep deprivation linked?
Not getting enough sleep can lead to a lot of problems, and it can undoubtedly cause you to feel anxious.
Mental health professionals at WebMD say when you don’t get the sleep that your body needs, you might experience:
Increased anxiety, fatigue, irritability, concentration problems, memory loss, depression (in extreme cases), social isolation, sleep anxiety, and poor sleep.
In fact, feeling fatigued can even lead to self-destructive behaviors, including alcohol or drug abuse.
One study found that sleep deprivation caused the same brain activity as in people who experience anxiety. When you don’t get enough sleep, your sympathetic nervous system kicks into high gear, leading to more feelings of stress.
These factors make it easy to see how sleep deprivation can cause anxiety.
What happens when anxiety interrupts sleep?
If you have anxiety, you know how hard it can be to relax enough to fall asleep at night. When you feel anxious or stressed, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline. These stress hormones are designed to give you an energy boost when needed.
And unfortunately, these same hormones make it more difficult for you to shut down and relax at night.
It can also be challenging to fall back asleep if you’ve woken up from a nightmare night terror or panic attacks. This is because the brain’s memory function doesn’t distinguish between remembering random thoughts and remembering scary or upsetting things that have happened.
For people who suffer from PTSD, this effect is even more pronounced. You might find it particularly hard to fall back asleep after an anxiety attack if you have anxiety.
How Can I Calm My Anxiety and Sleep Better?
As we mentioned above, sleep anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses. You can do several things to calm your anxious mind and adopt better sleep habits at night.
Some of the relaxation techniques to manage sleep disruption and nighttime anxiety are mentioned below:
1. Try exercise.
If you face difficulty falling asleep, try some exercise before you go to bed. Studies show that regular exercise can help reduce anxiety in general, making it perfect for helping you sleep. Sleeping problems can cause generalized anxiety disorder and mental health problems.
2. Practice meditation.
Meditation is a natural way to relax your mind and body, leading to reduced anxiety and better sleep quality. Meditation has even been proven to help fight insomnia, so it’s perfect for nighttime! Meditation will help you with a good night’s rest and calm anxiety. If you have a social anxiety disorder or extreme fear of sleep, mediation will help you with sleep hygiene and sleep anxiety. Try a free meditation class with Breathefy.
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3. Create an evening ritual that helps you unwind at night.
Creating a consistent bedtime routine will help you wind down at night, leading to peaceful sleep. Avoid stimulating activities before bedtime, like stressful work or arguing with your spouse.
4. Incorporate relaxation techniques into your evening ritual.
Meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation are great ways to calm yourself at night. Take it slow if these techniques feel overwhelming, and start by practicing them for just a few minutes at a time.
5. Avoid stimulants close to bedtime.
Avoid caffeine and other stimulants in the evening, as they might interfere with your ability to fall asleep — even if you feel tired! You should also eliminate alcohol from your nighttime routine or limit yourself to one to two drinks per day, depending on your body and tolerance.
What to do if you can’t sleep because of anxiety?
If you have anxiety, the best thing you can do for yourself is getting treatment.
Medication and counseling are both great options that can help you get your anxiety under control to get more restful sleep at night.
Many people find they need a combination of medication and therapy to effectively manage their anxiety disorder, and that combination can help them sleep better.
You should also avoid taking naps during the day and try to spend some time outside in natural light. This will help keep your internal clock on a regular rhythm, making you feel sleepy when it’s bedtime.
Sleep is one of the most important things you need to function properly. You must learn how to control your stress and anxiety levels because they can affect your sleep. If you cannot do this on your own, talk with someone who understands. A support network is extremely important for people suffering from anxiety, so be sure to reach out if you need help!
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can increase anxiety, making it difficult to relax and fall asleep. You can do several things to calm your anxious mind and promote better sleep hygiene, such as exercise, meditation, relaxation techniques, and avoiding stimulants before bedtime.