Isn’t it just ironic that the minute you lay on the bed, millions of thoughts come rushing through your mind?
“Did I forget to include something in my presentation for tomorrow?”
“Should I have bought that beautiful dress I saw at the mall? It will be perfect for my date this Friday night!”
“I remember that one time I tripped in front of the whole class on the way to my seat. It was such an embarrassment!”
You know how it goes… One thought leads to another and by the time you take a look at the clock on your bedside table, it is already 2 AM.
Which Comes First: The Chicken Or The Egg?
By this time, it is hard to determine which is responsible for what. Are you unable to sleep due to anxiety or is it the other way around? Well, honestly, it can be both. Experts claim this situation can be bidirectional. Anxiety and stress can lead to sleep disorders or worsen the current ones. Meanwhile, if you are unable to get enough sleep, the anxiety disorder may develop.
The link between the two should not really come as a surprise. However, understanding the connection between anxiety and sleep might be the very thing you need to approach these problems differently, but with more success.
The Health Risks Of Anxiety And Sleep Disorders
It has been proven that sleep disruption is manifested in almost all psychiatric disorders. Most people who suffer from insomnia are prone to having the anxiety disorder in the future.
- Inadequate sleep leads to a lot of issues. Other than the expected tiredness, lack of sleep also has effects on everyday performance of tasks and the increased possibility of contracting diseases such as chronic pain, arrhythmia, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.
- Aside from the psychological effect of anxiety, people with sleep disorders also get shifty moods. Emotion regulation is a struggle for most people who lack sleep. Also, they find it difficult to recognize the emotions exhibited by the people they are talking to. This is very crucial in dealing with others and establishing the connection. Clouded judgment and moral misconduct are very typical when sleep deprived.
- Cognitive functions also become questionable. Difficulty recalling things and inability to focus are some of the most common complaints of insomniacs. Learning new things can be challenging for people without enough sleep. They just lack the attention span and energy to do so.
How To Deal With Anxiety And Sleep Problem
If you are tired but cannot sleep, lifestyle changes can serve as the treatment for sleep anxiety. Below are some techniques that can help relax your mind during the day to get a more sound sleep at night.
Taking control of your thoughts can go a long way. It does not only help you fall asleep easier at night, but it can help daily tasks and challenges be less stressful. A lot of people are intimidated by the concept of meditation, thinking that the whole point of doing it is to have zero thoughts. That is not true. With meditation, you get to silence your mind by taking charge of it. You get to dictate what to think about. So, opt for positive thoughts.
It is not that easy at first. Start slow. Just assign a couple of minutes (better if you do it first thing in the morning or before going to bed) to achieve the task. Most people can meditate for hours, but of course, you need to get comfortable with sitting down doing nothing first. It can get boring. Also, let us admit it, most people are not really at ease with having one on one with their thoughts.
You will notice that majority of the tips here is not just going to improve your mental health. Exercising is good for your overall well-being. Those who exercise regularly find it easier to doze off at night. You do not have to go all out with working out. Even minimal activities, like brisk walking, have proven to help people with insomnia. Yoga is one of the most calming exercises that clears the mind but also works up your entire body.
Learn To Unwind Before Bedtime.
Having a pre-bedtime routine is a good way to end the day. Slowing down your body and mind is one of the secrets on how to go to sleep when you have anxiety. Why? Because by devoting a few minutes of your time to listen to slow music or read a book, you signal your brain that it is time to get some rest. In the long run, having a routine reap the benefits of a steady schedule.
Do Not Deal With Stressful Tasks So Close To Bedtime.
Avoid addressing tasks that will only trigger your brain to think some more. For instance, do not participate in social media banter while laying in bed, waiting for the sandman to come along. This is what causes anxiety attacks in your sleep – not letting your mind be at peace.
Another technique to put your mind at ease before bedtime is to prepare a list of next day’s to-do. That way you are reassuring yourself that you will not be forgetting the most important tasks for the next day, instead of spiraling down the road of worries regarding what you might miss. Once you have written it down, relax and let it go.
Also, for some, writing down their distractions help them cope. Hold a ceremonious farewell to your worries once you close the notebook.
Come Up With Distractions During The Day.
Anxiety can be redirected. A lot of successful individuals will advise you to control how you think because it affects how you react. So, instead of feeling the stress, get yourself preoccupied with other things. Learn a new craft, find a hobby, or get involved in your community.
Try The “Tense Then Relax” Method.
There is a relaxation exercise where you squeeze your toes for a few seconds then release the tension afterward. Repeat a few times.
Create An Ambiance For Your Bedroom.
Your bedroom should not have the same environment as your workplace, so get rid of the gadgets. Make sure that it is dim, cool, quiet, and comfortable enough to catch some zzz’s.FYI: IMPORTANT QUESTIONS INVOLVING ANXIETY AND SLEEP
These questions cover the most relevant concerns between sleep and anxiety disorders.
How to go to sleep when you have the anxiety disorder?
Aside from the lifestyle changes cited above, here are a few steps you can take to prevent waking up in the middle of the night.
- Find your natural sleep cycle by experimenting with different bedtimes.
- Once you have found your cycle, stick by it. Even on weekends.
- Have a sleep journal to keep tabs on your sleep habit.
How to help someone with anxiety sleep disorder?
Is your child experiencing anxiety driven sleep disorder, here are a couple of ways you can lend a hand?
- Provide your child with a transitional object, such as a security blanket or a stuffed toy.
- Read a bedtime story to your child. Try reading a book about characters that have a hard time falling asleep. Knowing that they are not the only ones suffering from anxious feelings before bedtime is reassuring.
Is sleep paralysis linked to anxiety?
Sleep paralysis is kind of similar to having a nightmare on your way to regaining actual consciousness. It is like having hallucinations when you are half awake. It is called sleep paralysis because your mind is active and yet you cannot move your body. It is quite a scary experience if you ask me. Most of the hallucinations are very much like the ones from scary movies. Experts weighed in and the verdict is that sleep paralysis can be triggered by outside factors like stress, anxiety, and deep sadness. This usually strikes moments of grief.
What causes anxiety attacks in your sleep?
Nocturnal panic attacks can feel like waking up to a heart attack. The exact causes are unknown, but underlying factors like genetics, stress, and other physical imbalances might trigger them.
Is there a link between anxiety and postpartum sleep deprivation?
Well obviously, yes! If you are a new mom, do not put too much pressure on yourself. You need to take care of yourself to serve your role properly. Being anxious will only aggravate the situation. So, instead find ways to communicate your concern and worries to others. Rest when your child is sleeping. Natural sedatives can help. This will neither cause problems to your newborn nor will it affect your own health. Be patient with yourself. You are new at this, so welcome the adjustment period with ease. Lastly, ask for help. If you think you can’t manage, ask your loved ones for support or seek medical attention if necessary.
Anxiety and sleep have a powerful relationship that requires expertise. Have a talk with your physician to address both issues. Sleep problems and anxiety can elicit a chain of harmful reactions to your physical state. Of course, medications can only do so much, the key lies in your ability to sustain a healthy lifestyle.