Are There Any Risk Factors For Sleep Anxiety
Risk factors for somniphobia include other sleep disorders and negative sleep experiences, anxiety disorders, PTSD, and other medical conditions. Those with a family history of anxiety and sleep disorders are also more likely to experience somniphobia. This type of phobia is more common among women and children.
Have A Bedtime Routine If Youd Like But Dont Freak Out If Its Different Each Night
A routine establishes a positive conditioning for sleep, says Tal. When you start your routine, your body gets the “hint” and starts to initiate the mechanisms for sleep.
It was important for me, however, to realize that Im someone who might be unmoored by obsessing over the ritual of what I do each night. During treatment, I liked to take a shower, have a warm glass of milk with honey and do some type of relaxing activity. Early on I found that if I didn’t do something exactly as I’d done it the night before, I would grow anxious over my ability to fall asleep that night. And then boom, no sleep. Instead, I now keep the overall framework of a nighttime routine but have let go of the specifics. One night, I may watch 20 minutes of a TV show, another I might read 10 pages of a book. I’ve done this so my brain doesn’t associate the particular ordering of activities with sleep. For me, the ritual was about relaxation, not rigidity.
Accept That This Is Your Now
Acceptance therapy a type of psychotherapy that allows you to sit with and process uncomfortable feelings can be particularly useful for insomnia. “The more pressure you put on yourself to sleep, the more you won’t sleep. So one strategy is to accept the sleeplessness and insomnia in order to reduce the anxiety to facilitate sleep,” Tal says. “It is sort of reverse psychology, the more you don’t care, the more likely you will sleep.”
For me, this sometimes meant repeating the following to myself when I was in bed and couldn’t sleep: “This is my current reality. It won’t always be this way, but this is how it is right now, and that’s okay.” Thank your brain for trying to keep you safe with its anxious thinking, Tal suggests. Don’t treat those thoughts as a sign of any kind of “brokeness.” My anger at my own brain was one of the hardest things to overcome.
“By thanking your brain, it brings perspective to the anxiety and reduces the activation caused by it,” Tal says. “It also externalizes the anxiety as caused by my brain instead of myself, making it less of something that will last forever.”
Sometimes, though, the mantra I created became too effortful , so to speak, in that there was clearly an underlying agenda of please sleep attached. In those instances, it was best to just simply let go as best I could and do nothing.
But it’s not your indefinite reality, it’s only your now, and you will surely sleep again.
What Is Sleep Anxiety Or Somniphobia
Sleep anxiety, also known as somniphobia is a sleep disorder that describes discomfort sleeping alone or a general fear of falling asleep. Those who experience somniphobia explain it as extreme anxiety that makes it difficult to get to sleep even when they are tired. It is often associated with other disorders that cause negative sleep experiences, including sleep paralysis, frequent nightmares, night terrors, and parasomnias.
Easing Anxiety Improves Sleep
The good news about anxiety and insomnia being so closely related is that, if you help one problem, you also help the other.
For example, Neubauer said, if you have an anxiety disorder, then getting treatment with cognitive therapy, meditation, or medication can have the indirect effect of improving sleep.
Short of getting treatment for an anxiety disorder, said Neubauer, there are ways people can, on their own, sleep better. For instance:
Practice relaxation techniques. Many approaches, such as nighttime meditation or yoga, can combat anxiety. Neubauer recommends you start by learning new relaxation techniques earlier in the day so youre not putting too much pressure on yourself before bedtime. Then, once youre comfortable with it, you can do it later in the day.
Get into a regular sleep routine. Going to bed and getting up at about the same time each day lets the bodys internal circadian clock work better. Getting up at odd hours can undermine that rhythm.
Schedule some idle time before bed. A common problem is that, when people get into bed, its the first time theyve had to ponder the day, Neubauer said. Try to sit down and think about the day before you get ready for sleep. Jot down any concerns on a piece of paper if you need to remember tasks for the next day. Dont use the time before bed to pay bills or other anxiety-inducing activity.
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How Can You Treat Insomnia
There are both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatments for insomnia that you can discuss with your doctor. You may need to try some different treatments before finding the most effective one for you.
The American College of Physicians recommends cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia as the first route to treat chronic insomnia.
This process helps you recognize your emotions and attitudes that affect your sleep. You can then learn how to change them to get back some Zzzs.
Sleep Anxiety Tips: How To Calm Anxiety At Night
*This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended as medical or other professional advice. Visit the links within the text for sources. Casper has not independently verified the sources. While some of us may toss and turn some nights, every night can be a restless night for others. If youve ever struggled with sleep anxiety, you know the feeling of anxiously watching the clock as you worry about not being able to fall asleep and waking up sleep-deprived the next day. There are many statistics that reveal Americans struggle to sleep on a regular basis. As it turns out, anxiety and sleep are connected in a number of ways. Fifty percent of those who are sleep-deprived say that their anxiety impacts their ability to sleep at night. Its important to understand how anxiety can affect your ability to get a good nights rest. This guide covers what sleep anxiety is, the effects of anxiety-induced sleep deprivation, and science-backed tips for decreasing anxious thoughts, as well as how to set yourself up for better sleep.
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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.
What To Do If You Can’t Sleep
The relationship between sleep and mental health is cyclical. If you have poor sleep, you’re likely to feel tired the next day, which can make things even more difficult and stressful, which can make anxiety worse and result in another night of disturbed sleep. If you are struggling with anxiety and have trouble falling asleep, though, there are steps you can take.
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Get Rid Of Your Clock
Clocks can be a common trigger for anxiety, especially when youre trying to fall asleep. Instead of having a clock by your bedside where you can glance at it every time you struggle to fall asleep keep a clock outside your room instead. Looking at the clock will only cause your anxiety to get worse, so avoid it altogether.
Set Aside Enough Time For Sleep
Many people don’t put enough time aside to get a proper nights sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adults obtain seven or more hours of sleep a night to avoid the health risks of chronic inadequate sleep.
Research shows that getting the recommended amount of rest can improve mood and performance, making you feel more alert, happy, and refreshed.
To get the right amount of sleep, try going to bed sooner than later. Many people will wait to get to bed until it’s too late to actually get the proper amount of sleep. Anxiety can be heightened if you’re constantly watching the clock and noticing that you won’t be getting enough rest. For example, a lot of people will get to bed late and think, “It’s so late. Now I’ll only get five hours of sleep. I’m going to be such a mess tomorrow!” Such negative thinking will only contribute to your worry.
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Reason #: Too Much Focus On The Day
Nighttime anxiety can be caused by over-focusing on stress before sleep. Knott says that this is because our body can perceive work stress, relationship issues, and social contact as dangerous, and prepare us to fight or flee. Being fixated on your worries during the day and anticipating stressful activities for the next day will make it more difficult for your mind to relax.
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.
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It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
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Most of us know what its like to toss and turn in bed with a head full of worries. Whether youre having anxious thoughts about your kids, work, finances or love life, sometimes you may have trouble drifting off to sleep.
Its normal for worries to cause an occasional night or two of sleeplessness. Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and uncertainty. Its your bodys way of protecting you, helping you stay alert and watchful.
But if your anxiety is persistent, seemingly uncontrollable and overwhelming, and it keeps you from living your life normally like getting a good nights sleep you may have an anxiety disorder.
Seven of 10 adults who report having anxiety daily say they have trouble sleeping.
All About Anxiety: Why Is It Preventing You From Sleeping
Anxiety is a normal human response to alarming situations and life stressors, such as a move, job change, or relationship transition. Anxiety is characterized by feelings of worry, dread, and uneasiness. Anxiety affects physiological reactions, thoughts, and behavior, and may cause extreme discomfort.
Most people are able to manage anxiety when it occurs, and the feelings typically pass quickly. But for others, anxiety can cause persistent symptoms that can be classified as an anxiety disorder. 40 million American adults 18% of people 18 years old and older are affected by anxiety. Of these cases, 22% have severe anxiety.
Note: The content on Sleepopolis is meant to be informative in nature, but it shouldnt take the place of medical advice and supervision from your healthcare provider. If you feel you may be suffering from any sleep disorder or medical condition, please see a trained professional immediately.
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Is It Common In Adults
Both children and adults can experience sleep anxiety. However, with kids, they may be scared of thing such as the dark or imaginary monsters. In this case, experts say parents can help by not building up fears, introducing a night light, avoiding scary tv shows or movies, or providing a comfort object such as a blanket or stuffed toy.
A Brief Survey Of Sleep Physiology
Human sleep consists of two qualitatively different, brain states, non-rapid eye movement and rapid eye movement. sleep. NREM sleep is further subdivided into stages 1 through 4, with stage 1 being the lightest and stage 4 being the deepest, sleep. Since slow delta waves distinguish stages 3 and 4, the stages are often defined as delta sleep or slow-wave sleep . REM sleep is also called paradoxical sleep because of the close resemblance with the electroencephalogram of active wakefulness combined with a paradoxical active inhibition of major muscle groups that seems to reflect, a heavy sleep. Normal sleep is characterized electrographically as recurrent cycles of NREM and REM. sleep of about 90 min. In the successive cycles during the night, the duration of stages 3 and 4 decrease, and the proportion of the cycle occupied by REM sleep tends to increase with REM. episodes occurring late in the night having more eye movement, bursts than REM episodes occurring early in the night.
Most models of sleep regulation have implicated the monoaminergic and cholinergic systems and the importance of inhibitor}’ GABAergic mechanisms in sleep regulation is well established:’ Since dysfunction of these neurotransmitter systems have been implicated in anxiety disorders, it is no wonder that one of the chief complaints of anxiety disorder patients relates to sleep alteration.
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Sleep Gives Your Brain And Body Time To Heal
Healthy sleep has been proven to be the most important factor in predicting longevity, even more influential than exercise, diet, or genetics. Studies have shown that almost every system of the body is affected by the quality and quantity of sleep a person gets, especially the brain. Sleep gives the body’s neurons a chance to shut down and repair themselves. Without that opportunity, neurons become so depleted and polluted through normal cellular activities that they begin to malfunction. Sleep provides cells with increased protein production that fuels growth and repairs damage incurred by stress and other factors. It is also integral to maintaining healthy emotional and social functioning.
Get Up At The Same Time Daily
Creating a routine can be an effective way to combat sleep anxiety and insomnia. By getting up at the same time every day, your body will naturally start to adjust your internal clock or circadian rhythm.
One sleep study, highlighted in the Guardian as A Cure for Insomnia, found that getting up at the same time every day helped the participants body feel sleepy around the same time every night. Over time, this helped the participants bedtimes become consistent.
However, creating a nighttime routine can also have similar effects. Winnie Yu for WebMD suggests creating a nightly routine can help relax your body as it starts to anticipate and expect sleep as you follow through each step. It can also help relieve anxiety, as you know what to expect each night and each morning.
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