Causes Of Evening Anxiety
The potential causes of anxiety are numerous. Anxiety in college students may be fueled by holding onto negative emotions and difficult financial situations, while anxiety in parents may be caused by employment worries or family issues. For each individual, the circumstances that cause nighttime anxiety may be unique.
We do know of many potential causes of anxiety, and I will cover ways to relieve anxiety next. First, lets look at some of the common causes:
- Stress at work, school, or in family life
- Financial stress
- Use of stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, and cocaine
- Overactive thyroid
- Mental health disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder, phobic disorder, depression, or other mood disorder
For those that struggle with anxiety, there may not be anything youre doing wrong. Generalized anxiety is a recognized disorder, and it may be largely biological. However, there are certain habits and actions that can increase anxiety in the evening and diminish sleep quality. These include:
- Using screens
- Lack of consistent routine
- Poor eating habits
- Too much light
- Consuming stimulants in the afternoon or evening
You can start dealing with your evening anxiety by looking at your bedtime routine to see if there are things you can do to help yourself sleep better.
A Better Wayhow To Get Through A Panic Attack
Lie on your back and bring all your attention to your body, Rains says. Begin a process of gently tightening and releasing each muscle group, starting with your feet and working your way upwards to the top of your head. Hold each muscle as tightly as you can for about five seconds, then release it completely and see if you can notice the difference between the muscle tightened and the muscle relaxed. Move onto the next muscle until you’ve relaxed your entire body. Any time your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to the tightening and releasing of each muscle group.
How To Treat Sleep Anxiety
When it comes to handling sleep anxiety, Gilliland suggests having “a short-term memory” for a bad night’s rest. “Focus on things to improve sleep, and don’t allow worry and agitation to creep into thoughts about sleep. You don’t need to add that kind of pressure, and it won’t help.”
“Treating sleep anxiety is similar to how you treat more generalized anxiety and worry, but with a few differentiators,” says Carlopio. She emphasizes that seeing a doctor first is the most important step, especially to rule out any medical conditions that “might be mimicking anxiety or insomnia.” You’ll also want to make sure you aren’t suffering from breathing difficulty at night from conditions such as snoring or sleep apnea, as these can also cause sleep disturbances, including sleep anxiety, if not treated.
Whatever the outcome of your doctor visit be it a diagnosis of a specific, perhaps more chronic, sleep disorder or an acute issue brought on by specific stressors turn to these tips if you catch yourself slipping into sleep anxiety-territory.
See a therapist. As noted, getting a professional evaluation from a physician is crucial. “Then getting professional support from a therapist trained in dealing with anxiety and stress is recommended,” says Carlopio.
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Gerd Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Acid reflux disease, also known as GERD, has also been linked to sleeping panic attacks. GERD itself is an irritating but fairly benign disorder. But it can affect you in your sleep, especially if you ate too soon before going to bed. Lying down after eating increases GERD symptoms considerably, and each of these symptoms represents a potential trigger for panic attacks:
- Chest pains
- Night sweats
Some people also have trouble breathing, sore throats, and other issues that can become panic attack triggers. Many of those with nighttime GERD do not notice that they have any symptoms at night unless they wake up, and even if they wake up they simply deal with the discomfort and go back to sleep.
But others with tendencies toward anxiety are not so lucky, and it’s possible that their anxiety and GERD combine to increase the likelihood of nocturnal panic attacks.
Does Anxiety Go Away
For those people that are diagnosed with a legitimate anxiety disorder, the condition is unlikely to go away. Some people may be able to better control their anxiety disorder with the help and guidance of a therapist or psychologist, and medications may help further control the condition. There may also be specific coping mechanisms to help manage anxiety disorders, however, a permanent cure for anxiety does not currently exist.
For those that do not suffer from an anxiety disorder, but only have occasional or intermittent anxiety from time-to-time, this is normal and healthy behavior for many people. Temporary anxiety is likely to diminish over time, and if it is related to a specific place or person, removing yourself from those situations may help the anxiety go away after some time.
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Does Sleep Apnea Trigger Nighttime Panic Attacks
Dr. Bea says that panic is not necessarily triggered by sleep apnea. Sleep panic attacks tend to happen during certain stages of sleep. And theyre not related to sleep terrors. Sleep terrors occur in different phases of sleep as well. However, sleep troubles can create stress. Any stressor thats acting on you can potentially cause your brain and body to be a little bit more aroused.
Set Aside Time For Winding Down
If youve been struggling with sleep anxiety, Dr. Fran Walfish, family and relationship psychotherapist, suggests creating a routine that winds you down and gets you in the mood for sleep. This can include things like dimming the lights, listening to calming music, or taking a warm bath.
Walfish also suggests opting for activities like light reading in place of a TV or computer, as using a screen can tend to rev up anxiety and excitatory thresholds versus relax and calm you down.
The best nighttime routine allows your mind and body time to slow down before you turn off the lights. Allot at least 30 minutes to take a bath, read a book, listen to a podcast, or play quiet music. These transition rituals can condition your brain to associate certain actions with preparing for sleep.
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Can Nighttime Panic Attacks Be Prevented
According to Dr. Bea, one of the characteristics of true panic is that it occurs spontaneously like a bolt of lightning across a blue sky. While we cant prevent sleep panic attacks, he says that we can develop more effective mechanisms for coping with the stressors in our lives.
You might increase exercise or start a mindfulness practice. Overall, it doesnt hurt to actively develop coping strategies. However, understand that doing these things may or may not influence the experience of a nighttime panic attack.
Whats another thing you can do to lessen the intensity of a sleep panic attack? Normalize the experience.
Dr. Bea explains.
These experiences feel threatening and dangerous. You fear the worst when your hearts racing, youre short of breath, youre trembling and you have a sense of impending doom or feel like youre losing control, he says.
As frightening as the experience is, its safe. Of course, when we have a catastrophic thought or appraisal of the event, it tends to drive more panic it gets our body aroused. Learn to normalize that experience, to notice the sensations but dont try to fix them.
Dr. Bea compares it to being in quicksand.
After a sleep panic attack, youre not going to recover quickly and go right back to sleep. Dr. Bea recommends getting up and going into another room to do a relaxing activity . No catching up on work or paying bills. Do something that will help you calm down until youre able to go back to sleep.
Should I Reward My Child For Staying In Bed And Being Brave
A reward chart for trying to be brave can be helpful. At first, this may be for not getting out of bed and just calling out if they really feel they need you. Then later, as your child feels safer, you can reward them for staying in bed all night and not calling out.
Reward and praise your child as soon as they wake up in the morning ‘for knowing that their bedroom is a safe place to be’ and remind them they can always talk to you when they feel worried. The reward should be something small and could involve collecting a certain number of stickers leading to a reward your child will enjoy . This will vary depending on the age of your child. The reward should be easy to achieve for your child to begin with to increase the chance of your child being able to succeed.
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Other Effects Of Lack Of Sleep
In addition to causing or worsening anxiety, sleep deprivation can have other negative effects on your health and wellbeing. Other effects of lack of sleep include:
Impaired memory and mental function. When you dont get sufficient sleep, you may find it more difficult to think clearly, process complex information and remember specific details.
Lack of alertness and energy. You may start to feel tired and less energetic during the daytime. Even a mild amount of sleep deprivation can affect your reaction time and level of alertness.
Increased blood pressure. Research shows that sleep deprivation can lead to increases in blood pressure and heart rate. And high blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack and/or stroke.
An increased risk of chronic health problems. Over the long term, lack of sleep may increase your risk of dealing with chronic health issues such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
A higher risk of injuries and accidents. Because sleep deprivation affects your level of alertness and ability to concentrate, you may be more likely to suffer an injury when youre sleep deprived.
Beyond its effects on your health, lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your relationships and general quality of life.
You may feel less inclined to spend time with your friends and family, exercise or do other things that normally bring you pleasure and satisfaction.
How To Stop Anxiety And Panic
Of course, even if you reduce the frequency of your nighttime panic attacks, you are still going to find yourself suffering if you continue to deal with panic disorder. That’s why you need to make sure that you find the appropriate long term treatment for reducing the frequency and severity of your panic attacks and doing whatever it takes to prevent them from coming back.
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Can Anxiety Attacks Wake You Up At Night Or Happen While You Are Sleeping
January 16, 2015 by Jenny
Hi. Its Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today is from Michael in Fort Lauderdale. Can anxiety attacks wake you up at night or happen while you are sleeping?
A good nights sleep is vital if we want to wake up refreshed and reenergized for a new day. If you are a worrier, you are possibly more prone to insomnia and a panic attack. Can anxiety attacks wake you up at night or happen while you are sleeping? Yes and worrying about your sleep deprivation can make the situation even worse.
A panic attack can strike without any warning and even happen when you are relaxed or asleep. Stress and anxiety may cause sleeping problems, which put us at risk for high blood pressure, heart failure, obesity, stroke and diabetes. Often people suffering with stress turn to nicotine, caffeine and alcohol, to comfort foods as well, to calm themselves down before going to sleep. But these are just quick fixes which may work in getting you to sleep, but your sleep pattern will be interrupted later on. Some comfort foods eaten too close to bedtime can also cause heartburn. These substances as well as sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs can be habit forming and they dont promote normal sleep patterns.
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.
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What Are Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are sudden, unexpected episodes of intense anxiety, which can cause a variety of frightening symptoms. These include:
- Feeling out of control and disconnected from your surroundings
- Feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed
- Chest pains and shortness of breath – a tightness of the chest and feeling as though its a struggle to breathe
- A racing or pounding heart
- Numbness and tingling, for example, tingling lips and numbness in your fingers and toes
- Fluctuating body temperature feeling very hot or very cold
These symptoms can be so severe they sometimes make first time sufferers believe theyre experiencing a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. Over time, panic attacks can become more frequent, and the fear of having a panic attack becomes embedded, resulting in a vicious circle.
Night time panic attacks, also known as nocturnal panic attacks or night terrors, happen while youre asleep and wake you up, often with the same symptoms as day time panic attacks. However, while these nocturnal attacks usually only last for a few minutes, it can take a long time for you to calm down enough to go back to sleep after having one. This, coupled with worrying about whether youre going to have another panic attack, may lead to insomnia.
Get Your Worries On Paper
Calming an already-stirred up mind can be challenging, so also implement some calming practices before you even get into bed.
Dr. Whitney Roban, a clinical psychologist and family sleep specialists number one piece of advice for people suffering from night-time anxiety is to keep a journal where you can write down all those clingy thoughts.
When you get these thoughts out of your head and onto paper, there is a good chance they will not infiltrate your mind when its actually time to go to sleep, Dr. Roban says. Many people also like to make lists in their journal of the things they need to do the next day.
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