Dont Obsess Over Time Spent Asleep
When you get into bed after your normal bedtime, its easy to obsess over the fact that you may not get as much sleep as you need.
This often creates a self-fulfilling prophecy in which your anxiety about not getting enough sleep causes you to struggle to fall asleep reducing the amount of time available for sleeping during the night, and worsening your anxiety about how youll feel the next day.
When this happens, it can lead to hours spent tossing and turning as your worries about lack of sleep stick in your head.
Instead of worrying about the total amount of time youll spend sleeping, its better to accept that not every night of sleep will be perfect.
Get A Bed That Fits You
When you sleep on an uncomfortable mattress, pressure points build up on your body, causing you to toss and turn. A supportive mattress and pillow provide support to the contours of your body and neck, and keep you cool and comfortable for sleep.
For drool-worthy sleep at a price point that wont break the bank, you may want to check out the Casper Original Mattress. Engineered for cool, comfortable sleep, the Casper Original provides targeted layers of support and unique cooling perforations so you can spend less time counting sheep and more time catching Zs.
If youre looking for that sleeping-on-a-cloud experience, the Casper Nova Hybrid may be the right option for you. As our most top rated mattress, the Casper Nova provides sturdy support with a velvety soft top layer so you can sleep worry-free.
Use A Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are a type of heavy blanket that typically weighs between 5 and 30 pounds. Theyre known for producing calming effects by mimicking the feeling of a hug using deep pressure stimulation. Because weighted blankets can help increase serotonin and melatonin while decreasing cortisol, they have been shown to promote feelings of calmness and peacefulness.
Read Also: Does Anxiety Disorder Go Away
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.
Challenging The Worries And Thoughts That Fuel Insomnia
Its also helpful to challenge the negative attitudes about sleep and your insomnia problem that youve developed over time. The key is to recognize self-defeating thoughts and replace them with more realistic ones.
|Challenging self-defeating thoughts that fuel insomnia|
|Self-defeating thought:||Sleep-promoting comeback:|
|Unrealistic expectations: I should be able to sleep well every night like a normal person. I shouldnt have a problem!||Lots of people struggle with sleep from time to time. I will be able to sleep with the right techniques.|
|Exaggeration: Its the same every single night, another night of sleepless misery.||Not every night is the same. Some nights I do sleep better than others.|
|Catastrophizing: If I dont get some sleep, Ill tank my presentation and jeopardize my job.||I can get through the presentation even if Im tired. I can still rest and relax tonight, even if I cant sleep.|
|Hopelessness: Im never going to be able to sleep well. Its out of my control.||Insomnia can be cured. If I stop worrying so much and focus on positive solutions, I can beat it.|
|Fortune telling: Its going to take me at least an hour to get to sleep tonight. I just know it.||I dont know what will happen tonight. Maybe Ill get to sleep quickly if I use the strategies Ive learned.|
Read Also: How To Cure Separation Anxiety
How Can A Person Quickly Calm Anxiety At Night
If a person is experiencing ongoing intrusive thinking at night, they may find it helpful to get out of bed and do a calming activity such as:
- having a warm bath or shower
- making a warm drink
- listening to calming music
It may seem counterintuitive to get out of bed, but trying to force sleep while feeling very anxious may cause more anxiety and contribute to the cycle of stress and sleeplessness.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders
The exact cause of anxiety is unknown. In fact, researchers believe that there is not one single cause but rather an interplay of factors that include a persons genetics, family history, and exposure to negative life events. Some health problems and drugs can also contribute to symptoms of anxiety.
You May Like: What Causes A Anxiety Attack
Stick To A Consistent Sleep Routine
When it comes to falling and staying asleep, consistency is key. If you dont have a set bedtime, try to establish one.
Force yourself to stick to a routine and be in bed, with the lights out ready to sleep by a certain time every night.
In addition to sleeping on a specific schedule, it may help to establish some basic sleep hygiene rules about the way you sleep, wake and use your bed. For example:
Limit your use of your bed to sleeping and sex. Avoid using your bed to read, work on your computer or watch television.
Only go to bed when you feel tired. Dont use your bed as a sofa, or as a place to relax during the daytime.
Get out of bed at the same time every morning. This helps to establish your day and means youll always go to bed after roughly the same amount of alert-type time on a daily basis.
While these habits might seem simple, they can have a big impact on your ability to relax in bed and fall asleep within a reasonable amount of time.
What Is Anxiety Insomnia
Do you lie awake at night worrying to the point where you find it impossible to sleep? Insomnia, and other serious disturbances of sleep, are well established as a common symptom of anxiety disorders, as peoples worries disrupt their ability to sleep well.
If this is something you are struggling with, this guide, which contains a number of practical things you can do to manage your anxiety-related insomnia, might help you to get deal with the problem and get a better nights sleep.
You May Like: Does Anxiety Increase Heart Rate
How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treat Sleep Anxiety
CBT is a form of psychotherapy, or talk therapy. It teaches you how to change your behavior by changing the way you think. Its a common treatment for people with anxiety. A special form of CBT called cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia focuses on helping people who have insomnia. This therapy can take anywhere from six to 12 weeks to produce results.
During CBT or CBTI, you may learn to:
- Avoid behaviors or environmental factors that trigger your anxiety or make sleeping difficult.
- Better understand how sleep and anxiety affect your brain and the rest of your body.
- Change negative or inaccurate thinking about bedtime or sleep.
Your therapist may teach you how to sleep with anxiety by using biofeedback. Biofeedback trains you to control your bodys functions. You learn to relax your muscles, regulate your breathing, lower your heart rate and focus your attention. Your therapist might use special sensors to measure these bodily functions, or they may give you exercises, such as deep breathing and meditation, to do at home.
How Can I Sleep With Anxiety In 5 Minutes
To use the 4-7-8 technique, focus on the following breathing pattern: empty the lungs of air. breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds. hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds. exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a whoosh sound, for 8 seconds. repeat the cycle up to 4 times.
Read Also: How To Deal With High Functioning Anxiety
What Are The Types Of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a core element of a number of specific disorders, although not all are categorized strictly as anxiety disorders.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder : People with GAD have significant, looming worries about many different things that can cause an overarching sense of anxiety.
- Panic Disorder: Extremely intense episodes of fear, known as panic attacks, that usually last for a few minutes at a time are the defining feature of Panic Disorder.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: This disorder involves an extreme fear of social settings and potential embarrassment in front of other people.
- Specific Phobias: Specific phobias are intense fears caused by particular triggers. Some of the most common specific phobias include agoraphobia and separation anxiety.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder : In OCD, a person obsesses about an issue in a negative way such that it provokes anxiety, and this causes a compulsion, which is their attempt to control or eliminate that anxiety. Compulsions are repeated ritually and can directly impact everyday activities.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder : This condition can arise after a person is exposed to a painful or disturbing situation. People with PTSD may relive the stressful event, feel on-edge, and have potentially debilitating anxiety.
How Common Are Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness, affecting the lives of around 20% of American adults and 25% of teenagers each year.
|Adults Affected in U.S.||Percentage of U.S. Adult Population|
|Generalized Anxiety Disorder|
Not all people with anxiety disorders have the same degree of symptoms or impact from anxiety on their everyday life. In one large survey, around 43% of adults described having mild impairment of their life from anxiety. Around 33% said it was moderate, and nearly 23% said it was severe.
Read Also: Can Urgent Care Give You Anxiety Medication
Stress Relief Techniques To The Rescue
Activities that switch on the bodys natural relaxation response feel great, Buenaver says. And they have been proven by research to improve sleep. They help by reducing the release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and by slowing your heart rate and breathing. Your body and mind calm down.
Yoga, tai chi and meditation are helpful stress relief techniques. So are these two simple exercises that Buenaver recommends to patients who are struggling with sleepless nights.
- In a quiet place, sit or lie down in a comfortable position. It may help to close your eyes.
- Breathe slowly in and out for about five minutes. As you inhale, breathe down into your belly. Focus on your breath.
- If youd like, repeat to yourself, Breathing in I am calm, breathing out I am coping.
Progressive muscle relaxation:
- In a quiet place, sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
- Take a few gentle breaths, in and out.
- Begin tensing groups of muscles one at a time as you breathe. Hold the tension as you inhale, then release it as you exhale. Take a few breaths as you notice how relaxed each muscle group feels.
- Start with the muscles in your head, neck and face. Move down to your shoulders, hands and arms, back, stomach, buttocks, thighs, calves and feet.
- Repeat for any areas that are still tense.
As you go through this exercise, feel the presence and absence of tension so you can spot lingering tension and do something about it, Buenaver says.
Set A Regular Wake Time
Instead of setting a regular bedtime, set a regular wake time. When people tell themselves that they have to go to bed at a certain time, they create anxiety for themselves. They think they need to go to bed at a certain time, even if they aren’t sleepy. They lie down, they can’t fall asleep, and then they start to worry that they aren’t falling asleep, which only exacerbates the problem.
The better option would be to set a consistent wake time and figure out how much sleep we actually needthe normal range for adults being between six and nine hours a night. The regular wake time acts as an anchor so that your sleep timing can unfold, allowing you to figure out how much sleep you truly need to wake up and feel good!
Related: What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep
Also Check: Why Is My Anxiety Worse At Night
Impact On Bipolar Disorder
If you have bipolar disorder, you may enter a depressive phase in autumn and winter. You may have episodes of euphoria or mania . This is due to fewer daylight hours. You will need more help to manage your condition.
You may also suffer from sleep problems and feel worse at a particular time of day. Sometimes using a bright light can help these symptoms.
How Can Healthier Sleep Habits Treat Sleep Anxiety
Sleep habits, or sleep hygiene, are your routines around bedtime that can affect your sleep. Your healthcare provider may ask you to keep a sleep diary for several weeks. This is a daily log of your sleep habits. It can help identify things that might make it harder for you to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Some common ways to improve your sleep hygiene include:
- Avoid drinking lots of fluids before bed, especially alcohol.
- Do relaxing activities before bed, such as meditation or listening to soft, peaceful music.
- Dont consume caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
- Dont go to bed unless you feel sleepy.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- If you dont fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed.
- Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, quiet and softly lit.
- Only use your bed for sleep and sex. For example, avoid watching television or doing work in bed.
- Set a goal of getting at least seven hours of sleep every night.
- Stop using electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Try not to eat right before bedtime. If youre hungry, have a light snack and not a big meal.
You May Like: How To Get Anxiety Meds
Don’t Ignore Your Anxiety
All the tips in the world won’t help you sleep easier with anxiety if you don’t acknowledge you’re feeling anxious. Whatever you’re feeling — stressed, scared or worried — accept it so you can address it.
It’s a good idea to try to incorporate stress-relieving activities into your daily routine to help keep things from building up at night. Try a daily walk or other exercises to reduce anxiety. There’s no set time frame for when you’ll start falling asleep faster — it likely won’t be instantaneous. However, if you find that your anxiety is continually getting the best of your sleep, it may be time to talk to someone.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
Get the CNET Now newsletter
Avoid Stressful Activities Before Bed
Amber Weiss, licensed psychotherapist and founder of Transformative Mindset, says, Creating some form of a transition from daytime to sleeping is highly recommended. According to Weiss, you cant expect the mind to go to sleep on demand. Instead, you need to allow time for the brain to transition, just like we transition to go outside or when we get home.
The goal is to reduce the nervous thoughts in your head so your mind is clear, calm, and positive before you head off to sleep. This can entail leaving the office, work, news, and social media exchanges for earlier in the day to create buffer time between work and sleep, setting yourself up for better rest.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Prevent Anxiety Attacks
To Improve Your Sleep Try Some Of The Following Strategies
Create a comfortable sleep environment. If you want to have a good sleep, it helps to create a comfortable sleep environment. Make sure that you have a supportive mattress and fresh, comfortable bedding. Also, try to ensure that your room is not too hot or cold, minimize noise, and block out light.
Relax. Try doing something to relax your body and mind before going to bed. Try taking a hot bath 90 minutes before you plan to go to bed. Or try a relaxation exercise , meditation, or listening to calming music.
Have a snack. Although a heavy meal late in the evening can disrupt sleep, a healthy light snack in the evening can improve sleep. Try eating light cheese and crackers, turkey, or bananas, or drink a warm glass of milk. Avoid heavy, spicy or sugary foods.
Get physical. People who exercise tend to have more restful sleep. Exercising for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week can improve your sleep. So, get moving! Go for a walk or a run. The best time to exercise is in the late afternoon or early evening. Exercising in the morning, while good for you, wont help with sleep as it is too far off. And exercising less than 2 hours before bedtime can actually interfere with sleep as its too close. Try for something in between.
Establish a fixed awakening time. Try waking up at the same time every day no matter how well or how poorly you have slept. This way your body will begin to get used to a regular sleep rhythm.