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How To Get Good Sleep With Anxiety

Teapigs Snooze Sleepy Tea

Sleep, Anxiety, and Insomnia: How to Sleep Better When You’re Anxious

Everyone has heard that chamomile tea can help you sleep. Why? Well, its commonly called a mild tranquilizer and has an antioxidant called apigenin, which binds to specific receptors in your brain that may decrease anxiety and help make you sleepy.

This sleepy tea takes chamomile up a notch by also adding in lavender, another ingredient that has been used for centuries to help calm nerves. The tea is also naturally caffeine free and, well, its simply delicious.

Should I Use Cbd To Treat My Insomnia

CBD , a chemical from Cannabis plants, is advertised as a treatment for anxiety and insomnia . Several studies have looked at the use of CBD to treat both anxiety and insomnia. The results have been somewhat positive:

  • In one study, researchers asked adults with anxiety or poor sleep to take CBD and then assessed their anxiety and sleep quality over time. After the first month, anxiety scores improved in 79% of adults, and sleep scores improved in 67% of adults. The average anxiety score kept improving over the 3 months of the study, but the average sleep score only improved for the first 2 months and then got worse in the third month.

  • Another study found that CBD is a potential treatment for insomnia, but it cautioned that research in this area is not very advanced and has had some mixed results.

There are a couple things to be aware of when it comes to CBD. First, its not approved by the FDA, so its not regulated. That means you cant be sure that the amount of CBD on a label is what youre actually getting. CBD doesnt cause a high like tetrahydrocannabinol , another chemical compound found in Cannabis plants. But many CBD products may contain more THC than advertised, and THC can trigger anxiety.

To learn more about CBD and anxiety, see our post here.

What Does Anxiety Feel Like

The symptoms of anxiety disorders can affect people both emotionally and physically.

People with anxiety may feel extremely nervous and on-edge. This can affect their concentration and mood, leading to irritability and restlessness. Their fear or sense of impending doom can feel overwhelming and out-of-control.

Physically, anxiety disorders can provoke tense muscles, rapid breathing and heartbeat, sweating, trembling, gastrointestinal distress, and fatigue.

Many people with anxiety disorders attempt to avoid situations that could trigger heightened worry however, this does not resolve their underlying fear and can interrupt both professional and personal activities. Over time, a person with anxiety disorder may get used to being worried such that a state of distress or fear seems normal.

Anxiety disorders can occur alongside other mental health problems like depression. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America , nearly 50% of people with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

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If Youre Still Experiencing Sleep Issues

Changes in sleep patterns can be a side effect and early warning sign of depression. Let your doctor or therapist know if you are not able to sleep or if you are sleeping too much.

If you think you may be experiencing depression, you can meet with a Counseling and Psychiatric Services provider by scheduling an online screening or visiting Lets Talk drop-in hours.

There are a number of resources available to help you get a better nights sleep and manage related issues, like stress or anxiety. Here are a few to try:

So What Can You Do To Calm Down So You Can Actually Sleep

10 Ways to Get a Better Night

Well, first off, theres no substitute for seeking help from a mental health professional.

An anxiety or trauma therapist, in particular, can help work with you to reduce your anxiety and panic symptoms.

According to Hahn, there are specific treatments, like EMDR or sensorimotor psychotherapy, which can be helpful in resetting your nervous system and settling your overactive amygdala thats causing your anxiety disorder.

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How To Get A Good Night Sleep When Stressed

Another sleepless night spent worrying as you stare at the ceiling? Stress and anxiety can often keep you from getting the sleep you need.

Many people with anxiety disorders have trouble sleeping and at some point its hard to tell whether youre having trouble sleeping because youre anxious, or youre anxious because you cant sleep. The answer may be both. The fact is that stress and anxiety can cause sleeping problems, or worsen existing ones. Too little sleep affects your mood and can contribute to irritability and sometimes depression. Vital brain functions occur during different stages of sleep that leave you feeling rested and energized and that help you learn and build memories.

Here are a few tips to help you practice good sleep hygiene so you can wind down both your body and mind:

Put Yourself In A Better Emotional State

Sleep relies on the connection between your body and mind. And there are simple ways to put your mind in a better emotional state to help yourself fall asleep faster.

Avoid catastrophizing. Our thoughts and worries play a major role in our ability to sleep, Dautovich said. “You cannot force yourself to sleep, so try to avoid putting pressure on yourself to sleep or catastrophizing if you don’t sleep,” she added. That means avoiding the anxious spiral of what will happen the next day if you don’t fall asleep soon.

Challenge those thoughts and worries, and try to replace them with more helpful ones like, “I didn’t sleep well last night, but I’ll be OK today” to relieve some of that anxiety, Datovich said.

Try out different exercises like deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation to help you fall asleep.

Another trick is to sing the ABCs in your head, over and over. That will keep your brain from thinking about anything else, and eventually wear it out like a muscle to help you fall asleep, Butler said.

And remember: humans can function fine even when we’re tired. Think of new parents who’ve been up all night with their baby, or emergency room doctors who have been on call for days. It may not be comfortable, but it’s not impossible.

Read more: How to be happy, according to science

Control your breathing. Focusing on your breathing can slow your breath , and can also redirect your attention from thoughts like “why haven’t I fallen asleep yet?”

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Hatch Rest+ Sound Machine And Nightlight

Full disclosure: The Rest+ is technically designed for kids but hear me out. When I used it, it helped me sleep better than it helped my son sleep.

My brother bought it for my son for Christmas and at the time, my son was still sleeping in a bassinet in our room, so I set up the Rest+ near my bed and it didnt take long for me to become dependent on it.

I found the sound machine features incredibly soothing, though other people might find the white noise feature more soothing.

Sound machines can give your brain something for your racing thoughts to focus on and listen to as you lay down to sleep.

The color night light might also be helpful, as you can program it to match your bedtime routine and program the light to slowly dim as you drift off to sleep.

If you prefer not to get a product meant for kids, the company also recently came out with the Hatch Restore aimed at adults specifically. It has many of these same helpful features to create a bedtime routine without any of the baby-focused ones.

Shop for the Hatch Rest+ and Restore.

What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Anxiety

How to get a good night’s sleep – insomnia, night terrors, monkey mind, stress, anxiety.

When you cant sleep due to anxiety, you may experience behavioral changes, including:

  • Feelings of being overwhelmed.
  • Tense muscles.
  • Trembling.

Some people also have nocturnal panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden, intense burst of extreme fear. Nocturnal panic attacks only happen at night, and often wake you from sleep.

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How To Cope With A Panic Attack At Night

Waking up and discovering youre having a panic attack can be an overwhelming and scary experience, and the fact that youre probably still groggy and trying to come round from sleep, can make you feel out of control and cause you to panic even more.

If youre having a nocturnal panic attack, try the following:

Dont fight it

If you wake up and youre having a panic attack, its important not to fight it, as this could make things worse. Accept the panic attack for what it is and let the feelings wash over you. Remember, it is only temporary, and it will fade eventually. You just need to let it happen.

Try and relax

Try to get your body back into a relaxed state. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly to regulate your breathing. Relax your muscles, and try to focus your mind on positive thoughts and images.

Get up and do something

Go back to bed when youre ready

Only go back to bed when youre beginning to feel tired again and ready for sleep. When youre in bed, keep yourself calm by breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth, to the extent that your whole abdomen, not just your chest, is rising and falling.

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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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.

Go To Bed When You’re Sleepy

A Simple Guide To A Good Night

If you are not sleepy when you lie down, you are almost guaranteed to have trouble falling asleep. Leibowitz says that he has fixed many patients’ sleep issues by simply suggesting that they go to bed later.

He says, “We all have a clock in our brain that controls when sleep and wake should happen. That is a trait. People who are night owls are night owls. People who are morning people are morning people. And, contrary to popular belief, we can not train ourselves to be morning people by going to bed early and getting up early.”

Many problems with sleep come simply because we tell ourselves that we have to be a morning person when we aren’t, and we try to be a morning person by going to bed early when we aren’t sleepy.

Here’s an example: If you are someone who needs seven hours of sleep and you go to bed at 10 p.m. and set your alarm for 7 a.m., you’re giving yourself a nine-hour window for sleep. Those extra two hours are going to show up somewhereeither at the beginning of the night, in the middle of the night or in the early morning. So if you go to bed at midnight and wake up at 7 a.m. and you feel refreshed, you may be a night owl who is a seven-hour sleeper, and that’s OK!

By setting your wake time and knowing the number of hours of sleep you generally need each night, you’ll be able to better know the time to go to bed when you will actually be sleepy.

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Anxiety At Night: 12 Holistic Ways To Reduce It & Sleep Peacefully

Updated: | | This post may contain affiliate links. for our full disclosure.

Anxiety at night is SO frustrating! This post shares 12 holistic ways to reduce anxiety and fall asleep peacefully .

Youve had a long, tiring day, and you desperately just want a solid night of sleep to recharge before you wake up and do it all over again. Finally, you climb into bed and lay your weary body down, and close your eyes.

Instead of a peaceful drift into dreamland, though, you find your mind frustratingly revving like a motor.

The more you try to quiet your thoughts, the louder and more insistent they get. Anxiety starts to rear its ugly head and soon youre in flight or fight mode, your cortisol is spiking, you can feel your heart beating like a drum, and your body is anything but relaxed. With every minute that goes by the cycle perpetuates itself and sleep grows more elusive.

Ugh, what an utterly awful feeling of despair!

Of all the health struggles that fall through the cracks with mainstream medicine, anxiety at night is one of the most common and also one of the most deeply frustrating. Sleep is essential, and when it doesnt come easily or naturally life starts to unravel, as I know from personal experience.

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

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