When To See A Doctor
Constant anxiety that makes it difficult to sleep at night can affect your daily quality of life. Your work or school performance may worsen, and you may find it hard to complete your normal daily tasks.
If anxiety and lack of sleep are affecting your life in this way, its important to reach out to a doctor or mental health specialist for help.
For some people, nighttime anxiety can lead to insomnia. Insomnia is defined as persistent trouble falling or staying asleep. Chronic insomnia can have negative health effects, including an increased risk of:
- health conditions, such as high blood pressure and a weakened immune system
- mental health conditions, such as depression
Whether your doctor makes a diagnosis of anxiety, insomnia, or both, reaching out is the first step in the treatment process.
Try A Different Nightlight
There are so many types of night lights you can try. When my kids were younger, they both loved the what they called their Turtle night light. It was the Cloud b Twilight Constellation Night Light, and when it was lit up at night, it showed constellations on the ceiling and walls in their room.
Now my son is partial to the Projectables LED Plug-In Night Light of Spider-Man. This displays a huge image of Spider-Man wherever the light is pointed. My son loves the idea that a superhero is in his room at night with him.
There are some other neat nightlights too, try a new one and see how your child responds.
Escaping The Vicious Cycle Of Anxiety And Sleep Loss
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that some form of sleep disruption is present in nearly all psychiatric disorders. And people with chronic insomnia are at high risk of developing an anxiety disorder. Because these problems can become a particularly difficult knot to untangle, the ADAA recommends seeking medical advice to address potential mental health conditions, sleep disorders, and other medical conditions.
A qualified mental health professional can help you investigate and address the underlying cause of your anxiety and may offer treatment options such as cognitive behavioral therapy , medication, and relaxation techniques.
You can also approach the problem of nighttime anxiety by taking steps to improve your sleep. Adopting good sleep hygiene habits is the best place to start.
Sleep hygiene refers to the upkeep of behaviors that influence the way you sleep. At Rise, we recommend following these guidelines to keep your sleep debt low so that youâll have the energy you need during the day:
Using data from your phone and proprietary, sleep science-based models to map your unique circadian rhythm, the RISE app can tell you exactly how to time these sleep hygiene habits.
Next, weâll go over additional sleep hygiene habits and bedtime routines aimed specifically at helping you unwind at the end of the day, and suggest relaxation techniques and other tactics that can help counteract nighttime anxiety.
Also Check: Why Do I Get Anxiety When I Eat
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.
How To Calm Anxiety At Night
When anxiety keeps you up at night, getting enough rest can be challenging. But the following activities can relax you before bed.
1. Sleep Hygiene
One of the best ways to calm anxiety is to practice good sleep hygiene, including avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, keeping a regular sleep schedule, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
2. Create an Appropriate Sleep Environment
Creating a sleeping environment conducive to relaxation can be beneficial in calming anxiety. Make sure your room is dark, quiet, and cool. Purchasing one of the best smart beds with comfortable bedding and limiting technology or screens before bedtime is advisable. Blue light from electronic devices has been shown to suppress melatonin production and interfere with sleep quality.
When youre feeling anxious while sleeping, taking a few minutes to focus on your breath can be incredibly calming. There are various types of meditation find one that works best for you and try to practice it regularly. This can help train your mind to focus on the present instead of allowing anxiety to take over.
Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects and can help soothe anxiety. A moderate amount of exercise is the key to maintaining your mental health and managing anxiety at bedtimeaim for at least 30 minutes per day. If you dont have time for a full workout, try incorporating basic yoga poses or go for a short walk.
5. Keep a Journal
6. Listen to Ambient Noise
You May Like: Do I Have Generalized Anxiety Disorder
How To Calm Your Anxiety At Night
The symptoms of anxiety can include excessive fear and worrying, panic attacks, feeling tense and restlessness, and can get worse in the evening. Those who experience anxiety at night are more likely to have issues with sleep.
Sleep is one of the most important things your body needs. Sleep deprivation can not only leave you feeling physically tired and struggling to concentrate, it can also lead to feelings of worry and anxiety, which in turn, make it harder to fall and stay asleep.
This inextricable link between insomnia and anxiety shows us that if youre missing important hours of shut eye, its common for anxiety levels to be higher. And if youre already feeling anxious about not being able to sleep, chances are you are going to struggle to actually fall asleep in the first place. This cyclical nature of sleep and anxiety, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America , affects over 50 per cent of adults.
Your Body Cant Get Out Of Hyperarousal
There might also be a biological component to this. For example, when youre anxious, your body is in hyperarousal. But as you get ready to go to sleep, your body gets the signal its time to rest. This has to do with the way your bodys natural circadian rhythm affects melatonin production.
But if you have anxiety, your body may fight this urge to rest. Humans developed stress and anxiety to help us fight real threats. Thats why we feel so on-edge when were anxious its the bodys fight/flight/freeze response.
Of course, most of the time when you feel anxious, there probably is no real threat. But your body doesnt know that, and it may be unwilling to let go of this readiness to fight off danger. Anxiety floods your brain with stress hormones like adrenaline, making it even harder to fall asleep.
You May Like: How To Get Over Shyness And Social Anxiety
Tailor Your Environment Tocalm Anxiety
You can calm anxiety by tuning your environment to calm yourself down. Eliminate any distractions, including lights, cell phones, the TV, etc., so that you are calm when trying to calm anxiety at night. You can also calm anxiety by using certain items like weighted blankets or essential oils. Try what works for you!
These are just a few ways how to calm anxiety at night. Everyone is different, so it may take some trial and error in order to find out exactly what works best for you.
And When You Experience Those Incessant Anxious Thoughts Its Not Just Your Brain Thats Getting Wound Upthe Rest Of Your Body Is Revving Up Too
Rachel Kazez, LCSW, a therapist and founder of All Along, explains that anxiety activates our sympathetic nervous system, increasing physiological arousal and producing stress hormones for a contradictory-feeling, tired-but-wired effect.
That internal physiological arousal is interesting, she says. Its like on the inside, youre doing jumping jacks, but on the outside, youre sitting stillwhich is both tiring and confusing. So no matter how exhausted you may be from a full day of work, errands, going to the gym, and socializing, if your brain isnt relaxed, your bodys going to be fired upand trying to trick your brain into thinking its time to work. Ever had Im so tired but I cant fall asleep syndrome? Yeah, you can blame your brain for that one.
But youre not doomed to hours upon hours of restless nights and groggy mornings if you frequently experience anxiety at bedtimethe experts I spoke with also offered up some ways to counteract anxiety-induced insomnia.
You May Like: Does Anxiety Medication Really Work
How To Overcome Panic Attacks At Night
If youre having a nocturnal panic attack, try the following:
What To Avoid Before Bed
For better quality sleep, avoid taking certain substances in the hours before bedtime. For instance, avoid foods and beverages with caffeine, which can keep you awake at night these include coffee, tea, and chocolate. Also, avoid smoking or chewing tobacco, as it contains nicotine, which can disrupt sleep. Similarly, drinking alcohol interrupts your body’s ability to achieve deep, restful sleep, so skip drinks before bed.¹
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Anxiety Fast
You May Be More Aware Of Your Surroundings At Night
If youre trying to sleep, you may be more aware of any noise or movement around you. This can make it harder to relax and may cause you to feel on edge.
Anxiety can also be exacerbated by tiredness.
When were tired, were more likely to be irritable and our thoughts may race. This can make it difficult to switch off at night and can lead to a feeling of anxiety.
When To Contact A Doctor
Occasional anxiety is common, especially during times of stress. However, chronic anxiety is a medical condition that often does not get better on its own. Delaying treatment gives the anxiety time to spiral out of control, potentially affecting other aspects of a personâs life.
A person should see a doctor if they experience any of the following:
- anxiety that causes physical health problems
- anxiety that does not respond to home remedies like exercise
- anxiety that is so severe that the person is unable to sleep
People should also contact their doctor if they experience a recurrence of anxiety while undergoing treatment for anxiety. The doctor may recommend adjusting or adding to the treatment plan.
Read Also: What Is The Strongest Anxiety Medicine
What Causes Anxiety In The Brain
What causes anxiety in the brain?
Anxiety is a normal, healthy emotion that can be useful in helping us to deal with a difficult situation. When anxiety reaches high levels, however, it becomes overwhelming and can result in serious problems such as panic attacks and phobias.
What causes anxiety?
The exact cause of anxiety is not known but there are many factors which may increase your risk of developing an anxiety disorder. These include:
Genetics some people inherit a tendency towards anxiety from their parents.
Life experiences traumatic events such as abuse or bullying can lead to anxiety later in life.
Brain chemistry the balance of chemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain may affect how you feel.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. About 18% of U.S. adults have an anxiety disorder, and they are more likely than those without anxiety to suffer from depression or other mood disorders. Anxiety disorders often first appear in childhood or early adolescence and tend to become chronic, resulting in a lower quality of life and more frequent health care visits.
Anxiety disorders can be treated with a variety of approaches, including medication and psychotherapy . It is important to find an approach that fits your needs and preferences.
Anxiety disorders are caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and psychological factors. The following brain structures are involved:
How To Get Rid Of Anxiety So You Can Sleep Better
If youre struggling to fall asleep due to anxiety, it could be that treating the anxiety will help solve your insomnia and lack of sleep as well. Anxiety disorders should only be diagnosed by a licensed therapist or medical professional, and these professionals can also help you find treatment regimens as well as, potentially, medications to control the condition. You should not try to self-medicate for anxiety disorders, and should only medicate per the medical advice and supervision of a psychiatrist.
One of the most common and effective treatments for anxiety disorders is continued and guided therapy with a professional counselor or therapist.
The branch of therapy known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be effective for many people, as it helps patients suffering from anxiety disorders create new, positive thought pathways that can help when in anxious situations. There are three different types of CBT, each with an individualized approach in treatment, including interpersonal therapy, thought records, and modern exposure therapy.
Another form of therapy is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, also known as ACT. This form of therapy is more focused on mindfulness training and taking action based on personal values, and is unique in that it is not focused on symptom reduction.
Shifting Your Perspective
Read Also: What Anxiety And Depression Feels Like
Make Wake And Sleep Times Ritualized And Routine
According to a release from the National Alliance on Mental Illness that outlines mental-health coping strategies to invoke during this pandemic, having regular routines can be crucial for combatting stress and feelings of anxiety. That means, regardless of whether you’ve committed yourself to one before or not, now is a great time to start a morning routine and bedtime routine. Likewise, having a regular bedtime, is absolutely essential, but there’s a right and wrong way to go about it. Generally speaking, you want to make sure that you’re only using your mattress for sleeping time.
“Make sure to get up at the same time every morning sleeping in is only going to worsen things,” says sleep specialist Shelby Harris, PsyD, author of The Womenâs Guide to Overcoming Insomnia. “Donât get into bed until youâre actually sleepy. If youâre not sleepy or sleeping, staying in bed complicates things as well. Get up and do something quiet, relaxing, and in dim light with no screens until you are sleepyâthen get in bed.” It might take some trial-and-error experimenting to set your new wake-and-sleep times , but once you find the two slots that you’re comfortable with, stick with them.
Relaxation Techniques For Calming Anxiety At Night
In addition to psychotherapy, there are also special mind and body techniques that can calm anxiety at night. The American Psychological Association reported on one research study, which looked at the effectiveness of relaxation techniques for calm anxiety at night and anxiety symptoms. The study divided individuals with GAD into two groups: the first group was given an 8-week course in mindfulness meditation, while the second group was given a placebo treatment . After the 8 weeks, it was found that those who had practiced mindfulness meditation showed lower levels of anxiety when compared to those who received the placebo treatment.
Also Check: How To Beat Health Anxiety
How To Calm Anxiety And Get Better Sleep
Although the impacts of anxiety disorders can be substantial, they are one of the most treatable mental health disorders. This doesnt mean that reducing anxiety is always simple, but there are treatments that can help.
Any person who has persistent or significant anxiety and/or sleeping problems should talk with a doctor who can best assess their situation and discuss the benefits and downsides of the potential treatment options in their case.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common treatment for anxiety disorders. It is a type of talk therapy that works to reorient negative thinking, and it has had success in decreasing anxiety. Studies have found that CBT can often reduce anxiety even in people who have insomnia. Addressing anxiety can pave the way for better sleep, but severe cases of insomnia may persist after CBT for anxiety. CBT for insomnia may be a useful next step in these cases.
Several different types of medications are approved to treat anxiety disorders including anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, and beta-blockers. These medications are intended to mitigate symptoms rather than cure the underlying anxiety.
Because of the multifaceted relationship between anxiety and sleep, getting better rest may help combat feelings of anxiety. Building healthy sleep habits can make going to bed a more pleasant experience and facilitate a consistent routine to enhance sleep.
- Was this article helpful?