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How To Relieve Anxiety To Sleep

Which Comes First The Chicken Or The Egg

Sleep better – Relieve Stress And Anxiety Before Bed

Before we get into the possible treatment of anxiety and recommendations for better sleep, it is important to distinguish which comes first the anxiety or the sleep disturbance? That is usually the main problem in the very diagnosis of anxiety or a sleep disorder.

As mentioned in the introduction, anxiety can cause sleep problems, and sleep problems can cause anxiety.

This means that there is a direct connection and causative relationship between anxiety and sleep problems.

Studies have shown that sleep disturbances directly co-occur with psychological disorders, like anxiety and depression.

Therefore, you as a patient need to discuss both of these issues with your doctor. You also need to treat both of them to see some relief to your mental health as well as improvement in the quality of your sleep.

If left untreated, anxiety, as well as disrupted sleep, can have harmful effects on your life they can cause cardiovascular problems, diabetes and stroke among others.

How Does Anxiety Cause Insomnia

Anxiety can disrupt sleep in a few ways.

The nighttime hours are quieter and there isnt as much going on, which gives you more time to think. You may focus on fears or other things in your life that are bothering you, which can make it hard to relax and fall asleep.

In addition, researchers believe that anxiety can cause you to have a number of false alarms of danger throughout the day. These episodes can lead to a state of feeling on edge, which can make it harder to fall and stay asleep.

Some people may also fear falling asleep, which is known as somniphobia. They may be scared of having nightmares, dying in their sleep, or sleep paralysis . Somniphobia can lead to sleep loss, extreme tiredness, and problems doing everyday activities.

How To Manage Anxiety And Get A Good Nights Sleep

Stress and anxiety are some of the most common reasons people toss and turn at night. Surveys estimate that about 24% to 36%of people with insomnia have an anxiety disorder, and these 2 problems can feed off each other.

If your anxiety is interfering with your sleep, it can seem like a waking nightmare. But there are a number of treatments to help you get some shuteye again.

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Falling Asleep With Anxiety

Worries keeping you up at night? Anxiety and sleep problems can feed off each other, but practicing relaxation and sound sleep habits can stop the cycle.

Does your mind race as soon your head hits the pillow? Does anxiety over work, money, or relationships keep you from going to sleep?

Its normal to be anxious from time to time. But when anxiety and emotional problems routinely get in the way of a good nights sleep, its time to take action before a potentially dangerous cycle begins.

Its really like a circular pattern — emotional problems can affect sleep, and lack of sleep can affect peoples emotions, said David Neubauer, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins Medicine and associate director at the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center in Baltimore, Md. There is quite a bit of overlap between symptoms of insomnia and anxiety and other mood disorders.

The Sleep You Get Is Equal To The Sleep You Give

How Good Sleep Reduces Anxiety

Getting enough sleep is up to you. How much are you willing to give yourself? Just enough to allow yourself to stagger through life? Or the full amount you need to walk with calm purpose? Keep track of your sleep habits. If you have trouble sleeping night after night, or if you feel tired day after day, you could have a sleep disorder. Talk to your primary care physician or a sleep specialist to get the support you need. Whatever the case may be, committing to healthy sleep over the long term can help reduce your anxiety.

Now, are you interested to know why the doctor tells his patients to make their bed every morning after a good night’s sleep?

It’s to demonstrate how healthy sleep makes it easier to give ourselves the little acts of kindness that can change our day and in effect, our lives.

How about giving yourself a BIG act of kindness? Sleep!

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How To Fall Asleep With Anxiety: 23 Proven Mind Tricks

One of the leading causes of major sleeping disorders, like insomnia, are anxiety disorders. The prevalence of cases in which sleeplessness was associated with anxiety are numerous and oftentimes accompanied by phobias, panic disorders, and traumatic stress disorder.

Therefore, people who have anxiety also have a hard time falling and staying asleep.

Many people even develop sleep anxiety, which further affects their sleep pattern and sleep quality. The deal with sleep and anxiety is that both affect each other sleeplessness makes you anxious about not being able to fall asleep, and anxiety itself causes you not to fall asleep in the first place.

So, in the following paragraphs, were going to take a look at the best ways you can fall and stay asleep, even if you have anxiety.

But, before we begin, we need to point out that in order to take any advice from the Internet, you first need to consult the recommendations with your designated doctor.

Your doctor will see how these recommendations fit your therapy plan and whether they could help better your sleep.

Tips For Beating Anxiety To Get A Better Nights Sleep

Many people with anxiety disorders have trouble sleeping. That’s a problem. Too little sleep affects mood, contributing to irritability and sometimes depression. Vital functions occur during different stages of sleep that leave you feeling rested and energized or help you learn and forge memories. Sleep usually improves when an anxiety disorder is treated. Practicing good “sleep hygiene” helps, too. Here are some steps to take:

For additional tips and strategies for living with anxiety, buy Coping with Anxiety and Stress Disorders, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

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Listen To Soothing Music

Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body.

Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.

Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too .

Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why theyre often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.


Sleep Issues Common To Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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Up to three-quarters of people with GAD experience fatigue, insomnia, and fretful sleep. As with many anxiety disorders, the arousal caused by the anxiety heightens alertness and interferes with ones ability to sleep. Its difficult to fall asleep in the first place, and the sleep one does get is often fragmented and less refreshing. As a result, individuals become sleep deprived and experience fatigue during their waking hours.

Because sleep becomes associated with worry instead of rest, anxiety develops around bedtime, in addition to the other anxious thoughts one is dealing with. Add to this increased worry about how well youll function the following day due to being sleep deprived.

Sleep deprivation worsens mood and increases irritability for everyone, regardless of whether theyre dealing with GAD. However, research from 2013 suggests that individuals who are prone to worry the kind of people at risk of developing an anxiety disorder like GAD are even more susceptible to the negative effects of sleep deprivation surrounding their mood and ability to regulate their emotions. When individuals with GAD are sleep deprived, theyre even more on edge, anxious about the future and anticipating threats.

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The Conventional Approach Falls Short With Insomnia & Anxiety At Night

As a layperson with a passion for health, one of my biggest frustrations with the conventional philosophy in Western medicine is their unwillingness to look at the big picture. In general most health & wellness complaints are treated as single, isolated problems.

This leads our healthcare to be both reactive and surface level .

Im really thankful that I decided to start digging in and asking questions over a decade ago, which continues to this day.

In my experience, most conventional doctors offer just two options for a patient with anxiety at night and sleep trouble:

  • 1) Do nothing, or tell you to try relaxing
  • 2) Pharmaceutical medications

In reality, there are SO many other options to try.

Read But Not On Your Phone

Getting lost a book is beneficial for many reasons, and it can be pivotal to sleep health.

Reading is a great way to quiet your mind and distract yourself from any anxious thoughts that might creep up at night. When you are engaged in a story, your thoughts are in the moment, instead of worrying about the future, says Dr. Sal Raichbach, a licensed clinical social worker at Ambrosia Treatment Center. On the other hand, the blue light emitted from cell phones does the opposite. Even if you turn down the brightness, blue light from LED screens interferes with the production of essential brain chemicals like melatonin that tell your body it’s time for bed.

Pick up a real book, and I recommend from extensive experience with insomnia, that you pick the densest, dullest tome in your collection.

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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.

Sleep Issues Common To Panic Disorder

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People with panic disorder often wake up due to breathing complaints, and sleep disturbances are worse for those with comorbid depression.

Nocturnal panic attacks are common for individuals with panic disorder. Nighttime panic attacks rouse individuals from sleep with an alarming combination of sweating, increased heart rate, dizziness, chest pain, hyperventilation, alternating sensations of hot flashes or chills, and shortness of breath. Theyre terrifying and dont appear to have an obvious trigger.

Nighttime panic attacks are similar to daytime panic attacks, but even more fear-inducing because they interrupt a person when theyre most vulnerable, while theyre asleep. The attack itself will last only a few minutes, but it takes a significant amount of time for the individual to calm down again to return to sleep. As a result, people with nocturnal panic attacks often experience less sleep overall and more disturbed sleep, leading to sleep deprivation.

Nighttime panic attacks are linked with other sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, sleep paralysis, nightmares, and night terrors:

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A Guided Meditation To Help You Sleep

I have found that this exercise helps, but Ive been forgetting one crucial part of my body: my face.

Focus on relaxing one’s eyes and face a common area overlooked when trying to relax, says Dr. Paul Coleman, a psychologist, motivational speaker and the author of Finding Peace When Your Heart Is In Pieces: A Step-by-Step Guide to the other side of Grief, Loss, and Pain. Imagine a simple relaxing scene to focus on. Keep going back to that image if your mind wanders.

Make A Pledge To Accept Uncertainty

Your anxiety may be tied to a problem that is understandably keeping you up at night. But you have to let it go if only for this moment.

Repeat the phrase I accept uncertainty for now. I will take action when action is possible, says Coleman. Accepting uncertainty is crucial because otherwise one is resisting uncertainty at a time when resisting only adds to tension.

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Turn Down The Noise In Your Head For A More Restful Night

As you tuck into bed at night, do the thoughts in your brain refuse to slow down when you turn off the lights? Instead of winding down, its a wave of worries about everything from paying your credit card bill on time to an upcoming meeting with your boss. That non-stop chatter about what might occur tomorrow is a sign of anxiety and, for many, its a serious roadblock to getting a good nights sleep.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the number of people struggling with anxiety is staggering. Anxiety has become the number one mental health issue in North America, affecting approximately 40 million Americans . Some estimates put this number higher at around 30% since many people with anxiety dont know they have it or dont seek treatment.

Simply put, its a national epidemic.

When it comes to sleep, anxiety is a key part of a toxic cycle because it makes getting to sleep and staying asleep difficult. Whats more, it becomes a source of worry itself, worsening the original anxiety a chicken-and-egg problem. Did the anxiety cause poor sleep or did poor sleep cause anxiety? One feeds the other, experts say.

The bad news is that even as you manage to nod off, your anxiety is still active. While we sleep, our mind is still active and maybe processing information, she says. If we dont take time throughout the day to process information and to unwind, then stress/anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Why Is It So Hard To Sleep When You Have Anxiety

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Lets start with a little about how sleep works.

Sleep happens by balancing two forces that oppose each other. The first force is called sleep pressure. Basically, the longer you are up, the stronger this force becomes. If you are up for 16 hours, youll be tired. After 24 hours of being awake, sleep is more likely. And after 72 hours, it becomes difficult to stay awake.

The second force resists sleep pressure by pushing you awake. This force is an alerting signal that cycles based on an internal clock. It gets stronger as the day progresses and then is supposed to drop off at night. When this force drops in the evening, all the sleep pressure you built up during the day pushes you to sleep.

So how does anxiety affect this? The alerting signal force runs off many of the same neurochemicals anxiety uses. This is likely a great adaptive trait that aided our survival in the past. Imagine you were being chased by a pack of wolves. That would be a really bad time to go to sleep. Anytime you feel anxious, worried or threatened, the alerting signal gets stronger. Its your brains way of saying, If this is a threat, you should stay awake and deal with it.

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