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How To Sleep With Anxiety

/ Be Strict About Sleep Hygiene

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

Its important for everyone, but particularly if youre prone to insomnia. That means leaving phones outside of the bedroom and no screen time two hours before trying to sleep. Not only does the blue light mess with our Circadian rhythm, but checking emails or social media can up anxiety levels. If you know you run through a mental to-do list the second you’re distraction-free, then write out everything you need to remember for tomorrow, on paper, before you begin to wind-down.

To ensure your circadian rhythm isn’t being disrupted throughout the evening, try wearing a pair of blue light blocking glasses

Challenges To Your Mental Health

Being tired makes it harder to cope. Over time, this can affect your self-esteem and mental health.

You may become lonely and skip social occasions. You might see fewer people. Isolation can lead to mental health problems.

Lack of sleep may also impact your mood and energy level. This could lead to negative thoughts.

Stay Away From Caffeinated Drinks

Eliminate caffeinated drinks and foods after 2:00 P.M. Caffeine affects people differently, so your cut off time may be a little earlier or later, but start with 2:00 P.M. and adjust as needed. The National Sleep Foundation identifies caffeine as a source of insomnia as well as anxiety, excessive urination, irritability and rapid heartbeat.

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Improving The Sleep Environment

This may not be the most necessary step towards a good nights sleep, even with anxiety. However, by taking care of where you sleep, and how your sleep environment looks like can improve the quality of your sleep.

So, if you want to be comfortable, relaxed and to finally fall and stay asleep, improving your sleep environment will definitely help. Heres what you can do

How To Calm Anxiety And Get Better Sleep

How To Sleep Better With Anxiety Get Rid of

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.

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Eric Suni

Staff Writer

Alex Dimitriu

Psychiatrist

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Dietary Habits To Promote Better Sleep

Below are some dietary tips you can employ that may help promote better sleep hygiene.

Refrain From Eating Three Hours Before Bedtime

It takes the body time to digest food after eating, which causes the metabolism to operate at night when the body is attempting to rest.

If you feel a need to eat before bed make sure it is something light that wouldnt delay sleep. For example, consuming anything with caffeine in it will make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Try Supplements That Promote Relaxation

Dietary supplements like magnesium, melatonin, and ashwagandha are sometimes used to help calm the mind and body and settle the nerves.

Melatonin is one of the most popular dietary supplements used to help with sleep. In a review of multiple studies, researchers found melatonin to benefit the sleep quality of those with sleeping disorders.

Melatonin helped individuals to fall asleep quicker and remain asleep longer. Melatonin was not as effective as certain sleep medications, but some individuals would rather try a supplement for sleep before resorting to sleeping medication that may have side effects.

Unfortunately, supplements like melatonin and ashwagandha may not benefit every person and could cause a reverse effect that negatively impacts sleep, anxiety, and depression.

Try Herbal Tea

Anxiety And Insomnia Basics

If you struggle to fall asleep due to anxiety, youre certainly not alone. An estimated 19.1 percent of American adults dealt with anxiety disorders in the past year, and more than 35 percent of all adults have been affected by short sleep duration .

Anxiety can vary in severity. Types of anxiety and anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and specific phobias, such as intense fears that are linked to specific objects or situations.

While its normal to feel anxious from time to time, chronic, severe anxiety that occurs during the night can take a major toll on your ability to relax and sleep properly.

The exact symptoms of anxiety can vary from person to person. You might feel overly worried about the future, for example, which prevents you from relaxing.

Some people may experience physical anxiety symptoms such as an elevated heart rate and a spike in blood pressure.

When nighttime

anxiety causes you to experience insomnia, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Spending much of the night awake

  • Lying in bed for a long time before youre able to fall asleep

  • Sleep disturbances that cause you to wake up at night or early in the morning

  • Feeling tired and as if you havent slept right after you wake up

This guide on the symptoms of anxiety has more details about the mental and physical experiences you may incur if youre prone to anxiety.

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How Can Medication Treat Sleep Anxiety

Your healthcare provider may recommend medication to treat anxiety or other mental health disorders. Medication can also help improve the symptoms of sleep-related disorders such as restless legs syndrome or insomnia.

But some medications might actually increase your anxiety or make sleeping harder when you first start taking them. If you experience these side effects, talk to your healthcare provider. Many over-the-counter sleep aids can also be habit-forming. Dont start any medication for anxiety or sleep without your healthcare providers supervision.

Hatch Rest+ Sound Machine And Nightlight

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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.

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What Tests Help Confirm A Sleep Anxiety Diagnosis

In some cases, your provider may do a sleep study to find out if you have a sleep disorder. Also called polysomnography, a sleep study is a test where you stay overnight in a sleep lab. Your healthcare provider evaluates how your body works during sleep by checking your:

  • Blood oxygen levels.
  • Snoring or other noises you make during sleep.

Try To Focus Your Mental Energy

In order to stop anxious and racing thoughts, try to focus your mental energy on something that you can imagine or something that you can see or hear in your bedroom, says Chloe Sica, a licensed psychologist in New Jersey and New York.

Sica suggests focusing on the white noise of a sound machine or a visual image that you find soothing, such as the crashing waves on a beach or the wind blowing the trees.

If you feel anxious or like you cant sleep, try getting up and gently moving such as walking around or stretching until you feel tired. Its important to avoid watching TV or using screens.

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When To See A Healthcare Provider

While there are ways to improve your sleep and anxiety at home, it is best to visit your healthcare provider if you continue to have difficulty sleeping or your symptoms worsen.

A provider can determine whether you have insomnia or an anxiety disorder or another sleep-related condition. They can also develop a specific treatment plan, which may include medication, therapy, and ways to manage stress.¹,

The Effects Of Sleep Deprivation

Get rid of sleep anxiety and insomnia: Your guide to a better night

A sleep debt can have serious ramifications on your anxiety levels. One study shows that severe sleep deprivation increases one’s state of anxiety, depression, and general distress relative to those who had a normal night of sleep. Another study shows that sleep deprived individuals reported a greater increase in anxiety during tasks and rated the likelihood of potential catastrophes as higher when sleep deprived, relative to when rested.

How much you sleep each night also determineshow well you can deal with anxiety and stress. When a person gets too little sleep, the deprivation acts as a chronic stressor that impairs brain functions and contributes to an overload on the body’s systems. This overload contributes to memory loss, brain fog, confusion, and depression, making it more difficult for a person to deal with stress. Furthermore, sleep deprivation creates an imbalance in hormone levels that drive anxiety levels higher. Too little sleep also boosts adrenaline levels that can exacerbate existing anxiety issues.

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Reason #: Poor Sleep Cycle

According to Lawson, insomnia and anxiety share a strong relationship, meaning sleep problems or insomnia can cause anxiety and vice versa.

If youve always been anxious or struggled to fall asleep, you may have developed a pattern of poor or interrupted sleep. This makes your body most susceptible to stress and insomnia. Types of Anxiety Disorders

Research also shows that sleep disorders occur in almost all psychiatric and anxiety disorders. Some of these include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder: Worry over everyday events, making it difficult to relax.
  • Social anxiety disorder: The anticipation of social situations can often prevent sleep at night.
  • Compulsive-obsessive disorder: Research suggests that intrusive thoughts and fears can keep people up when theyre trying to fall asleep.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder: The constant re-experiencing of traumatic events can induce nightmares and rob people of sleep.

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.

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When To Talk To Your Doctor

Working with a medical professional to improve your anxiety and related sleep issues can be helpful, especially if your symptoms begin to interfere with your daily life and lifestyle changes have not provided relief. There are a variety of professionals who can help you.

  • Primary care physician: PCPs are typically the first line of contact for any health condition. They can prescribe medications but may refer you to a specialist or therapist to help with specific symptoms relating to anxiety and sleep.
  • Sleep specialist: These medical professionals work in sleep centers and may concentrate on specific sleep disorders, such as insomnia, narcolepsy, or sleep apnea. Sleep specialists can guide individuals through several types of sleep studies to diagnose their sleep conditions.
  • Therapist: Individuals seeking CBT for either their anxiety or sleep issues can look to therapists for help. A therapist can help you identify anxiety roots and triggers and then guide you through gradually changing your thoughts and behavior.
  • Psychiatrist: Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental health. They can diagnose mental health conditions, like anxiety disorders, and prescribe medicine as treatment.

Do A Bedroom Makeover

How Does Anxiety Affect Sleep? How To Sleep With Anxiety

Another helpful trick is to make your bedroom a place for nothing but sleep. For some people living in small loft apartments, this might be tricky, but by putting up a divider or curtain, you may be able to simulate a similar separate room effect.

Regardless, redecorating your bedroom for a more comfortable and quiet environment can do wonders for your sleep health. Consider decluttering the room and regularly changing the bedding or adding a rug to make the space more appealing and comfortable.

If you come into your bedroom and still cant sleep, dont just lay there and wait for slumber to hit. Instead, get up after 15 minutes and work on some small projects until your body naturally feels sleepy.

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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.

/ Stick To A Sleep Routine

If you’re someone who struggles with their sleep, it can be tempting to ‘catch up’ on those lost hours at the weekend. This can only exacerbate your sleep problems though. Having a routine that you stick to ‘helps to anchor your circadian rhythm and allows your body to anticipate waking and sleep times by releasing the right hormones at the right times,’ says sleep expert Dr Sophie Bostock.

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So Those Are The Three Steps That You Can Take When Youre Trying To Sleep Better When You Have Anxiety

Theres another thing that you can do and that is grounding.

I have an excellent free grounding meditation that you can listen to, and it will take you through the steps that you need to ground and anchor your energy in the present.

It stops your thoughts and your energy from floating around out there like space junk, brings everything back into you and allows you to connect with the core of the earth again.

Grounding is what you want when youre winding down and trying to relax and get a full energizing and restorative sleep at the end of the day.

Tonight, follow the above steps to sleep better when you have anxiety, and have a nice, wonderful and relaxing peaceful sleep.

Love + light

Create A Comfortable Sleep Environment

Anxiety And Sleep Deprivation

Maintaining a comfortable sleep environment often means using your sleep space or bedroom only for rest and intimacy, such as sleep and sex. Try not to do things in your bedroom or bed that might shift your focus from rest, such as watching TV or working on a computer.

Try sleeping in a cool, dark space thats free from any noises or distractions. Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable and supportive, too.

Consider sleeping with a weighted blanket.

Sleeping under a weighted blanket feels like a deep hug, which is incredibly relaxing for most people, Hsu says. This simple tool is

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