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How To Sleep With Insomnia And Anxiety

Whats Causing Your Insomnia

Sleep, Anxiety, and Insomnia: How to Sleep Better When You’re Anxious
  • Are you under a lot of stress?
  • Are you depressed? Do you feel emotionally flat or hopeless?
  • Do you struggle with chronic feelings of anxiety or worry?
  • Have you recently gone through a traumatic experience?
  • Are you taking any medications that might be affecting your sleep?
  • Do you have any health problems that may be interfering with sleep?
  • Is your bedroom quiet and comfortable?
  • Do you try to go to bed and get up around the same time every day?

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.

Avoid Using Unhealthy Coping Strategies To Fall Asleep

You may be using coping tactics like keeping the light or TV on during the night, in an attempt to help you sleep.

Or you may have been using medication, alcohol or drugs to go to sleep and if so, it is highly recommended that you stop. These wont be addressing the real issues behind why you arent sleeping, and are only providing you with a short term solution, which could turn into a long term problem in the future.

Finding relaxation strategies that work for you, such as muscle relaxation or visual imagery, can help to distract you from your anxious thoughts. You may even want to find some relaxing music to accompany this. Doing these types of relaxation strategies do require dedication and patience, but over time, they can start to help you to sleep better.

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Do you suffer from insomnia and anxiety? This is a problem that plagues millions of Americans every day. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that plagues 3 million Americans every day. Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million Americans and is one of the most common mental illnesses today. Anxiety or insomnia creates a vicious cycle.

Why do people suffer from insomnia from anxiety? Anxiety causes a “fight-or-flight” response that causes floods the body with adrenaline. The person in question may experience heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and lack of focus in their daily life. While they may feel exhausted, the heightened sense of anxiety causes fear and worry that make it hard to fall asleep. This leads to insomnia.

Get A Bed That Fits You

Insomnia Causes and Treatment

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 plush mattress yet, the Casper Nova provides sturdy support with a luxuriously soft top layer so you can sleep worry-free.

Also Check: Can You Go To Urgent Care For Anxiety

What To Do When Insomnia Wakes You Up In The Middle Of The Night

Many people with insomnia are able to fall asleep at bedtime, but then wake up in the middle of the night. They then struggle to get back to sleep, often lying awake for hours. If this describes you, the following tips may help.

Stay out of your head. Hard as it may be, try not to stress over your inability to fall back to sleep, because that stress only encourages your body to stay awake. To stay out of your head, focus on the feelings in your body or practice breathing exercises. Take a breath in, then breathe out slowly while saying or thinking the word, Ahhh. Take another breath and repeat.

Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. If you find it hard to fall back to sleep, try a relaxation technique such as visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation, which can be done without even getting out of bed. Even though its not a replacement for sleep, relaxation can still help rejuvenate your mind and body.

Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity. If youve been awake for more than 20 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet, non-stimulating activity, such as reading a book. Keep the lights dim and avoid screens so as not to cue your body that its time to wake up.

Relaxation techniques that can help you get back to sleep

Mindfulness meditation. Sit or lie quietly and focus on your natural breathing and how your body feels in the moment. Allow thoughts and emotions to come and go without judgment, always returning to focus on breath and your body.

Find Relaxing Sleep With Weighted Blankets

You don’t have to suffer from poor sleep night after night. By following sound medical advice and practicing mindfulness before bed, you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. In turn, when you feel better rested in the morning, it will be easier to keep feelings of anxiety in check during the day.

Hush Blankets are a great way to help reduce nighttime anxiety. By using deep touch pressure therapy, our blankets provide a soothing, calming effect when you get in bed. You will feel at peace as you drift off to sleep in what feels like a soft hug.

Order your own weighted blanket or weighted throw today and feel the difference for yourself. We’re so sure that our blankets will help you get your best sleep that each of our blankets is backed by a 100-night guarantee.

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Anxiety And Insomnia: Whats The Link

Anxiety and insomnia seem to go together, especially when stress is involved.

Anxiety is a natural response your body has to stress or fear, which can already wreak havoc on your sleep.

The American Psychological Association notes that 43 percent of Americanadults report that stress has caused them to lie awake at night in the past month. And, poor sleep habits have been linked to illnesses like depressionand anxiety.

Falling Asleep And Anxiety

How to deal with sleep anxiety and improve your sleep when you have chronic insomnia

The time before you go to sleep is a difficult one for anxiety sufferers. This is because all the worries you have accumulated over the course of the day choose now to float through your mind. Being alone in a dark room doing nothing but lying there with your worries allows you no distractions from them, which often allow them to seem to grow bigger and bigger and spiral out of control.

Recommended Reading: What Does Anxiety Do To Your Body

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.

The Relationship Between Sleep And Mental Health

The relationship between mental health and sleep isnt entirely understood yet. But according to Harvard Health Publishing, neurochemistry studies and neuroimaging suggests:

  • an adequate nights sleep helps nurture both mental and emotional resilience
  • chronic sleep disruptions might generate negative thinking and emotional sensibility

Its also implied that treating insomnia may help alleviate the symptoms associated with an anxiety disorder and vice versa.

Also Check: How To Deal With Anxiety

Sleeping Pills Can Have Serious Or Even Deadly Side Effects

All sedative-hypnotic drugs have special risks for older adults. Seniors are likely to be more sensitive to the drugs effects than younger adults.

And these drugs may stay in their bodies longer.

The drugs can cause confusion and memory problems that:

  • More than double the risk of falls and hip fractures. These are common causes of hospitalization and death in older people.
  • Increase the risk of car accidents.

How Insomnia Affects Daily Life

Anxiety and Insomnia

Teens with symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder that are severe enough to affect everyday life are likely to also have significant insomnia and depressive symptoms at the same time. Therefore, those who feel anxious for the majority of the day for no apparent reason, and think this anxious feeling is having a negative impact on their life, should consider if they are also struggling to fall or stay asleep most days of the week, and/or consistently have a very low mood. Should this be the case, then treatment for insomnia and/or depressive symptoms could help alleviate GAD symptoms, and vice-versa.

The results suggest that insomnia is associated with other anxiety disorders through a common factor: depression. That is, if depression is eliminated from the equation, then insomnia is no longer associated with subtypes of anxiety other than GAD. Therefore, should depression be treated, then symptoms of anxiety subtypes and/or insomnia may also be alleviated. Also, considering that insomnia was associated with depression, treating insomnia may alleviate depression, which in turn may also alleviate symptoms of anxiety subtypes.

Also Check: Do Antidepressants Work For Anxiety

Habits That Cause Insomnia And Disrupt Sleep

While treating underlying physical and mental issues is a good first step, it may not be enough to cure your insomnia. You also need to look at your daily habits. Some of the things youre doing to cope with insomnia may actually be making the problem worse.

For example, maybe youre using sleeping pills or alcohol to fall asleep, which disrupts sleep even more over the long-term. Or maybe you drink excessive amounts of coffee during the day, making it harder to fall asleep later. Other daytime habits that can negatively impact your ability to sleep at night include having an irregular sleep schedule, napping, eating sugary foods or heavy meals too close to bedtime, and not getting enough exercise or exercising too late in the day.

Not only can poor daytime habits contribute to insomnia, but a poor nights sleep can make these habits harder to correct, creating a vicious cycle of unrefreshing sleep:

Oftentimes, changing the habits that are reinforcing sleeplessness is enough to overcome the insomnia altogether. It may take a few days for your body to get used to the change, but once you do, youll sleep better.

If youre having trouble identifying insomnia-causing habits

Some habits are so ingrained that you may overlook them as a possible contributor to your insomnia. Maybe your Starbucks habit affects your sleep more than you realize. Or maybe youve never made the connection between that late-night glass of wine and your sleep difficulties.

Seeking Professional Support For Sleep Anxiety

If you are experiencing sleep anxiety, and it is continuing to have a dramatic impact on your life despite all attempts to improve it, it is highly recommended that you seek professional support to get access to specific coping mechanisms to help you manage your symptoms.

Firstly, you may want to go to your GP to talk through your problem. They will be able to listen and offer advice on the next steps available to you, which may include accessing a private healthcare service like Priory Group for an assessment, diagnosis and specialist treatment. You can also come directly to the Priory Group team, where our psychiatrists and therapists regularly work with people with anxiety disorders as well as sleep disorders such as insomnia.

Read Also: Why Does Anxiety Cause Nausea

Avoid Lying In Bed Awake

If youre lying in bed for more than 20 minutes and still cant fall asleep, it might be time to give yourself a do-over. While it may feel counterintuitive, Lawson suggests leaving your bedroom to do a sleep-inducing activity, like having a cup of tea or reading a book. This conditioning, known as stimulus control, can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.

If youre going to try stimulus control, its important to remove yourself from your bedroom environment. This helps give you a mental reset when you try to fall asleep again.

Accept That This Is Your Now

How Anxiety causes Insomnia (and how to sleep like a baby!)

Acceptance therapy a type of psychotherapy that allows you to sit with and process uncomfortable feelings can be particularly useful for insomnia. “The more pressure you put on yourself to sleep, the more you won’t sleep. So one strategy is to accept the sleeplessness and insomnia in order to reduce the anxiety to facilitate sleep,” Tal says. “It is sort of reverse psychology, the more you don’t care, the more likely you will sleep.”

For me, this sometimes meant repeating the following to myself when I was in bed and couldn’t sleep: “This is my current reality. It won’t always be this way, but this is how it is right now, and that’s okay.” Thank your brain for trying to keep you safe with its anxious thinking, Tal suggests. Don’t treat those thoughts as a sign of any kind of “brokeness.” My anger at my own brain was one of the hardest things to overcome.

“By thanking your brain, it brings perspective to the anxiety and reduces the activation caused by it,” Tal says. “It also externalizes the anxiety as caused by my brain instead of myself, making it less of something that will last forever.”

Sometimes, though, the mantra I created became too effortful , so to speak, in that there was clearly an underlying agenda of please sleep attached. In those instances, it was best to just simply let go as best I could and do nothing.

But it’s not your indefinite reality, it’s only your now, and you will surely sleep again.

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