Waking Up With Anxiety Attack
If you have found yourself waking up with an anxiety attack or especially waking up with anxiety in the middle of the night then you may be experiencing a nightmare that caused a lot of distress or a nocturnal panic attack.
The symptoms you may get to experience are very similar to those of a panic attack which includes:
- Increased heart rate
- Shaking or trembling
- Feeling dizzy
- Chest pain or discomfort
If waking up with an anxiety attack in the middle of the night, you may be suffering from something called nocturnal panic attacks, but know that anxiety attacks and panic attacks differ in nature.
According to Dave Carbonell, Ph.D. A nocturnal panic attack is a panic attack which occurs in the midst of your sleep, waking you up for no apparent reason, which is more likely to be experienced by people with panic disorder.
However, this can make you feel disoriented upon waking or extremely frightened not knowing what is really going on.
This happens to many people with an anxiety disorder where they go to sleep and wake up feeling anxious and with stress. If you want to wake up and start your day calm, find out the best alarm clocks for anxiety.
They could think I hate waking up to this and even suffer from insomnia or fearing falling asleep, feeling they might get the same result the next morning.
Even though it is not ideal, try not to be discouraged by it since it is something quite common and with ways to minimize it.
Create Some Space To Unwind
When everything is done for the night and ready for the next day, you do need some time each evening to simply relax, let go, and re-energize. A few ideas:
- Practice a relaxation technique, such as deep breathing, journaling, or yoga.
- Read a book.
- Unwind with a warm bath or cup of tea.
Regardless of what brings you serenity, set aside at least 10 minutes of downtime each evening. Doing so allows you to feel calmer and may be the prompt you need to get a good nights rest.
What To Do If You Can’t Sleep
The relationship between sleep and mental health is cyclical. If you have poor sleep, you’re likely to feel tired the next day, which can make things even more difficult and stressful, which can make anxiety worse and result in another night of disturbed sleep. If you are struggling with anxiety and have trouble falling asleep, though, there are steps you can take.
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Why Anxiety Increases At Night
Theres no one easy explanation as to why anxiety increases at night for some people. Instead, it can be the result of a variety of factors.
One explanation is that when the lights go out and all is quiet, there is less distraction and more opportunity for worry and rumination about your career, finances, or relationships. Difficulty falling asleep may also unleash its own set of worries about how well you’ll be able to function the following day.
Other reasons why anxiety increases at night may include:
- Drinking too much caffeine during the day or close to bedtime, which can make some people jittery and more anxious
- Experiencing a recent trauma or having pre-existing post-traumatic stress disorder
- Health anxiety, or noticing aches and pains more while trying to fall asleep
- Having certain medical conditions one study linked nighttime anxiety to menopause, for example
- Worry or fear over the next day
Other Causes Of Anxiety In The Morning
All of these are potential causes of waking up with anxiety, and this is not an exhaustive list. It’s possible to wake up with anxiety simply because youve had fights with a significant other in the morning in the past. Some people experience morning-time hypoglycemia , which has been linked to the development of anxiety symptoms. Some people also get panic attacks in their sleep which causes a person to wake up significantly distressed. There are several issues related to anxiety disorders that may cause you to wake up anxious, many of which we have discussed today.
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What Is Anxiety What Are Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a feeling of worry and unease. Its normal to experience anxiety occasionally in response to fearful or stressful situations.
In anxiety disorders, this distress becomes excessive. Fears are not proportional to the situation, and worrying interferes with everyday life. These feelings become persistent, occurring most days for a period of six months or more.
Treatment For Anxiety At Night
Getting good quality sleep is so important for a healthy and happy life it impacts on everything from your physical and mental health to your career and relationships. Creating positive sleep habits can begin with discovering relaxation techniques like breathing exercises. These are even available to download as an app on your phone, so you can learn the principles of meditation from the comfort of your own home.
Wind down by taking a warm bath before bed and ensure that your bedroom is a haven of calm. We are all addicted to our phones these days. Implement a no-electronics rule in the evening and make a conscious effort to use the time to re-charge yourself and not just your phone.
You can also invest in some blackout blinds or curtains for your bedroom to keep it dark. Your body interprets light as a signal to wake up, so blocking out any street lights or early morning sunshine may help you stay asleep longer.
Make sure you exercise regularly, because exercise will help in two ways. First, it helps combat anxiety by boosting your mood and reducing stress. Second, being physically tired will help you sleep better and make you less likely to suffer from disturbances like restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea.
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How Anxiety Can Affect Sleep
Lack of sleep can lead to increased chances of anxiety, but anxiety can also cause a lack of sleep. Unfortunately, the two can intertwine quite a bit, causing one to exacerbate the other.
Anxiety can have a negative effect on your bodys ability to fall asleep as your brain is in fight or flight mode, thinking of all potential outcomes for whatever is causing the anxiety. Furthermore, anticipatory anxiety and specific anxiety about sleep can lead to sleep disturbance and insomnia, which then creates a feedback loop that can make both conditions worsen. Insomnia can also make you more irritable and more worried, as your brain is not getting all the sleep it needs in order to function at normal levels.
However, its not uncommon to experience anxiety related to sleep. As Winnie Yu, a writer for WebMD noted in her article Scared to Sleep, sleep anxiety is a form of performance anxiety. Many people may stress about not getting enough sleep to function, but the stress alone of trying to sleep can cause people to sit awake for hours. Additionally, other fears such as recurring nightmares, fear of sleep apnea , and more can all lead to disturbed sleep.
What To Do When You Wake Up Anxious At Night
Get out of bed. This is a strategy for dealing with insomnia and sleep-maintenance insomnia that experts like Runko teach their patients, and it comes from CBT for insomnia .
If youre anxious, youre physiologically more awake, which can lead to conditioned arousal, she says.
Move away from your bed and try a calm, sedentary activity that you consider to be a pleasant distraction. That can include TV , meditation, or reading a book.
Once you are again drowsy, go back to bed.
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If You Can’t Sleep Get Up
Insomnia is frustrating, but lying in bed and trying to get to sleep is only going to make you feel worse. If you can’t get back to sleep within 20 minutes, get up.
“Some people get a sleep phobia where they get fixated on not being able to get to sleep, which can become a big anxiety worry,” Lidbetter says. “If you can’t go to sleep, get up and do something else. Reading can be therapeutic or you could practise mindfulness.
“Anxiety UK has a strong partnership with the Headspace people, which is a great app and something you can just practise which is relatively easy to do. It just sets the scene for a restful night’s sleep because it calms down your sympathetic nervous system and puts you into relaxation mode.”
What Is The Relationship Between Anxiety And Sleep
Serious sleep disturbances, including insomnia, have long been recognized as a common symptom of anxiety disorders. People who are plagued with worry often ruminate about their concerns in bed, and this anxiety at night can keep them from falling asleep.
In fact, a state of mental hyperarousal, frequently marked by worry, has been identified as a key factor behind insomnia. People with anxiety disorders are inclined to have higher sleep reactivity, which means they are much more likely to have sleeping problems when facing stress.
Sleeping difficulties have been found for people with various types of anxiety including generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, and PTSD. In several studies, over 90% of people with PTSD associated with military combat have reported symptoms of insomnia.
Distress about falling asleep can itself complicate matters, creating a sleep anxiety that reinforces a persons sense of dread and preoccupation. These negative thoughts about going to bed, a type of anticipatory anxiety, can create challenges to healthy sleep schedules and routines.
At the same time, strong evidence indicates that sleeping problems are not only a symptom of anxiety. Instead, sleep deprivation can instigate or worsen anxiety disorders. Researchers have found that people who are prone to anxiety are especially sensitive to the effects of insufficient sleep, which can provoke symptoms of anxiety.
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Be Cautious Of Caffeine
Some research indicates that people with anxiety disorders are particularly susceptible to the effects of caffeine, which is believed to worsen the symptoms of anxiety.
“Caffeine promotes and increases anxiety,” Gelbart says. You may want to limit your morning coffee intake or avoid it altogether. Gelbart recommends switching to decaf coffee or black tea, or sipping a glass of lemon water in the morning instead.
Sleep Schedule And Hygiene
Improving sleep hygiene habits, which includes going to bed and waking up at a consistent time daily, can help improve your ability to stay asleep. Its important to set up a bedroom that facilitates sleep . This will help limit stimuli that could wake you up at night and make it easier to fall asleep.
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Set Out Your Clothes For Tomorrow
Your closet might be packed with items you love but all of those options can lead to decision fatigue, or the exhaustion and stress thats associated with having too many options to choose from. Getting dressed in the morning sounds like a simple task for any adult, but for some, it really can be wearing. If this sounds like you, try setting out your outfit the night before to see if doing so can help combat some of that morning stress. This process is you looking out for your future self, alleviating some of the jitters that come after sunrise.
Anxiety And Sleep Research
There is, however, plenty of research on how anxiety can affect sleep and vice versa.
According to the ADAA, research shows that sleep disorders occur in almost all psychiatric disorders.
In a small 2015 study , researchers examined the relationship between cognitive behavioral therapy and sleep quality in people with anxiety. Researchers found that both sleep quality and sleep latency improved in participants who responded to CBT.
The researchers believe that targeting sleep problems during anxiety treatment might be beneficial for those who have trouble sleeping.
Its important to remember that it can take time to find the right treatment approach for your anxiety. Because of this, you and your doctor may choose to use a variety of different treatment options.
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Why Do I Wake Up With Anxiety
Feeling anxious in the morning is common for people with and without anxiety disorders, says Mayra Mendez, PhD, a licensed psychotherapist.
Although there’s not a lot of research specific to morning anxiety, many mental health practitioners see it in their practice. Oftentimes, putting a name to the condition is helpful.
“Many people are comforted to know there is a syndrome, and that what they are experiencing is not unique to them,” says Moe Gelbart, PhD, the director of Behavioral Health at Torrance Memorial Medical Center.
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Sometime situations and feelings can be so strong that we struggle to function. You are not alone! My practice is flexible and open-minded and tailored to your personal needs.
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May 31st, 2016 5:08pm
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Okay So What Can I Do To *stop* Feeling Anxious In The Am
If you feel anxious on some mornings when you have big events or things on your mind, here are five ways to cope that you can do on your own:
If morning anxiety is just a one-off thing for you, another solution is to think realistically about the day you have before you. Remember that whatever youre worrying about isnt as big a deal as youre making it out to be in your head.
But if you are dealing with anxiousness in the morning all the damn time and think you might have clinical anxiety, the first thing to do is to make an appointment with your doctor, who can refer you to a therapist. Therapy can help you learn to cope with your anxiety. While it might not put a stop to your anxious thoughts completely , therapy can teach you ways to make the anxiety go away faster.