Can your anxiety cause you to lose sleep? It definitely can. If this is the case for you, try following these tips for improving the quality of your sleep.
It is a familiar scene: you are dead tired and ready to fall asleep as soon as you hit the pillow. But as soon as you settle down, your mind begins racing. You keep thinking about everything you need to do tomorrow, everything you should have done today, how you should’ve replied to that email, how you could be more productive during the day.
You look at the clock and you see that several hours have passed and you haven’t slept a wink.
Is Anxiety-Induced Insomnia Normal?
Unfortunately, this is a phenomenon that is affecting more and more people every day. It is very common for anxiety to present itself at night and disrupt your sleep cycle. But, are you having trouble sleeping because of your anxiety or are you experiencing anxiety because you have trouble sleeping?
Research has shown that it is both. The disruption of sleep is a well-known symptom of mental health problems, such as anxiety. However, this issue is bidirectional, as a lack of sleep can lead to feeling increasingly anxious in your daily life.
If you’re unsure if what you are feeling is anxiety, some of the common symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous, worried, or restless
- Having trouble falling asleep or waking up during the night
- Having trouble focusing
- Experiencing gastrointestinal issues
- Experiencing panic attacks
While there has not been enough research conducted on why you might be more anxious at night, one of the many reasons is that you are not distracted by the activities that take up your concentration during the day.
Instead, your mind is free to larch on to things that worry you or to going through your to-do list for the next day.
What Can You Do About It?
Losing sleep is no laughing matter. Aside from anxiety, not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can lead to many other problems, including a higher risk of injury and the development of health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes, among many others.
Kallysleep says that sleep problems and mental health problems should be taken seriously. One of the most important things to do is seek help, whether from a physician or from a psychotherapy expert. Both sleep experts and mental health professionals can indicate which steps you should take in order to improve the quality of your sleep.
Most professionals will typically recommend treating both anxiety and sleep problems. Treatment usually takes the form of medication, therapy, or combining the two of them.
However, there are also some things you can do on your own to improve the quality of your sleep and, hopefully try to manage the anxiety, as well.
What You Can Do to Manage Anxiety and Improve Sleep
Develop a Routine
Try to go to bed and wake up every day at the same time. This will help your body become used to a sleep routine that will lead to better rest during your assigned sleep hours.
Try to keep this routine every single day of the week, even during the weekend. Waking up much later during Saturday and Sunday might not seem like a big deal, but even two days can disrupt your body clock.
Try to find a rhythm that feels natural for your body. If you are more of a night owl, you might feel more comfortable going to bed a little later and waking up later in the morning. This is fine as long as you keep the schedule regular.
You should also avoid napping, as it may cause difficulties with falling asleep at night.
Do Some Exercise
Try to add some exercise to your daily routine. Even a 30-minute walk can help your body burn more energy and be ready for some rest at night.
Please note that high-intensity workouts at night or close to your bedtime will be counterproductive because the activity makes you feel invigorated, which might keep you awake.
Try to do your workout outside as much as possible. Getting enough sunlight during the day will help you synchronize your body clock and help you attain a regular sleeping pattern.
Cut Back on Caffeine and Alcohol
Drinking too much coffee during the day, or consuming too much caffeine later at night can cause you to lose sleep and increase your anxiety. Try cutting back on the number of caffeinated drinks you consume during the day, and it is best if you avoid them after a certain time in the afternoon.
You might think that alcohol is good for sleep because it helps you fall asleep faster, but the truth is that alcohol can keep you up or even prevent you from achieving a deep sleep.
Try to keep hydrated during the day and drink lots of water. However, avoid drinking large amounts of water before going to sleep, as it will increase your need to use the bathroom and that can keep you awake.
Try to Relax Your Mind
There is a lot of evidence that suggests that meditation or activities that lead to mind relaxation can help decrease anxiety and stress, as well as improve the quality of your sleep.
Even if it’s just five minutes while you are already lying in bed, meditation and calming your mind can have incredible benefits to your rest.
A good way of telling your brain that it’s time to sleep is avoiding screens at least an hour before going to bed. The lights of the screen tell the brain that it is daytime and that it should be awake. Try doing other relaxing activities before bed, instead of scrolling through your phone. You may also want to invest in Anti-Anxiety blanket which has been designed to hugged and embraced and can lessen your anxiety levels.
Try implementing even a few of these changes in your routine and you should see an improvement in your anxiety and your sleep problems. If you are still not sleeping, talk to your doctor or your therapist so that they can help you find the correct treatment to help you sleep better.