Published on 19 September 2021

Anxiety And Sleep: Connection, Treatment

Diagnosis and Treatment anxiety-and-sleep
Table of Contents

We are aware that nowadays, all over the world, many people are suffering or going through numerous mental health issues. Anxiety is one of them; sleep anxiety is a fear of going to sleep. Everyone goes through this sometimes. Few people have a distinct phobia or fear of sleep called homophobia. While they may think something terrible will happen to them while sleeping.

If you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, you may find it hard to fall asleep. Likewise, if you have insomnia, you may sense anxiety or fearfulness before bed because you are scared and won’t get the rest you need. One condition might cause many problems, so it feels like a never-ending cycle.   

Anxiety is often connected to sleeping problems. Excess of fear & stress makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep all night. Deprived sleep can worsen anxiety, stimulating a negative cycle including Anxiety and insomnia disorders.

An individual with anxiety disorder encounters both physical and mental symptoms. Hence, it is essential to understand and address the link between anxiety and insomnia for physical and emotional wellness.

Anxiety is a part of everyday life & it has hit every individual at some point. It is usual to feel anxious in response to fearful or stressful situations. To overcome anxiety, the first step is to eliminate sleeping problems.

You may consult with your healthcare professional & could also opt for specific natural remedies to overcome your anxiety

Connection Between Sleep And Anxiety

Anxiety can make it tough to fall asleep for someone. But in reverse, it is also possible that difficulty falling asleep can lead to stress. 

It's because getting enough sleep can reduce stress and improve mood. Taking enough sleep also benefits you in restoring your ability to think and remember things. Your sleep schedule also plays a vital role in your overall health. Sleeping at night and waking in the morning assist you in maintaining your natural biological clock. When you can't get enough sleep, it can lead to negative emotions, a buildup of stress, and anxiety.  

What Causes Sleep Anxiety?

Anxiety is part of a human being. We are meant to feel scared and worried in a dangerous situation. Anxiety and stress trigger our bodies to release the hormones that help us to react quickly in difficult situations to escape harm. However, if you have chronic anxiety, you might always feel feared or stressed. You may fear everyday situations like driving to work or falling asleep.

Chronically excessive high levels of these hormones can make it hard to relax your body, especially before sleep. You may face difficulty in falling asleep. Even if you do fall asleep, there might be a possibility of waking up at midnight with worrisome or stressful thoughts and not being able to fall asleep again.  

Anxiety and sleep problems can also be caused by insufficient thyroid hormone in your blood vessel (Hypothyroidism). Anxiety can cause dreams that may be disturbing or turn into nightmares that awake you during the night.  

Just as anxiety affects sleep, lack of sleep can also cause anxiety. Sleep Anxiety is a usual aspect of insomnia. One can experience anxiety throughout the day and evening of poor rest, which may help to generate another night of lack of sleep.

Why Does Anxiety Affect Sleep?

Anxiety has been marked as a crucial factor behind insomnia. An individual with anxiety disorder faces constant fear and stress, depriving them of sleep and leading to insomnia.

Sleep problem is the most common symptom of anxiety. Its problems can range from being unable to fall asleep to waking up in the middle of the night due to anxious thoughts.

In anxiety disorder, the distress becomes more excessive, leading to severe sleep disturbances. People burdened with stress often think about their concerns at bedtime, keeping them away from falling asleep. These thoughts can create challenges to a person’s healthy sleep schedule.

Sleeping difficulties have been found in people suffering from various types of anxiety. Even after falling asleep, a person might wake up anxious at midnight. You may perform meditation and breathing exercises to avoid this sleeping disorder naturally.

Does Anxiety Cause Insomnia, Or Is It The Other Way Around?

This question ideally depends on what you have to deal with first. Researchers have identified few connections between anxiety and insomnia. A similar study claims that people prone to anxiety are susceptible to sleep deficiency, which can cause insomnia.

Anxiety is the main reason causing sleep deprivation, and lack of sleep can trigger anxiety. It contributes to disturbed sleep in the form of insomnia or nightmares. It is also implied that treating insomnia may also help to reduce the symptoms associated with Anxiety disorder and vice versa.

How To Diagnose Sleep Anxiety?

Your healthcare provider will conduct a physical exam. Reviews your medical history and analyze your symptoms after that; they may ask you a few questions like:

  • Do you eat or drink something before going to sleep? 
  • Does your anxiety always arise before bed? 
  • How much time does it take you to fall asleep?
  • How frequently do you wake up at midnight?

Treating Insomnia

There are several strategies through which insomnia can be treated. The primary method to cure anxiety is using authentic medications. There are multiple ways to treat sleep anxiety, including:

  • CBT (cognitive behavior therapy)
  • Healthy sleep routine. 
  • Medication. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy or talk therapy. It taught you to change your behavior by changing the way you think. It is a usual treatment for people with anxiety. There is a unique form of CBT called cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia (CBTI). 

Its main goal is to help people who have insomnia. Throughout the CBT or CBTI, you will learn: To avoid behaviors that trigger anxiety and make sleeping difficult. 

You can also practice deep sleep habits by practicing some of the tips mentioned below:

  • Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga may alleviate anxiety. This technique will improve your sleep schedule.
  • You can change your sleep patterns and also change the way of addressing any issue or problems that make you feel anxious and lead to stress.
  • Setting a consistent specific treatment depends on whether the patient suffers from short-term or chronic insomnia and their medical history.

Here are a few suggestions that can calm your anxiety & get you better sleep.

How To Prevent Sleep Anxiety?

You may be able to decrease the risk of anxiety by:

  • Eating a healthy and full of a nutritional diet.
  • Regular exercise
  • Taking or maintaining good sleeping hygiene.
  • Properly taking medications for mental disorders or insomnia as prescribed by your healthcare providers. 

Suggestions For Improving Sleep

  • Eat And Drink Wisely
    • Limit caffeine and nicotine intake.
    • Avoid big meals at night.
    • Avoid drinking too many liquids before bedtime.
    • Reduce the intake of sugar and refined carbs.
  • Control Your Exposure To Light
    • Expose to bright sunlight in the morning.
    • Spend time during the daylight.
    • Let as much natural light in your workplace and home.
    • Say a big NO to late-night television.
  • Don’t Read Under Backlit Devices
    • At sleep time, ensure your room is dark.
    • Exercise during the day
    • For better sleep, you need to fix a time for exercise.
  • Improve Your Sleep Environment
    • Keep your room cool.
    • Keep the noise down.
    • Your bed should be comfortable.
    • Reserve your bed for sleep and sex.

Learn Ways To Get Back To Sleep

  • Try relaxation techniques.
  • Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity.
  • Worry less and be stress-free.
  • Be relaxed.

Inadequate sleep can worsen anxiety, and feeling anxious in response to stressful and nervous situations is expected. Over time, you may get used to anxiety disorder by being worried in favorable cases too.

Anxiety is a severe problem affecting both your physical and mental health. There’s no need to stress and worry over the issue of treating this disorder. You can treat the disease in several natural ways, like

  • Taking a hot bath shower at the end of the day
  • You can start your day by exercising to combat anxiety
  • Avoid intake of chemicals like nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol
  • Drink chamomile tea
  • Follow a healthy diet pattern
  • Practice deep breathing & meditation

If these natural measures do not work, you may consult your healthcare associate about cognitive behavioral therapy and medications to improve your sleeping hours and relaxation.

However, you cannot treat anxiety and insomnia through natural therapy if you have been facing the disorder for more than three months. Anxiety and insomnia, if left untreated, lead to depression. Treating the disease before it starts affecting your mental health and peace is recommended.

Tips To Get Better Sleep

  • Be consistent always. Go to sleep at the same time each night and wake up every morning at the same time, including on the weekends. 
  • Make sure that your bedroom is quiet, relaxing, dark, and at a comfortable temperature. 
  • Remember to turn off all electronic devices in the bedroom, such as TVs, smartphones, and computers.

Also, Read

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Anxiety is normal for a human being. But extremely subjective to human emotions. Stress can also become a massive suffering for millions of people.

The treatment or therapy for Anxiety disorder is based on a solid scientific foundation. We can identify anxiety and sleep types of chronic stress with their warning signs. You can use suitable ways to treat sleep.

With the help of various therapies, the best is Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which your healthcare providers or doctors instruct.