One of the most frustrating aspects of sleep anxiety can be how difficult it is to figure out whether its symptoms are the cause or a result of poor sleep. Often, it can be difficult to pin down if sleep anxiety is a symptom of sleep deprivation, because of how dependent the two are on each other.
Taking a holistic approach to these kinds of symptoms is the most effective way to ensure they don’t resurface. Consulting a doctor, taking the time to practice mindfulness and meditation, sleeping on the best mattress you can find, and creating a strict sleep routine can help overcome and manage your sleep anxiety more effectively.
What Is Sleep Anxiety?
In the simplest terms, sleep anxiety refers to feelings of heightened worry and fear experienced leading up to sleep. Sleep anxiety can exacerbate conditions such as insomnia and sleep deprivation, while also being a symptom of both those things.
In the United States, more than 40 million people suffer from long-term chronic sleep disorders. Understanding the role sleep anxiety has to play in this can really shift how we think about treating sleep disorders, and ensure we’re able to work through issues with our sleep in a way that feels truly productive.
Common Symptoms Of Sleep Disorders
So how do you know if your sleep anxiety is a product of external stressors in your life or indicative of a more pressing sleep disorder that you need to pay attention to?
Some common symptoms of sleep disorders include:
- Irregularity in mood, including increased irritability, or depression.
- Weight fluctuation, specifically weight gain.
- Difficulty focusing through the day, loss of concentration.
- Chronic fatigue throughout the day, lack of overall energy.
- Unusual breathing patterns, strained breathing that requires extra effort.
If you have one or more of these symptoms, there’s a good chance you might be struggling with a deeper sleep disorder. The good news is that treating the symptoms can also help bring down the severity of the root problem.
How To Sleep Better When You Have Anxiety
Whether you struggle with stress more generally or you’re dealing with a particularly bad case of sleep anxiety, there are ways in which you can minimize the effort it takes to fall asleep.
Here are a few things you need to know about sleep anxiety and it’s symptoms:
- Your sleep cycle is delicate and requires routine to operate properly. That’s why it’s important to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
- Keep naps shorter than an hour, and try avoiding napping after 3pm, as this can disrupt your sleep cycle.
- Caffeine isn’t just bad for sleep patterns, it’s bad for anxious people in general. The effects of caffeine can take up to eight hours to wear off. In one study, researchers found caffeine induces symptoms such as hostility and nervousness, making people prone to panic attacks are extra sensitive to its effects.
- Distract your mind with healthy alternatives to binge-watching your favorite show - you could start reading a book, listen to a podcast or some light music, or even having a hot shower right before you tuck yourself in.
- Keep your cell phones far, far away. The blue light present in our phones and other devices has a seriously negative impact on sleep, as well as mental calmness. Social media notifications or the urge to check your work inbox just one last time can actually exacerbate anxious thoughts and feelings, so be sure to stay away, at least in the nighttime.
By making sure you’ve got your sleep set-up as comfortable as possible, and ensuring you’re sticking to healthy sleep habits that keep you as well-rested as possible, you can minimize the control sleep anxiety has on your wellbeing.
Are you having sleep anxiety? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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Disclaimer. We love sleep and we want you to get the best sleep possible. But we do not provide medical advice. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical info, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our blog.