Good sleep is all that you need to kick off your day right way and in the right mood. As you may not, things don’t often go as planned. You can easily find yourself toss and turn for a few nights in a row.
If this happens only once, it’s nothing to be worried about. However, if you tend to wake at night or you have trouble sleeping because you are feeling restless, then you should visit your doctor because the chances are that you are suffering from anxiety.
Moreover, if you know that you are dealing with anxiety, you should know that this condition might affect your sleep quality and not only your daily routine.
Sleep And Anxiety
Did you know that more than 40 million Americans actually suffer from long-term sleep disorders? On top of that, did you know that 20 million Americans report sleeping problems from time to time, making a considerable number of people affected with some sleep disorder?
Stress and anxiety may cause various sleeping problems or even make existing issues worse.
So, having an anxiety disorder can only make the problem worse. Common sleep disorders include:
Each condition can lead to severe sleeping disturbance. Anxiety can lead to severe sleeping problems and eventually lead to a severe sleep disorder. Every condition of these listed above, is unique.
For example, restless leg syndrome is not the same as sleep apnea, because with RLS you can’t know when it’s going to hit you and mess with your sleep.
Types of Anxiety
Anxiety comes in different and various forms. That said, every type has specific traits and effects.
The most common anxiety types are:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
This form appears for a more extended period of time and can last for more than six months. This type of anxiety is usually linked to work-stress, personal health, and even challenging social interactions.
Common symptoms here are tense muscles, difficulty concentrating, and having feelings of being unable to calm down.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
This type affects 2.2 million Americans nad affects in such a manner that people have a fear of leaving their homes.
This type of anxiety can be the result of unexpected panic attacks without a specific trigger. The most common symptoms here are severe sweating, shaking, a strong feeling of loss of control, and even shortness of breath.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
This type is common due to life-threatening and dangerous events. The causes for this type of anxiety may vary, and in some people can appear years later.
Symptoms are different here and include nightmares, flashbacks, angry outbursts, feelings of shame, guilt or blame, loss of interest in previously loved and enjoyable activities.
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
This type of anxiety is known as intense fear or worry that’s directly linked to social situations. This type affects 15 million Americans.
Common symptoms here include: being negatively judged by others, a fear of embarrassment, fear of leaving the house or merely being in public.
You can sleep better when you know your symptoms. By understanding what bothers you, you can create direct action steps. That being said, here is how you can still have a good sleep even if anxiety bothers you.
How To Improve Your Sleep When You Suffer From Anxiety?
Anxiety and stress can cause sleeping problems, or even worse, the existing ones. Further, lack of sleep can lead to serious health issues and severe anxiety disorders. On top of that, any health disorder can lead to serious sleep issues.
Luckily, there are a few tips that you can use to improve your sleep, no matter what anxiety type you have. These simple, but yet effective strategies are designed to help you relax both your mind and soul.
Keeping your mind quiet and balanced is always a great skill. This skill can enormously help with your stress on busy days and time before bed.
If you think that meditation is too stressful and difficult for you to master, fear not, because it’s all about starting small.
Download a meditation app and follow the instructions. Or, simply do it the old-fashioned way and simply sit in a specific position and in silence.
Nothing like a good workout to boost your overall energy level, right? Thanks to daily exercises, you will sleep better and more profoundly. Just avoid heavy workout just before you go to sleep.
This works as coffee – you may drink, but you shouldn’t drink it early in the morning. Exercise is good for you as long as you avoid working out in the time when you should have other body activity, such as sleeping. In short, exercise can improve sleep among people with anxiety.
Don’t let your brain swirl with all the things that you have to do. If you do so, you will end up stressed, because you don’t know what’s your first step.
So, have your to-do list, be organized, and write down everything that you have to do and set deadlines.
This way, you will keep track of your obligations and actually enable your brain to relax because you will have a sense of control.
4. Don’t Lie In Bed Awake
You probably hate doing something when you don’t want to, right? Well, the same applies to your brain.
If you simply lie in bed, without a need to sleep, your brain will refuse to perform a sleeping function.
So, if you just lie around, give your brain a do-over, because if you don’t fall asleep in the first 20 minutes, you won’t do so in the next 20 minutes as well.
That being said, get up, walk around the room, or meditate. Keep the lights low and do something really light and sleep-inducing. Have a tea to promote sleep, take a long bath, or read a book.
Don’t run to screens, avoid smartphones, laptop, and any device with any form of light. There is a reason why blue light and sleep are connected.
Your brain is designed to follow the light. SO, if you expose your body to extra light, your brain will see it as a sign to stay awake.
Still not sleeping? This could be a clear sign that you have more severe sleep problems. You should talk with your doctor and run tests to see if clinical depression and clinical anxiety can be ruled out.
These conditions are treatable, but you must work with a therapist to manage your symptoms.
5. Avoid Heavy Drinks
You may love to wind out with a beer or glass of wine before you go to bed, but this is a big no-no. Just like dense food, heavy drinks can seriously interfere with your sleep.
So, before bedtime avoid nightcup, any form of alcohol, caffeine, and various soft drinks, such as chocolate.
Remember, your body needs at least eight hours to wear it off. If you have panic attacks, you should avoid caffeine by any means.
Also, always avoid having large meals, because food can induce heartburn. If you keep your dinner light, you might help your organism burn calories faster while you sleep.
6. Organize Your Bedroom
Keep your bedroom ready for sleep. Make sure that everyone in your bedroom supports sleep. That being said, keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
Keep screen devices away, even your smartphone. If you love to read before bed, use hardcover books, no Kindle, or any screen device to read. Again, screen devices can easily trick your brain into staying awake, and you want the opposite.
7. Ask For Help
Don’t suffer in silence. If you feel that you gave your best, but you still can’t overcome your anxiety and have a good sleep, you should ask professional help. Feel free to talk with someone.
Your family and friends are your anchors, and you should feel free to reach out whenever you feel that you are about to burst out. Feel free to ask to talk with a doctor or therapist.
If you believe that you have a sleep disorder, you should react immediately. Your first step should be to visit a primary care physician, sleep disorder clinic, or mental health professional.
Treatment options may vary, and they will be directly linked to the cause. As a comprehensive treatment, you can expect to hear about cognitive-behavior therapy or sleep medicine.
Your doctor might even suggest relaxation methods, such as meditation, or even a mix of these.
The Bottom Line
Many people who suffer from various anxiety disorders actually have trouble sleeping. This problem affects people’s performance and ability to function normally through the day.
As you know already, too little sleep can affect mood severely and contribute both to irritability and depression. Also, lack of sleep can lead to severe morning headaches.
Sleep helps you energize, feel rested, and energized. On top of that, sleep helps you learn, save memories, and overall have good health. So, if you think that you need extra help to sleep better, don’t be shy and ask for it.