Sleeping anxiety-particularly insomnia – are highly prevalent in anxiety disorders and complaints such as insomnia or nightmares have even been incorporated in some anxiety disorder definitions, such as generalized anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. In the sleeping anxity this review, the relationship between sleep and anxiety is discussed in terms of adaptive response to stress.
Anxiety is a normal human emotion characterized by feelings of nervousness and worry. You may find yourself experiencing anxiety during stressful condition, such as a first date or job interview.
Sometimes, though, anxiety may linger around for longer than usual. When this happens, it can interfere with your daily and nightly life.
One of the most common times when people experience anxiety is at night. Many clinical trials have found that sleep deprivation can be a trigger for anxiety. Historically, research also suggests anxiety disorders are associated with reduced sleep quality.
Symptoms of sleeping anxiety Disorder
There are many symptoms of sleeping anxiety. Everyone experiences anxiety differently. Symptoms can happen anytime of the day, morning, or night. Common symptoms of anxiety include:
- feelings of nervousness, restlessness, or worry
- trouble concentrating
- trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- gastrointestinal problems
- feeling depress
- feeling sad whole day
- less energetic
Does sleep affect anxiety?
A 2020 study in China of nearly 4,000 people aged 60 and older found that people with affected sleep quality and duration were at higher risk for anxiety.
The researchers studied those who reported poor sleep quality and adjusted their results based on other possible risk factors, including socioeconomic status, health status, and social support.
They found higher odds ratios that a person with poor sleep would have a higher chance of experiencing anxiety.
It is not clear if lack of sleep causes anxiety, or if anxiety causes an inability to sleep. However, researchers typically regard the two conditions as inter-connected and closely linked.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder where a person can’t get to sleep or has difficulty staying asleep.
A person with insomnia may experience:
- problems going to sleep, even when they are lying in bed and feel like they are ready to go to sleep
- waking up frequently throughout the night and not being able to go back to sleep
- waking up much earlier in the morning than intended
- waking up and feeling like they have not had a refreshing sleep
Some of these symptoms can overlap with other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when a person’s breathing stops and starts while they are sleeping. Anyone who suspects they have sleep apnea should see a doctor for evaluation.
There are two types of insomnia:
Acute insomnia: Stress can cause acute insomnia. It typically lasts for days or weeks. This insomnia type will resolve without any treatment interventions. Some lifestyle changes may also help promote sleep.
Chronic insomnia: Medication, medical conditions, or sleep disorders can cause chronic insomnia. It typically lasts for a month or more. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications may help this type of insomnia.
Treatment of beating sleeping anxiety to get a better night’s sleep:
Many people with anxiety disorders have trouble sleeping. That’s a problem. Too little sleep affects mood, contributing to irritability and sometimes depression. Vital functions occur during different stages of sleep that leave you feeling rested and energized or help you learn and forge memories. Sleep usually improves when an anxiety disorder is treated. Practicing good “sleep hygiene” helps, too. Here are some steps to take:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Daylight helps set sleep patterns, so try to be outdoors while it’s light out for 30 minutes a day.
- Exercise regularly (but not too close to bedtime). An afternoon workout is ideal.
- Keep naps short — less than an hour — and forgo napping after 3 p.m.
- Avoid caffeine (found in coffee, many teas, chocolate, and many soft drinks), which can take up to eight hours to wear off. You may need to avoid caffeine entirely if you have panic attacks; many people who experience panic attacks are extra-sensitive to caffeine.
- Review your medications with a doctor to see if you are taking any stimulants, which are a common culprit in keeping people up at night. Sometimes it’s possible to switch medicines.
- Avoid alcohol, large meals, foods that induce heartburn, and drinking a lot of fluid for several hours before bedtime.
- If you smoke, quit. Smoking causes many health problems, including compromising sleep in a variety of ways.
- Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet, without distractions like TV or a computer. Avoid using an electronic device to read in bed; the light from the screen can trick your brain into thinking it is daytime. If your mattress is uncomfortable, replace it.
- Reading, listening to music, or relaxing before bed with a hot bath or deep breathing can help you get to sleep.
- If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes of turning in (or if you wake up and can’t fall back to sleep in 20 minutes), get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.