Anxiety and Sleep Issues
You’ve been in bed for two hours, and the clock reads 12:00am. You have to be up at 5 am to get ready for work. At this point you may wonder if it is worth going to sleep..will you be rested enough to be able to function as needed with only 5 hours of sleep. Every time you try to close your eyes your mind starts to wonder about things that you didn’t get done or situations that may go wrong. You find this becoming a bigger and bigger problem. Sleep is no longer beneficial but instead an event full of anxiety.
More than realized before, anxiety is shown to be frequently connected to sleep concerns. The excess worrying and fear that most are experiencing within the current climate are making getting a good night’s sleep harder.
Sleep deprivation can in turn worsen anxiety which tends to lead to a very negative cycle of insomnia and anxiety. The strong relationship between sleep and anxiety indicated the importance of addressing both concerns. Without the proper assistance, such as counseling, both the anxiety and sleep concerns can become worse. If only one aspect is treated, it is unlikely that the treatment will have any real impact.
Tips for Bettering Your Sleep Pattern and Handling Your Anxiety
Move your body – Exercise has been found to be beneficial for both lowering anxiety and improving the quality of sleep. The best time to exercise is first thing in the morning. Extra movement first thing in the day helps create a positive sleep and waking cycle.
Modify your environment – Controlling light, sound, and temperature can help you get a good night’s rest. The best environment includes a dark, quiet, and cooler bedroom. This increases the chances of calming your mind and increases the ability to fall asleep. A bath and/or shower before bed is also a good idea as it may help calm your mind and lower your body temperature.
Limit caffeine and alcohol – While most of us rely on coffee in the morning to wake up or a drink with friends to socialize; too much of either can increase anxiety and cause trouble sleeping. Both increase heart rate and can easily cause you to stay up later than planned. Instead, turning to water throughout the day helps keep your body hydrated without the extra caffeine or sugar. The most important part is to remember to stop drinking earlier in the evening in order to reduce the number of trips to the bathroom.
Relax your mind – Ways to relax your mind will vary depending on how much time you have during the day and how dedicated you are. This can be as simple and quick as breathing exercises to make it a point to take a short walk throughout the day. The more you practice these techniques the easier it will be to trigger your relaxation at night.
Limit screen time – Technology is becoming more and more important within everyone’s daily life. However, most technologies including your phone and TV produce light that keeps your brain awake. Limiting these types of activities will help allow your brain to shut off and get some restful sleep. Turn to alternate sources of comfort, for example, listening to soothing music or reading a book.
Ask for help – Never forget! Even with all the appropriate tools and coping skills, managing anxiety and sleep can be more difficult than originally thought. Never be afraid to ask for help and reach out to your doctor or therapist for counseling if needed. While sleep problems and anxiety are highly treatable, at times help is needed. Build a list of people that you can turn to if it becomes too much to manage.
Anxiety is a true concern that needs to properly be addressed. If you find that it is causing problems with your sleep, additional help may be needed. While it is important to focus on your mental health, it is also just as important to focus on your body. The longer the situation occurs the more time goes by that your body is not getting what it needs. Seeking out assistance from a professional mental health professional is always available. Treatment may not need to be lifelong but can be used as a way to build appropriate coping skills in a safe environment.