What Is Anxiety-Induced Insomnia and How To Deal With It?
You lie on your bed and close your eyes, but can't sleep. Your body is exhausted and dying for some rest, but your mind is wide awake with restlessness.
If you can relate to this, chances are, you have a deep-rooted sleep disorder that comes from anxiety. Overwhelming stress and compulsive thinking can trigger high functional insomnia, which could lead to other health issues.
In this blog, you will get a good understanding of what anxiety exactly is and find relaxing tips for having a good night's sleep. Before we start reading, I want you to know that anxiety is an experience unique to every individual. Different approaches work for different personalities under different circumstances, and what works for you can adapt over time.
The underlying cause of your anxiety changes with changing circumstances in your life, and so is the treatment. Now, having said that, let's get straight into the blog.
Table of contents:
- What is an anxiety disorder?
- What is anxiety-induced insomnia? If anything!
- 5 healthy habits that you can follow to get a good night’s sleep.
- How does therapy and mindfulness help in conquering sleep anxiety?
- 3 Must-Have Products on the Internet for a Relaxing Sleep
What is an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety is a common form of emotional discomfort that can affect anyone regardless of age. That's the way your mind naturally reacts to stress. You may experience small bouts of panic while stepping on a new classroom, on your first day at work, during a job interview, or while giving a speech in front of a huge crowd.
It is okay to feel anxious once in a while, but when it begins to linger longer than usual and interferes with your diet and sleep, you probably suffer from an anxiety disorder. It gets worse when it's left unattended for a long time. It can induce selective mutism, social phobia, panic disorders, depression, and insomnia.
You cannot diagnose the cause of anxiety by performing a single test. Instead, anxiety treatment is an elaborate process of psychological surveys, emotional questionnaires, and mental health evaluations. Doctors also prescribe physical tests to uncover any underlying health issues that trigger anxious feelings. Genetics, alcohol or substance use, or chemical reactions in the brain can also cause high functioning anxiety in some people.
Treatment of anxiety disorders come in many forms. Drugs often include antidepressants and tablets that contain sedatives. However, many natural remedies can help you get rid of it. Everyday practices include exercise, meditation, avoiding caffeine and alcohol. The therapeutic cure for anxiety involves horticultural therapy, spiritual counselling, animal-assisted therapy, and many more.
What is anxiety-induced insomnia? If anything!
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that keeps you awake for a prolonged period or does not allow you to sleep at all. Anxiety-induced insomnia leads to sleeplessness when your body experiences an adrenaline surge due to troubling emotions and constant overthinking.
Sleep anxiety is one type of performance anxiety, as mentioned by Winnie Yu in her article "Scared to Sleep". It implies that people often cannot sleep due to the stress of not sleeping sufficiently. Anxiety sets off insomnia, and on the other hand, insomnia triggers anxiety creating a feedback loop. Recurrent nightmares and the fear of being unable to breathe during sleep also contribute to anxiety insomnia.
Five healthy habits that you can follow to get a good night’s sleep:
1) Avoid caffeine before going to bed
Caffeine often acts as a stimulant and is also known as the adenosine receptor antagonist. It blocks adenosine receptors that encourage sleep, and you could feel restless and anxious all night long. Drinking coffee before going to bed also delays your body clock. Limit your caffeine consumption to 200 mg a day to get a night of proper sleep. Not only during the night but also avoid excessive quantities of caffeinated drinks during the day.
2) Stay away from digital media
Lessen your exposure to blue light (electronic gadgets such as laptop, mobile phones) before you go to sleep. Exposure to light at night may affect your circadian rhythm (your body clock) and deceive your brain into thinking that it is still day. Hence, your brain suppresses the melatonin (anti-anxiety) hormone, and you start having anxiety and sleepless nights. According to a study by Harvard Health, daytime exposure to bright light can improve sleep at night. However, blue light can be most potent in altering melatonin secretion and causing sleep anxiety at night.
3) Optimize your bedroom
Relaxation repels anxious thoughts. A comfortable and snug bedroom is all we need to have a good long sleep. HuffPost has come up with nine ways to optimize your bedroom for better sleep. To sum it up, what you can do is -
- Invest in a premium quality mattress that is not too flexible or tough.
- Ensure that your room is sufficiently dark and cool to relax your mind.
- Do not allow your brain to associate your bedroom with activity. Remove the TV, the laptop, and all other electronics.
- Organize your bedroom and eliminate all the clutter.
4) Deal with your emotions
Your mind keeps racing with a lot of emotions, which result in different types of anxiety disorders and lack of sleep. Here are some ways to let go of anything that obstructs your mental well-being -
- Start journaling before going to bed.
- Share anonymously at Now&Me and let it out.
- Close your eyes and say a loop of affirmations.
- Reshape your negative thoughts into positive ones.
5) Create a sleep schedule
Having a natural sleep cycle can improve your sleep hygiene and help you cope with anxiety-induced insomnia. Everyday Health has found ten ways of having a steady sleep schedule. A poorly aligned body clock can often cause irritation and chronic anxiety and disrupt the sleep pattern. Consistently maintain your sleep schedule once you have figured out a workable nap time. This may seem difficult at first, but predictability is the best way to put your circadian rhythm onto the track.
How does therapy and mindfulness help in conquering sleep anxiety?
Anxiety and insomnia can often be the two sides of the same coin. If we can solve one problem, the other ceases naturally. Therapy proves to be one of the most effective treatments for treating sleep anxiety.
Psychologists and professional counselors use different approaches, some of them being Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Horticultural Therapy, Animal-assisted Therapy, Reminiscence Therapy, Light Therapy, Altruism, and Aroma Therapy.
ACT or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a unique approach to overcoming stress and insomnia using mindfulness. Its purpose is not to reduce symptoms, but rather to help you take action based on your core inner values.
Research proves that mindfulness training can help you get rid of anxiety and sleep issues. It allows you to combat stress with adaptive and instinctive reactions in different situations. A mindful person does not react but reflect.
But what exactly is mindfulness? It is a process that gives you a mindset defined by the non-judgemental consciousness of different feelings and emotions, without marking them as good or bad. Mindfulness works when we switch our attention from anxiety-provoking thoughts to the present moment to counter rumination and stress.
A simple way to reach a mindful state during anxiety is -
- Inhale a deep breath for five seconds.
- Hold the air in your lungs for the next five.
- Slowly exhale the breath for another five seconds.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Feel your chest swell and contract, focus on the movement at the tip of your nose.
- Feel the sensation of your breath as it enters and exits your nose.
Don't let your mind wander around anxiously. All you have to do is live in the present moment.
3 Must-Have Products on the Internet for a Relaxing Sleep
Herbal Nectar Stress Relief Tea, 100g, SERENE (Made with Organic Herbs)
Herbal Nectar tea is the perfect blend of Tulsi, Dalchini, Shankhapushpi, Shunthi, Ashwagandha, Brahmi and Yashtimadhu. It helps in soothing stressed nerves and destresses your body. This stress relief tea relieves insomnia and improves the quality of your sleep. If you are a pregnant woman or a breastfeeding mother, we advise you to consult a physician before consumption. Incorporate this tea in your daily routine to get rid of chronic anxiety and insomnia.
Gratitude: A Day and Night Reflection Journal (90 Days)
Journaling before bedtime can prove to be an efficient way to calm your anxieties. This daily diary allows you to nurture mindfulness through gratitude. Each page of this journal comprises positive affirmations, good memories of the day, gratitude expressions, and many more. Practising thankfulness and fostering deep reflection can improve your mental health. Declutter your thoughts with the Reflection Journal and ensure a good night's sleep.
First Row Aromatic Fables Set of 3 Scented Pillar Candles with Tray Stand | Scented Candle Set with Round Tray
The First Row aromatic lavender-scented candles induce sleep for those people who have insomnia. It also relieves anxiety by relaxing the nerves. It is an eco-friendly candle made of soothing oil for meditation and mindful activities. The wax consists of soyabean oil which has added properties of bug repellent. The set of three candles can provide you with a sensation of aromatherapy right before going to bed and improve the quality of your sleep.
1) Why does my anxiety get worse at night?
Your day-to-day habits can often explain why your anxiety worsens at bedtime. Poor sleep hygiene, regular work stressors, compulsive thoughts and lack of a
sleep schedule can be some of the causes of your night panic attacks and sleep anxiety. Your mind often perceives stress because of constant excessive reflection about the regrets of the past, the day you have spent or the contemplation of your next day. Toxic relationships can also trigger anxious thoughts at night, causing sleeplessness.
2) Can anxiety be cured?
It depends on the anxiety causes. Anxiety is not always curable. Often, we feel like we are in a downward vortex, where we have no control over our emotions. You can ask for professional support if your anxiety becomes overwhelming. Doctors often prescribe psychotherapy and medications repress the overpowering negative emotions. Practising self-care every day can also improve your mental health. Take out time from your daily routine, and spend some quality time healing yourself. Hear your favourite song, read a wellness book from your TBR stack, or take a walk around the park. It is not possible to cure anxiety overnight. It's a long process wherein you exercise self-love and thrive towards a sound mind and soul. It is a long process in which you practice self-love and prosper towards a healthy mind and soul.
3) How do I relax my mind with Now&Me?
When your mind is racing with unsettling thoughts, and you feel the need to spill all your feelings, then Now&Me offers you a safe place. You can now write down all your unfiltered emotions without having to reveal who you are. It's a peer support community where you can have healthy conversations and receive mental support through a network that doesn't judge you. You can also engage yourself in small daily personal care habits. The Now&Me WhatsApp Newsletter is a 30-second anecdote that acts as a toolkit to your self-care activities. You can opt-in to the newsletter free of charge. A WhatsApp message will be waiting for you each morning to help you begin the day positively.
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