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Fear can affect you in many different ways. The constant worrying thoughts can make it difficult to socialize or work, and can even affect your body. However, anxiety can also affect your sleep, and lack of sleep can make you more stressed and anxious.
If you have trouble sleeping regularly, you may have insomnia. Signs of insomnia include:
- I find it difficult to fall asleep regularly
- wake up several times during the night
- get up early and cannot fall asleep
- You still feel tired when you wake up
- I find it difficult to take a nap during the day even though you are tired
Here is everything you need to know about insomnia fear and how to deal with it.
Anxiety and insomnia seem to go together, especially when it comes to stress.
Anxiety is a natural reaction your body has to stress or anxiety that can already destroy your sleep.
The American Psychological Association notes that 43 percent of American adults report lying awake at night from stress in the past month. And poor sleep habits have been linked to diseases like depression and anxiety.
Aside from stress-related anxiety, you can have an anxiety disorder if:
Does Anxiety Cause Insomnia? Or does insomnia cause anxiety? Well … it could be like that too. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety can cause sleep problems, and sleep deprivation can also lead to an anxiety disorder.
A review of studies in 2012 found that psychiatric disorders can affect sleep. Sleep disorders are common or influenced by psychiatric disorders. In the case of anxiety, chronic insomnia can also increase the likelihood of developing an anxiety disorder.
Another review of studies found that brain activity after periods of sleep deprivation is similar to brain activity in anxiety disorders. In particular, your brain’s fight or flight response is activated when you haven’t slept enough.
Sleep and mental health go hand in hand. Sleep deprivation affects your physical and mental health, but researchers are still discovering what exactly is going on in your brain.
One research found that getting a good night’s sleep helps your mental and emotional strength, while chronic sleep deprivation can cause negative thinking and emotional vulnerability.
While scientists don’t know all of the pros and cons, they have found that sleep disorders really affect your brain by affecting neurotransmitters and stress hormones.
This effect can affect your thinking and your regulation of your emotions. It also explains why insomnia can worsen psychiatric disorders and vice versa.
If you have trouble sleeping at least three times a week, talk to your doctor about your options.
They will likely do a physical exam and have you keep a sleep journal for a couple of weeks. From there, you may be referred to a sleep specialist who can conduct a sleep study.
A sleep study, also known as a polysomnogram, electronically monitors your sleep activities so a specialist can interpret what is going on with your brain and body while you sleep.
Types of insomnia that can be to blame
- Acute insomnia is usually caused by a stressful life event that increases your stress levels and causes you to lose sleep for a short period of time. It often resolves without treatment.
- Chronic insomnia is when you cannot sleep for a long time. It is usually considered chronic if you have trouble falling or falling asleep at least three nights a week for 3 months or more.
- Comorbid insomnia occurs in another condition that may be anxiety and depression, which are known to be associated with sleep changes.
There are both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatments for insomnia that you can discuss with your doctor. You may need to try different treatments before you find the most effective one for you.
The American College of Physicians recommends cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) as the first line of treatment for chronic insomnia.
This process will help you identify your emotions and attitudes that are affecting your sleep. You can then learn how to change them to get some zzz back.
What about sleeping pills?
Some over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be used to help you sleep. However, it is important that you speak to your doctor before ingesting anything.
Even over-the-counter medications can have side effects and may not help you resolve your sleep problems in the long term.
If your doctor thinks medication can help you, he may prescribe a sleep aid such as eszopiclone (Lunesta) or zolpidem (Ambien). Remember: these can be habit forming and should be taken with caution.
If your anxiety is interfering with your sleeping habits, try these lifestyle changes to help curb your anxiety and get a good night’s sleep.
- Just breathe. Try meditation or breathing exercises to help contain your anxiety before you go to sleep. Bathing can also help you relax and calm your mind and body, making it easier for you to fall asleep.
- Try some magnesium. Magnesium supplements can help your anxiety and sleep. Magnesium’s relaxing effects may be due to its ability to regulate melatonin production, a hormone that controls your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
- Turn off the electronics. Checking your phone or watching TV before bed can be overwhelming and will lead you to associate your bed with activity, not sleep.
- Stick to a schedule. Exercise while you sleep by observing bedtime and wake-up times.
- Training on the reg. Regular physical activity can help people fall asleep faster, spend more time in deep sleep, and wake up less often at night.
- Avoid coffee and alcohol before bed. Stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can keep you awake and alert instead of feeling relaxed and sleepy.
Anxiety and insomnia are basically BFFs, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay friends.
You can make lifestyle changes to see if these help you sleep. But it’s a good idea to see a doctor if your anxiety and lack of sleep are disturbing your life.
Don’t calm down and assume that you don’t have to live on sleep. Your doctor can help you find the best treatment option so that you can sleep well again.