If you suffer from anxiety, it likely influences most aspects of your daily life. From ordering food at a restaurant to talking on the phone, anxiety has a tendency to make simple tasks exhausting.
Unfortunately, anxiety may be affecting you in ways you aren’t aware of—particularly during sleep. According to Harvard Health Publishing, sleep problems like insomnia affect over 50% of adults with an anxiety disorder – suggesting there is a link between the two conditions.
Characteristics of Anxiety and Insomnia
Anxiety is a feeling of fear or dread, often triggered by social encounters or other everyday occurrences. Some common symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:
- Excessive worry or stress
- Trouble concentrating
Insomnia is a medical term that refers generally to difficulty sleeping. Insomnia can include:
- Inability to fall asleep
- Trouble staying asleep
- Waking up unusually early
- Feeling tired after waking up
How Anxiety Can Affect Your Sleep
In the relationship between anxiety and insomnia, each disorder tends to feed off of the damage caused by the other.
Sleep deprivation has a greater effect on your body than simply increasing your need for coffee in the morning. Lack of sleep weakens your psychological state and can have major repercussions if the deficit becomes chronic. In fact, sleep deprivation can be a major factor in the onset of an anxiety disorder.
Unfortunately, this relationship works in both directions; those with anxiety disorders are much likelier to develop insomnia.
The onslaught of stress and worry throughout the day doesn’t fade away as the sun goes down. Many people experience a state of “mental hyperarousal,” which prevents them from falling asleep. Once you finally get to sleep, anxiety may cause you to wake up frequently during the night and keep you from getting any real rest.
Thus begins a vicious cycle. The less you sleep, the more anxious you feel; and the more anxious you feel, the harder it is to sleep.
What You Can Do
If you’re suffering from both anxiety and insomnia, there are a few things you can do to ease your symptoms. The first step is to develop good sleep habits, which includes some of these techniques:
- Avoiding naps throughout the day
- Avoiding stimulants like coffee or alcohol too close to bedtime
- Practicing breathing exercises
- Setting a consistent bedtime and wake-up time
How Behavioral Therapy Can Help
To free yourself from the struggles of anxiety and insomnia, behavioral therapy is the most efficient path to success.
Behavioral therapy helps you cope with both anxiety and insomnia. It works to give you the tools you need to eliminate the negative thoughts that consume your days and keep you up at night. This, combined with guidelines for getting better sleep, effectively blocks each disorder from feeding off of the other.
Visit Sleep Dynamics today for more information about managing anxiety-induced insomnia, and find a treatment that can help you.