Guide to Sleep & Anxiety Disorder

by SleePare

By Sofia Axelrod | 1 Minute Read

Anxiety disorders affect roughly 40 million adults in the U.S. Despite various reasons and manifestations of anxiety disorders, one thing is common in all anxiety prone persons, and that’s their inability to get a restful sleep at night. Negative thoughts and emotions runs havoc to our sleep-wake cycle and poor sleep ultimately deteriorates our health and our life quality.

There are many reasons and symptoms of anxiety disorders, but Here’s the deal…

You snuggle into your bed to get some well-earned ZZZs. Your body cozys into the sheets but your mind has unknowingly ventured into the dismal world of the next day’s to-do-list. Before you know it, you’re recollecting the day’s activities, what went your way and what didn’t. You start thinking about what you’re gonna do differently next time. You think about your goals, your strengths… and your weaknesses… and the next thing you know — it’s already 2:00 am and you worry about how you’ll cope with the day with such little sleep, and still there’s no shut eye for you as clock still ticks away.

If something similar happens to you on a nightly basis, you might be suffering from what many identify as anxiety-related sleep disorder or Sleep Anxiety Disorder!

Did you know that anxiety disorder affects ? You might be on the list. (God forbids!)

If you think sleep anxiety is taking a toll on your life, let’s see how you take the reigns of your snooze train back in your hands.

Relation Between Anxiety Disorder and Sleep

Sleep and anxiety disorder and anxiety are strongly connected to each other. But which one comes first?

Either one!

Sleeping problems arise because of anxiety, and anxiety disorder develops due to sleep deprivation!

In almost all psychiatric disorders, certain forms of sleep disturbances are present. Studies also show that if you have chronic insomnia, you may experience an anxiety disorder.

But whether which one comes first does not matter at all because when you suffer from sleep difficulties, anxiety can develop.

How Does Anxiety Develop?

Did you know that stress is the number one cause of anxiety? Take it from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

You can experience anxiety no matter how young or old you are. Some events may cause worries like speaking in public, going home alone at night, or attending an interview.

Anxiety can happen literally anytime – whether you are at home, in the office, or while you’re driving. However, turning this normal feeling into a disorder is a different scenario. Having an anxiety disorder can affect not only your normal activities but your social life as well.

So, how does anxiety develop?

The cause for anxiety disorder is still unidentified but having years of anxiety can be a triggering factor. It can develop not only because it runs in the family, but due to events that cause nervousness or panic attacks.

If you are suffering from medical illnesses that cause anxiety such as seizures, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, then the tendency of having this disorder is possible. If your anxiety condition begins late, your medical condition can be the cause since mental problems mostly develop during the childhood or adolescence period.

Another reason is the environment. If you are stressed at work or is in a toxic relationship, anxiety can come up which may lead to a disorder. Experiencing traumatic events like separation, neglect, or abuse can be a factor as well.

It is hard to find the real cause of sleep anxiety disorder, but once you suffer from it, don’t keep it to yourself. It’s best to a professional to help you overcome anxiety.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

People may experience several types of anxiety.You should know which type is eating you so you can get the proper treatment.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, this type of anxiety is affecting millions of American adults annually. GAD is identified if a person’s excessive worrying on different things reaches six months or longer.

When you have a generalized anxiety disorder, you find it hard to concentrate, get irritated quickly, always feel tired, and it becomes hard to control your emotions.

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

People experiencing the OCD type of anxiety always have the desire to do specific compulsions repeatedly like the washing of hands. Also, people with this anxiety disorder have hostile urges or too concerned about cleanliness.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Individuals who have fears when it comes to social situations are suffering from this disorder. People who have this are afraid to be degraded or be judged by others. Also, this disorder can lead to feeling alone or embarrassed.

Panic Disorder

People having panic disorder are suffering from impulsive anxiety, panic attacks, shortness of breath, chest pains, and palpitations. If you have this, there is a possibility that other anxiety disorders may occur also.

If you have this disorder, you tend to tremble and cannot control your feelings. You also sweat when panic attacks.

Phobias

A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder which makes a person fearful of specific objects, situation, or activity such as natural disasters and animals.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

The PTSD happens after a person has a traumatic experience like accidents, wars, or natural disaster. People who have this find it hard to relax or always have alarming dreams.

Signs of Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems affecting a lot of people – no matter the age. This disorder does not only fill the mind with worries, but it also deprives you of getting the sleep you need.

Just in case you are not aware, sleep deprivation is among the leading causes of the 100, 000 deaths in US hospitals each year?

Are you suffering from an anxiety disorder? Here are signs to watch out for.

1. Gets Tired Easily

If you easily get tired, this can be a sign of anxiety. It may not be a common sign for this disorder but exhaustion can cause anxiety attacks and can even lead to depression.

2. Loss of focus

When you lose your focus, it means that you are deprived of sleeping and is also having anxiety. According to one study, people who have an anxiety disorder are having problems in focusing which affects the memory.

3. Extreme Irritability

If you feel extreme irritability, it can be a sign that you are suffering from an anxiety disorder. People who have anxiety disorder tend to get irritated most likely when the condition is at its worst.

4. Hard to Fall Asleep

Anxiety can lead to sleep disturbances which makes it hard for you to fall asleep. If you keep on waking up in the middle of the night and finds it difficult to get back to your slumber, it can only mean that anxiety is taking over you.

5. Excessive Qualms

People who have fears that are irrational like getting afraid of animals or particular objects are suffering from phobias, and this is a sign of anxiety. If you get afraid out of unreasonable fears, it can affect your ability to function which will stop you from performing your daily routine.

Are you experiencing these signs? Pay a visit to your doctor and have yourself treated before the situation gets worse.

Effects of Anxiety to the Body

Anxiety does not only affect your sleep. It can also greatly affect your body if you don’t have it cured. While it is true that being anxious is a normal feeling, experiencing severe anxiety is a different story. Your body is the first one to suffer.

Know what happens to your body when anxiety eats you.

1. Your body becomes stressed

When anxiety attacks, your body is exposed to extreme stress which makes the condition worst. With this, you can get dizzy or have headaches. When you are anxious, your body is more open to stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline which can lead to health problems.

2. Your heart is at risk

Suffering from an anxiety disorder can put your heart at risk since this illness makes your heart palpitate and the heart rate is fast. If the disorder becomes worst, there is a high chance of heart disease, chest pain, and high blood pressure.

3. Digestion is affected

Don’t think that anxiety only happens in the head because this illness can lead to digestive problems if ignored. Your digestion can become worse and may suffer from diarrhea, stomachaches and other issues connected to digestion. Also, you may lose your appetite and may develop irritable bowel syndrome which can make you vomit or constipated.

4. Prone to infections

If you have an anxiety disorder, you are putting your body at risk since this illness can make you prone to infections as it weakens your immune system. With this, you may get sick frequently even though you get regular vaccines.

Being anxious can be normal but having chronic anxiety is not good for your body. Letting this illness dominate, you are submitting your body to dangers which can be fatal in the long-run.

When anxiety hits you, sleep is affected. With this, your body is prone to different illnesses which can make your situation worse. If you want to achieve a good sleep even anxiety is lingering, find out below.

How to Fight Sleep Anxiety Disorder

If anxiety creeps on you frequently and you want to fight it to live a healthy life, here are effective ways to pull off.

1. Exercise every day.

Exercising on a daily basis can help you fall asleep quickly. You can do some brisk walking which can enhance your sleep especially to people who have insomnia. Also, you can do exercises like yoga that helps in minimizing stress and anxiety.

2. Avoid stressful activities.

Stress is one of the triggering factors why you suffer from anxiety and sleep disorder. To make yourself sleep soundly at night, you better leave those stressful activities like checking heated social media arguments, especially before bedtime to avoid you from thinking too much.

3. Visit your doctor.

If you have done everything you can to fall asleep, but still anxiety is stopping you, it is best to visit your doctor for better treatment. In this way, you can freely address your worries and will know how to cure it.

4. Stop taking too much caffeine.

Drinking coffee, tea and other beverages with caffeine can be therapeutic. However, too much of it can be bad for you since it can greatly affect your sleep. It can keep you awake for hours which lessens your amount of sleep. Also, caffeine is not good for people with anxiety since it can trigger panic attacks.

5. Meditate.

Meditating can help you get enough sleep and reduce anxiety. With this, you can visualize an environment that is tranquil which will help you to release stress. Just breathe in and breathe out and everything will work perfectly fine.

6. Have someone to talk to.

Suffering from anxiety sometimes builds walls from others which makes it hard for someone to overcome it. If you are suffering from this disorder, it is best to have someone to talk which will help you to vent out your worries to calm your mind. Your friends and family are the ideal people you can talk.

7. Get rid of gadgets.

Gadgets can be entertaining, but if you are experiencing sleep anxiety disorder, it is best if you get rid of this especially before going to bed. Tablets, smartphones, and television lights can keep you awake and will less likely drag more of your sleeping time. Also, avoid checking your emails or performing your work as it can emanate anxious feelings which makes it hard for your brain to calm down.

8. List down your things-to-do.

Sometimes, thinking of what to do first can make you anxious which sometimes lead you to sleep late. To avoid this, better write down your things-to-do on a piece of paper to avoid your mind from thinking too much and for you to do everything you planned without worrying.

9. Have a regular sleep schedule

Having a sleep schedule can help to reduce anxiety and improve your sleep. Waking up and going to bed on the same time every day will help your body to adapt and your internal body clock can become better.

10. Calm your mind.

Before sleeping, some things will make you anxious which avoids you from falling asleep. However, if you calm your mind before sleeping, this will help you to focus more on to snooze. You can read a book or listen to serene music to put your mind at ease.

11. Relax your body.

There are instances wherein you have spent 20 minutes of your time trying to sleep but still can’t. If this goes on, you can get out of your bed and find ways to relax your body like taking a warm bath to make you sleepy.

These tips can help you fight anxiety and help you achieve a quality sleep experience.

Can Anxiety Disorder be Treated?

Anxiety disorder can be treated through medication and therapy. With this, you can choose which one will fit your needs to help you get away with this condition without causing yourself too much trouble.

Therapy

One way of treating anxiety disorder is through psychotherapy. This is a therapy done to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one effective treatment if you are diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you manage your anxieties and will slowly bring you back to activities that you keep on dodging because of your worries.

Medication

Another way to treat anxiety is medication. There are various types of medications that your doctor may recommend. Antidepressants, Benzodiazepines, and Buspirone are some of the drugs that a professional may prescribe to help ease your anxiety. However, it may depend on the level of the disorder either it is serious or mild.

You have different options to treat anxiety. If you don’t want to take medications, a therapy can be a good help. But if you think taking prescribed drugs is the way to go, we recommend you to seek your doctor’s recommendation first before taking any to avoid any complication.

When you treat your anxiety, your sleep disorder is also treated. So, if you want to get away from your sleep anxiety disorder, never hesitate to get treatment to avoid it from getting worse.

When you suffer from anxiety, your sleep is also at stake since these two are correlated. If worries keep running in your mind, it will be difficult for you to doze. The result is either you will feel restless or will lose concentration which can affect your normal day-to-day routine.

See your doc!

When the time comes that anxiety disorder hits you hard, the best solution is to see your doctor. A professional can help you recognize why the illness keeps happening and will provide the right and proper treatment to ease your anxiety and to help you get out of the mental problem gradually.

Don’t let anxiety ruin your life! Destroy it before it destroys you!

Bonus tip to get a better sleep

Another effective way to help you get better sleep is by using a comfortable mattress that suits your needs and situation. When you sleep on the right mattress, you get your daily dose of sleep and you wake up feeling relaxed.

Check out our SleePare reviews to find the right mattress that will help you achieve a sound sleep and anxiety-free life!

References:

Anxiety and physical illness, Harvard Health Publishing. Available from:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/anxiety_and_physical_illness

Sleep Disorders, Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Available from:
https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/sleep-disorders

Anxiety and Sleep, PSYCOM. Available from:

https://www.psycom.net/anxiety-and-sleep/

Stress and Anxiety Interfere With Sleep, Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Available from:
https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/stress-and-anxiety-interfere

Anxiety and Sleep: A Case of Cause & Effect, Fairmount Behavioral Health System. Available from:
https://fairmountbhs.com/patients-families/resources/anxiety-and-sleep-a-case-of-cause-effect/

How Anxiety Develops, Alvarado Parkway Institute. Available from:
https://www.apibhs.com/blog/2016/8/23/how-anxiety-develops

Therapy for Anxiety Disorders, HelpGuide. Available from:
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/therapy-for-anxiety-disorders.htm/

I Feel Worried, THIS WAY UP. Available from:
https://thiswayup.org.au/how-do-you-feel/worried/