Sleep anxiety is a possible outcome for anyone who suffers from any type of anxiety disorder or depression. It goes beyond having a night or two of restlessness or lack of sleep. Sleep anxiety means regularly being so restless that you can’t sleep at all or waking up in the middle of the night in a full sweat feeling a sense of panic.
Millions of people have persistent sleep problems that may lead to full-blown sleep disorders. There are over 70 different known sleep disorders, that are categorized in three ways, two of which are complete lack of sleep and disturbed sleep. In some cases these sleep disorders can lead to night sweats in men and women.
What Is Sleep Anxiety?
A sleep anxiety disorder is usually brought on by an existing anxiety disorder. This includes generalized anxiety where the person is always in a state of worry or nervousness.
Other anxiety disorders include panic disorder, post traumatic stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, and social anxiety.
The main characteristic of a sleep anxiety disorder is a person’s lack of ability to get into a normal sleep pattern. Without a normal sleep pattern, mental, physical, and emotional health can be affected. Anyone who can’t easily fall asleep, who wakes up often, and then wakes up too early are often diagnosed with insomnia.
Risks of Continued Sleep Anxiety
Living with chronic sleep anxiety can do much more than just make the sufferer constantly tired. There are many risks to overall health like heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and even obesity. Anxiety can also lead to gastrointestinal issues.
The emotional factor of sleeplessness is just as serious. The more the person can’t sleep, the more obsessive thought patterns may become, worries continue or worsen, stress levels increase, and the inability to sleep gets even worse.
How to Treat Sleep Anxiety Naturally
A problem with sleep anxiety and anxiety disorders is that there is no good way to know if the anxiety is causing the sleeping issues or if the sleeplessness is causing the anxiety. Most methods of treating the sleep anxiety should also work on the connected anxiety disorder.
For someone with sleep anxiety, there are natural treatments and behavior modification techniques that can help, such as:
- Meditation – During meditation it is important for you to focus on your breathing and slowly inhale and exhale. Visualization is important, such as picturing a specific place that you have always loved or felt safe, or even imagining yourself alone in a beautiful forest or on a deserted beach. You need not adhere to any time constraint. Meditate as long as it takes for you to feel calm.
- Exercise – I’m sure you’re familiar with the many benefits of good exercise. It is a panacea for both physical and mental health. The hormones that are released during exercise, called endorphins, can lighten mood and help you sleep as long as you don’t exercise within a few hours of going to bed.
- Music – Listening to calming music can help relax you and reduce your blood pressure.
- Sleep – While anxiety can reduce your ability to get a good night’s sleep, not getting enough sleep can also increase anxiety levels, so it is important to focus on getting enough sleep. If you need help try some of these Tips for Improving Sleep.
- Redirect Your Anxiety – Helping others is often a good way to take your mind off of your own fears and anxiety. Try volunteering or helping friends, family or neighbors.
- Natural Remedies – Natural remedies can be helpful for some people. Rhodiola rosea has been studied for its ability to help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, but because this remedy can increase energy levels it is important to take it in the morning. Natural remedies like chamomile, Valerian or melatonin that are calming or that help with sleep may also provide some benefit.
It is very important for someone with any type of anxiety or sleep disorder to see his or her doctor. You should never solely rely on the internet to diagnose and treat yourself. These things can be successfully treated with medication, relaxation therapies, and cognitive behavioral therapy._____________________________________