Anxiety and Sleep Eight Steps to Overcoming Night Time Anxiety and Better Sleep

Published: 12th May 2010
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Anxiety and sleep challenges are two of the most common conditions that impact our everyday lives. It is not unusual to see these two common disorder existing simultaneously, in fact it is quite common. In other words the more anxiety you are feeling the harder it is to get enough sleep. If you fail to get enough sleep then you in turn experience more anxiety due to sleeplessness which in turn affects your thinking and overall mental health, providing a fertile environment for depression and other mental health concerns.

Wow, that was a mouth full and just writing about these two cohorts is making me a little jittery. I can only imagine how you must be feeling right about now after reading my rant about anxiety and sleep! So now that we have gotten that out of the way why don't we get down to business and learn more about anxiety and sleep.

Most experts believe sleeplessness is caused by an imbalance in neurotransmitter chemical activity in the brain with serotonin being the main culprit. On the other hand when you are feeling anxious your endocrine glands are flooding your bloodstream with adrenaline and cortisol which in turn triggers a serious of symptoms both in our minds and bodies such as the inability to concentrate, an increase in blood pressure, and shallow breathing. The bottom line is that both anxiety and sleep produce altered states of physical and mental health.

Do you awaken earlier than you want or need to?

Not only do anxious people generally have trouble falling asleep because of the flood of anxiety hormones coursing through their veins but once they do dose off they probably will awaken long before they want to due to anxious thoughts racing through their minds. In essence they are running themselves into the ground from lack of sleep and can't seem to break the cycle. This may create other changes as well including loss of appetite, chronic fatigue, moodiness, irritability, inability to focus on tasks, depression, and a loss of interest in participating in activities which they once found to be enjoyable. If you are on this see-saw roller coaster ride you should talk with your doctor about finding a way to break the anxiety and sleep disruption cycle.

Home remedy ideas for diffusing anxiety and better sleep

*Burn off that excess adrenaline and cortisol at least three hours before bedtime: Finding time to exercise can be very helpful in restoring quality sleep but you must be careful not to exercise to close to bedtime. When you exercise you will burn off most of the adrenaline and other hormones that has been flooding your system as well as triggering your body to produce more of the feel good sleep endorphin serotonin.

*Don't sleep during the day: A quick powernap is a good thing but sleeping too much during the day will make it difficult to get a good night's sleep.

*Be predictable: Try to establish a consistent sleep patter where you go to bed at a certain time each evening.

*Say no to caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant and is often overlooked as a cause of both anxiety and sleep disorders. Try drinking water with your evening meal instead of tea or coffee. Beware of chocolate as well, which contains a lot of caffeine.

*Avoid visual anxiety drivers just before bed: If you are riddled with anxiety because of a loss, financial concerns, or going through a divorce don't keep reminders in your sleep area. Additionally, it is a good idea to watch happy feel good television at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

*Master relaxation breathing: Learning how to breathe in a way that relaxes your mind and body can be a very helpful tool. One of the simplest methods is to take deep breaths through your nose, hold for a 2 seconds, and then slowly release through your mouth. Repeat until you feel anxiety start to abate and sleepiness start to appear.

* Herbal remedies for anxiety: If you are having trouble overcoming your anxiety you might consider a natural remedy to help you bridge the gap between anxiety and sleep.

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