I have to agree that our brain has an annoying tendency to bring up worst-case scenarios and other lousy happening at night. This kind of worry is what leads to disrupted night sleep or ability to calmly fall asleep. Fortunately, since anxiety is often triggered by our thinking, we can think better towards a good night sleep.While dealing with anxiety is not easy, there are several tips and lifestyle changes that can lead to a significant positive impact on our overall sleep. This article has addressed anxiety -related insomnia and general anxiety to help you find help on time.
Signs and symptoms of anxiety
How can you tell your anxiety needs a doctor’s attention? For some people, anxiety may become so frequent until it begins to take over their life. Here is how to spot anxiety from the start:
Excessive worry: Mostly being restless and worried about past events and things that you have no control over.
Sleep distraction or insomnia: Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep is one other sure sign of anxiety. In most times you may find your self-lying awake, agitated and annoyed.
Irrational fears: Some anxiety is not generalized; it is attached to specific events like crowds or animals. Phobia can be crippling they are not present all the time.
Muscle tension: Constant muscle ache that includes clenching the jaw and balling the fist. This symptom may seem usual but in the actual sense, it could take a toll on your overall health. Exercises could help you keep your muscles in check.
Chronic constipation or indigestion: Even though anxiety starts in mind it can show itself throughout the body with symptoms such as irritable bowel symptoms and constipation or indigestion. During anxiety, the gut becomes overly overactive leading to constipation.
Stage fright: Even though most people get butterflies when addressing the public, deep sense of fear during such circumstances could be a sign of anxiety. Social anxiety may lead to one occasionally worrying about events that are yet to take place over several weeks.
Panic: Panic attacks may be terrifying; a panic attack is a sudden gripping fear that can last for some minutes. A pounding or racing heart is the hallmark of this.
Compulsive behaviour: Obsessive thinking and compulsive disorder occurs when one needs to forcefully complete rituals and practices.
Self-doubt: persistent self-doubt and second-guessing is a common feature of anxiety.
Causes of anxiety
Anxiety can be attributed to several factors. Here are a few common causes of anxiety:
- Withdrawal from an illicit substance use
- Brain chemistry
- Environmental factors such as stress school tasks and workplace-related havocs
How is anxiety diagnosed?
It takes a combined effort to diagnose anxiety. Therefore it is essential to do the following before your appointment to the doctor:
- Make a list of symptoms that you have been experiencing including when they occur and how they affect your daily activities.
- Make a list of personal information include your significant life changes and stressful events of several months or a couple of days.
- Also, make a list of medical problems of mental or physical conditions that you have been diagnosed with.
- Make a list of any vitamins or herbs that you have recently taken
- Make a list of questions that you want your doctor to answer regarding your anxiety.
To help make a conclusion of general anxiety disorder your doctor may:
- Carry out a physical examination of your body to look for signs linked to medications or even underlying medical issues.
- Ask you to have blood and urine tests in case of a medical condition
- Take a detailed history about your signs and symptoms
Is anxiety disorder treatable?
Treatments are based on the impact of the general disorder on your daily activities. The main types of treatments widely offered for an anxiety disorder or anxiety-induced insomnia are psychotherapy and medications. While it might take trial and error to finally find the right medication for you, it is advisable to hang in there.
Psychotherapy simply refers to counselling. It involves working closely with a therapist to examine your symptoms and find ways of dealing with them. Cognitive behavioural therapy is the most effective type of psychotherapy for general insomnia related anxiety.
Cognitive counselling entails teaching one on how to deal with worries or stress. This way you can gradually return to the activities you avoid as a result of anxiety. This process helps you improve your initial symptoms as you build on success.
There are several types of drugs to treat general anxiety that could be leading to insomnia. Before any medication is issued to you, be sure to talk widely with your doctor about side effects and risks involved. However, the classes of medication listed below have been found useful in dealing with anxiety.
Antidepressants: These are medications that include serotonin re-uptake inhibitors and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. These are the first line medication treatment. Treatment in this class includes duloxetine, venlafaxine, and paroxetine. Your doctor may also prescribe other medications not mentioned here.
Benzodiazepines: Although very rarely will your doctor prescribe benzodiazepines for relieving anxiety disorder. This class is made of sedatives that are used for relieving acute cases of anxiety. They can only be used on a short time basis because they can simply be addictive.
Buspirone: This drug may be used on an on-going basis. Unlike other anti-depressants, it takes sometime before it can be eventually useful.
Tips for getting rid of anxiety
Identify what is worrying you: Realizing the source of anxiety is the first step towards solving your anxiety disorder. Try finding out if you are stressed in general or a particular thing. Because people worry about different things, it is essential to find out what worries you most.
Get out of bed: If you ever find yourself awake in the middle of the night, just get out of bed. Majority of people stay lying awake in bed with hopes of falling back into sleep only to last that way for so long. Getting out of the bedroom helps you find something soothing to do thus helping you fall back to sleep much faster.
Address issues leading to anxiety: Past research has shown that putting your worries into something physical may help you stay calm and clear your mind. To do this, get a pad and a paper and dump all that you are worried about in there. If you never throw it away, it will still linger in mind the next day.
- Anxiety is a vicious cycle; worrying about lack of sleep at night might itself lead to increased anxiety. A good night is essential in fighting the anxiety disorder, but the repeated worry about your insomnia will have you lying awake in bed most nights.
- Insomnia and sudden waking up at night are major common complaints of anxiety. Here are tips to help you get rid of anxiety related insomnia for good.
Keep your schedule: Try and go to bed each time of the night and wake up the same time each morning. Do not encourage sleep-ins even on weekends. It is important that you experiment with different sleeping and waking up times so that you can find your natural sleeping cycle.
Avoid napping: If you can’t eliminate napping, keep it short as short as half an hour. Also, take your naps in the afternoon, late napping may interfere with good night sleep.
Avoid using electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime: Electronics keep your mind stimulated. The lights from your phone and laptop interfere with the natural diurnal cycle. Always leave your devices out of your bedroom or switch them off as soon as you get to the bedroom.
Dim the lights in the house several hours before bedtime: Always find a way of lowering the voltage of your bulbs or merely put off the lights to have the body send signals to the brain that it is sleeping time.
Avoid caffeinated drinks: coffee, alcohol, and tea have what we call caffeine which is a major ingredient is stimulating your nerves hence lessening your chances of having a good night sleep.
Use white noise: Most people may find the sound or noise from a fan soothing. For some years now technology has given birth to white noise machines and applications to sooth you to good night sleep.
Create pre-sleep trials: Always find a way to calm your mind before bedtime. This could be reading a good book or listening to music. Meditating or taking a warm shower, may also work very well towards helping you get the proper night sleep that you deserve.
Relax by use of imagery: Try to use specific apps with guided images to help you meditate and finally fall asleep.
Keep a simple journal: Write down things that make you happy and read through before bedtime. Also, include the tie that you go to bed each night. Each morning also includes how you slept, the activities you did close to bedtime. This way you can find what works perfectly for you for a better sleep.
Keep your room at good temperatures: Majority of people sleep well when there is a cool temperature in their room. Even though everyone is a bit different, it is essential to find out what works for you in the long run.
Try using a flashlight or nightlight when you wake up: Bright lights may signal your brain of daytime, to avoid this try use natural light to help the brain sleeps in the sleep mode. You can keep a flashlight to use while walking to the toilet to avoid switching on the lights.
Try the experiment with different scents: Specific scents such as lavender are great when it comes to soothing you for a good night sleep. Spray natural scents on the pillow and bed sheets to see if such scents help you get a good night sleep.
Try breathing exercises: When you find yourself awake in bed for about 5 minutes, try to inhale deeply and hold for some five seconds. Always pay attention to your breathing to help relax your mind and keep it calm.
Cover the clock: I understand that there is nothing as bad as lying awake and watching the minutes go by without falling sleep. To avoid this, cover your clock so that you are not tempted to check what time it is.
Be comfortable before going to bed: Use soft colours for your sheets and decorations to create a calm environment that can cultivate a good night sleep,
Go into natural lights as soon you wake up: Bright light tells the body that it is time to wake up. By doing this, your body naturally regulates the internal clock, and soon you will not be having trouble waking up.
Try not to sleep immediately after dinner: Sleeping on the couch after dinner may cost you a good night sleep afterwards. Try cleaning your utensils or doing laundry to help yourself stay up until it is the right time to sleep.
SOURCES AND REFERENCES
- Sleep and psychiatric disorders (June 2010)
- Insomnia (January 2015)
- Nocturnal panic attacks: What causes them (March 2014)