Anxiety and insomnia have such a strong link these two can lead you into a repeating cycle. This repeating cycle has been researched and has shown treating insomnia is an effective way of dealing with the feelings of anxiety. By easing anxiety they have found sleep patterns can be improved. Anxiety is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry. (WebMD)
Chronic insomnia affects 10 percent of adults in the U.S. alone.
Chronic insomnia is characterized by sleep issues lasting for one month or more.
This includes not being able to fall asleep, stay asleep or feeling that overall your quality of sleep is suffering.
Talk To Your Dr If You Have Symptoms
Your doctor can help you identify whether you are dealing with chronic insomnia or something else. It is possible these symptoms could be an underlying sign of another health issue. Having trouble sleeping could be a symptom of heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy, menopause, arthritis or epilepsy and your doctor can rule out any other issues. Making a treatment plan with your doctor is the next step to addressing the problem.
Foods Can Aggravate Anxiety
Certain foods could be a contributing factor causing both anxiety and insomnia.
Alcohol and caffeine are known to be the two biggest culprits. Try to avoid foods such as tea, coffee, soft drink and chocolate, especially close to bedtime. The National Sleep Foundation says to avoid caffeine before bedtime. Some medications may contain caffeine, I take those types in the morning and anything that may cause me to feel more tired at bedtime.
Smoking Can Keep You Awake
Sometimes people that smoke find they are not sleeping well. Anxiety and/or insomnia may be relieved if you quit smoking. Did you know that nicotine acts to increase your blood pressure? Which in turn increases your heart rate and stimulates your brain. Then you wonder why you can’t get a good night’s sleep! If you are not ready to quit, see if limiting smoking a few hours before going to bed helps.
Foods Containing Calcium, B Vitamins And Magnesium Better Than Alcohol
Some have found drinking a glass or two of wine before bed helps getting to sleep. While it may help you fall asleep, your sleep may not last long and then you wake up feeling tired and groggy. Getting back to sleep may not as easy. If you feel the need to snack before bed, try to find foods containing calcium, B vitamins and magnesium. This may be the reason to drink a glass of ‘warm milk’ to help get to sleep. Drinking an herbal tea like chamomile or sleepy time, can help bring on a calming feeling.
Exercise Can Improve Sleep
Another really good way to deal with anxiety and insomnia is by starting some type of exercise routine. Walking a minimum of 2 or 3 times each week can do wonders for your health, and help induce sleep at night time. Exercising can have a stimulating effect your brain and body, so avoid exercising to close to bedtime . Try to work your way up to a 20 minute walk per day. You could try to make it a family or couple activity. Head out after supper to wind down the kids. Have bath time for the kids to further the relaxing properties. Then grab a relaxing bath or shower for the parent(s).
Create A Calming Atmosphere
Another cause of your insomnia could be your bedroom! Keep your room as dark as possible checking for an outside street light that may be coming in through the curtain. If you happen to live on a busy street you might want to try wearing a sleep mask at night or get light blocking curtains. Also check the temperature of your room. You don’t want to be too warm. Some people find it helpful to sleep with their window open a little.
Using white noise can be useful. Running a fan to keep the air moving and the soft hum can ‘cover up’ noise. There are phone and tablet apps with different types of white noise. Nature sounds can help calm the senses. Noise or light from the television can disrupt sleep.
Bath products and lotions can be found with soothing scents such as lavender or vanilla. I keep a lavender/vanilla candle in the bathroom for greater relaxation by dimming the lights when I need an extra ‘umph’ in your relaxation routine.
The more you fret and worry the worse your insomnia becomes, it can become a viscous cycle. It is not easy to keep from becoming anxious or stressed out over not sleeping. Try to begin some calming routines before bed. Begin to recondition your mind, trying to convince yourself that you are tired and you will fall asleep. It will be difficult at first but try to always keep a positive mindset and not a negative one. Look forward to sleep – maybe even treat yourself to a new pillow and comforter. Reading or listening to some relaxing music can all help induce sleep.
NOTE: This is not meant to take the place of medical attention. I am not a medical or mental health professional. This information is only to help bring about awareness of anxiety and insomnia.