Anxiety is an extremely prevalent mental health condition across the United States. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), roughly 50% of people who have been diagnosed with depression will also be diagnosed with some type of anxiety disorder. From sweating to trembling to heart palpitations, there are several unnerving physical symptoms that can arise for anxiety sufferers. One of the most common is worsened sleep quality, which can significantly affect your overall quality of life.
Let’s take a look at the relationship between sleep and anxiety, as well as some tips you can follow to get a better night’s sleep in spite of your anxiety.
The Relationship Between Sleep and Anxiety
Anyone who has struggled with anxiety knows what a toll it can take on your sleep quality. They also know how poor sleep quality and/or sleep deprivation can exacerbate your anxiety symptoms. It’s a vicious and exhausting cycle.
Sleep disturbances are a common side effect associated with anxiety. Take insomnia as an example, which is defined as persistent difficulty with falling asleep, staying asleep or getting a proper quality of sleep. Many people often experience worsened sleep quality because anxious thoughts will keep them up at night and/or will wake them up in the middle of the night. There has also been research which suggests that anxiety triggers higher levels of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This is the stage of sleep in which vivid dreaming occurs; in other words, anxiety can lead to more vivid and disturbing dreams, which can hinder someone from feeling fully rested.
How to Improve Your Sleep Quality With Anxiety
1. Create a Better Sleep Environment
Sleep hygiene refers to all the habits you build and practice to get a good night’s sleep. One of these habits needs to be curating a sleep environment that is conducive to relaxation and restfulness. This means investing in a comfortable mattress as well as quality pillows and blankets. You’ll also want to eliminate sources of light and noise to ensure disturbances are at a minimum.
2. Visit a Sleep Clinic
It never hurts to seek the guidance of a professional. If your anxiety-driven sleep issues are persisting, consider going to a sleep clinic to get a consultation. The experts at these clinics will be able to provide you better insight into what the underlying causes could be. Plus, they will be able to offer you some helpful ideas on how to improve your sleep patterns.
3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is also known as talk therapy. It involves you speaking with a licensed psychologist about the issues you’ve been facing and collaboratively developing solutions to improve your quality of life. CBT has been found to have positive effects on people with anxiety. By addressing your anxiety head-on, you’ll have a better shot at ameliorating your sleep duration and quality.
Living with anxiety is undoubtedly challenging, and it’s even harder when it interferes with your sleep. Given that sleep is crucial to living a healthy and balanced life, it’s vital to take action immediately if your anxiety is hindering you from getting the rest you deserve. The sooner you use these tips to combat your anxiety, the sooner you’ll reap the rewards of a restful sleep.