After a long, stressful day, one looks forward to a good night’s rest to replenish depleted energy but you, on the other hand, are stuck in a constant battle to find sleep. If you constantly spend your nights awake with your thoughts racing without a destination, you are clearly anxious and need to learn how to treat insomnia due to anxiety.
Feelings of anxiety are normal as anxiety is simply the body’s response to situations of uncertainty that make us feel nervous or stressed for example; the interview for a job you want, the first day at a new school, or moving to a new place.
However, there is nothing normal about consistent anxiety problems especially when it contributes to your sleepless nights, which is why you’re interested in learning the best tips on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety.
If you’re finding it impossible to fall asleep or anxiety keeps waking you up at night or if you’re wondering whether or not your anxiety and sleep deprivation problems are related then look no further, you’re in the perfect place. This guide on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety has all the answers you need.
Table of Contents
- Sleep Anxiety Symptoms
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder Sleep Problems
- Mini Panic Attacks When Falling Asleep
- Anxiety Sleeping Next to Someone
- Ways to Treat Anxiety and Insomnia
- Natural Remedies for Insomnia and Anxiety
- Relaxation Techniques for Sleep Anxiety
- Best Antidepressants to Aid Sleep
- How to Soothe Someone to Sleep
Sleep Anxiety Symptoms
There is a connection between anxiety and sleep deprivation as well as between sleep anxiety symptoms and insomnia symptoms. People with anxiety disorders tend to have difficulties in sleeping, while in some people, insomnia is what leads to their anxiety.
So what is Insomnia? Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which an individual is unable to fall asleep or finds it difficult to stay asleep.
A person suffering from sleep deprivation may experience any or all of the following insomnia symptoms:
● Feeling grumpy, restless, or antsy.
● Finding it difficult to concentrate.
● Feeling tired or restless during the day.
● Difficulty in sleeping at night or constantly waking up at night.
● Feelings of worry, tension, or fear.
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Some of these insomnia symptoms may coincide with other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea (when an individual’s breathing stops temporarily causing them to wake up frequently) and narcolepsy (when a person suffers from uncontrollable daytime sleeping). The various methods on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety listed in this guide can also be applied to treat other sleep disorders.
If you are suffering from any of the symptoms listed above, then you clearly have insomnia but are you suffering from insomnia due to anxiety and in need of the secrets on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety? Let’s find out.
Sleep anxiety symptoms occur when insomnia symptoms become more persistent and severe. These symptoms include:
● Constant feelings of worry, fear, and apprehension.
● Constantly feeling irritated, grumpy, or upset.
● Inability to sleep despite being tired.
● Overthinking and worrying at night.
● Waking up frequently during the night.
● Inability to sleep after waking up.
● Experiencing fatigue and drowsiness during the day.
● Feeling tired even after sleeping.
● Muscle tension or pain.
● Stomach cramps.
● Loss of appetite.
● Rapid breathing.
● Difficulties in concentrating and memorizing.
If you’re experiencing more than one of these symptoms, we can move on to all you need to know about anxiety disorders and the various ways on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety.
There are several types of anxiety disorders tied to insomnia and these include;
● Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
● Panic disorder.
● Phobia related disorders.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Sleep Problems
Are you prone to constantly overthinking the smallest details, staying up late worrying, and easily getting upset? Then there’s a good chance that you are suffering from generalized anxiety disorder sleep problems (GAD) and in dire need of tips on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety.
People suffering from generalized anxiety disorder sleep problems, experience a high level of worry, tension, and apprehension for little or no reason at all.
Symptoms of Generalized anxiety disorder sleep problems (GAD) include:
● Being easily irritated or upset.
● Difficulties in controlling thoughts and feelings of worry and fear.
● Difficulties in concentrating and remembering things.
● Getting easily fatigued.
● Constantly feeling restless, uneasy, or fearful.
● Having difficulties with sleeping on time, staying asleep, and thinking in the middle of the night.
● Feeling tired even after sleeping.
If you’re suffering from generalized anxiety disorder sleep problems, you are more liable to get depressed, and this will impact your lifestyle negatively. But don’t worry, these pro tips on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety are sure to get you back on the right track.
Mini Panic Attacks When Falling Asleep
Do you usually wake up clutching your chest, sweating, and gasping for breath? If yes, then you’re a victim of mini panic attacks when falling asleep.
People with panic disorders suffer from recurrent and sudden mini panic attacks when falling asleep or while they’re awake. This means that you suddenly experience periods of profound fear and physical symptoms such as sweating, chest pains, and palpitations (rapid and irregular heartbeats).
Panic attacks sometimes feel like you’re suffocating or suffering from a heart attack. People suffering from panic attacks are constantly living in fear of their next attack and worrying about how to prevent it.
The time and effort spent worrying and trying to prevent panic attacks often cause more problems like Somniphobia or Hypnophobia also known as sleep phobia, sleep anxiety, or sleep dread (they all refer to the fear of sleeping), and nocturnal panic attacks.
Nocturnal panic attacks have the same symptoms as daytime panic attacks the only difference is they occur at night or while a person is asleep. This means that they suffer from mini panic attacks when falling asleep.
Frequent mini panic attacks when falling asleep will prevent a person from sleeping. If you’re a victim of panic attacks then be rest assured that your problem will be solved with these tips on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety.
Anxiety Sleeping Next to Someone
If you’re experiencing anxiety sleeping next to someone then your partner may just be the source of your sleepless nights.
Sharing a bed with someone can be stressful no matter the compatibility between the two of you, if you’ve been feeling anxious about this, then you’re not alone.
Have you noticed how you pick up the habits of your best friend or someone you spend a great deal of time with? The same rule applies to someone you share your bed with.
If your bed partner struggles with sleep, tossing and turning all night long, you also won’t be able to sleep. If they have a habit of waking up in the middle of the night or sleeping late, you will undoubtedly do the same.
When another person’s sleep pattern contradicts your regular sleep routine, it doesn’t take a genius to understand why you are searching for how to treat insomnia due to anxiety because when you’re not sleeping thanks to one person, you start to experience anxiety sleeping next to someone.
Anxiety about sleeping next to someone might sound illogical to some people but it is a phobia-related disorder. While some people suffer from anxiety from sleeping next to someone, others find it impossible to fall asleep alone.
Ways to Treat Anxiety and Insomnia
Now that we’ve covered the various anxiety disorders that may be fueling your insomnia, it’s time to learn how to treat insomnia due to anxiety.
There are many methods on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety. This guide covers the natural remedies for insomnia and anxiety, foods that help you stay asleep, relaxation techniques for sleep anxiety, and the best antidepressants that aid sleep. Below are possible ways to treat anxiety and insomnia.
Natural Remedies for Insomnia and Anxiety
Looking for a good night’s rest without having to depend on pills to do the job. Then try these natural remedies for insomnia and anxiety.
1. Warm milk and honey: Are you the type of person who depends on alcohol to induce sleep? Well say no more, forget the alcoholic method that’ll leave you waking up with a hangover, try a warm cup of milk and honey today.
The combination of warm milk and honey is one of the best-known natural sleep remedies. Why? The reason lies in the presence of tryptophan (an amino acid present in milk known for its ability to induce sleep).
Carbohydrates such as honey help to transmit serotonin (a hormone that works as a sedative) faster to the brain cells.
2. Chamomile tea: This is a great substitute for green tea which contains caffeine. Chamomile tea has calming effects and helps to induce sleep. It contains an antioxidant known as apigenin, which helps to decrease anxiety.
3. Listening to soothing music: Making a playlist of slow songs to listen to before bed has a calming effect on the mind and relaxes the body, making it the simplest method on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety.
4. Regular exercise: Lack of proper exercise contributes to anxiety and poor sleep. When tension in the muscles builds up, it leads to an increase in stress levels in the body.
A regular exercise routine helps to relax the muscles and improve the duration and quality of sleep. Exercising in the morning is preferable to working out in the afternoon or evening periods.
The more intense the workout routine, the higher the adrenaline levels in the body, high adrenaline levels at night would only impair sleeping. So if you must work out at night, a simple yoga or relaxation exercise would be the best choice.
5. Change the room temperature: Have you ever noticed how staying in a room with air conditioning, makes you want to lie down and take a nap? Cooler temperatures help to induce sleep faster than warm temperatures.
Everyone has their preferences so experiment till you find the temperature that’s perfect for your body.
6. Meditation and relaxation exercises: Meditation helps to slow down your train of thought and makes it easier to think more calmly and clearly. There are various methods of meditation and relaxation exercises such as yoga, which includes a series of breathing and relaxing exercises known to have healing effects on the mind and body.
7. Stick to a routine: Following a sleep schedule can help improve the quality of sleep you have. Choose a routine you can easily follow and stick to it, allowing your body to go to sleep at a particular time and wake up at a certain time.
This method only works when you have gotten better at inducing sleep and not when you’re still struggling with sleeping better. Go to bed 20-30 minutes earlier than your scheduled time, focus on your breathing, or do relaxing exercises, or listen to soothing music to help your mind relax and prepare for sleep.
8. Avoid sleeping during the day: No matter how tired you feel, do not take naps in the afternoon. Taking frequent naps can lead to insomnia.
If you notice you sleep more often in the day and not at night, start eliminating naps from your daily schedule or reducing naps to no more than 20-30 minutes.
9. Turn of the lights: Daylight signals your body to be awake just as darkness signals the brain to sleep. Turning off the bedroom lights or using an eye mask can help induce sleep faster.
10. Aromatherapy: The use of essential oils is a good method of relaxation and inducing sleep which is why aromatherapy is a popular technique used to relax both the mind and body.
How does it work?
Certain essential oils such as; Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Holy basil, Lemon, and Frankincense are known for their sweet scents which stimulate the nasal receptors and send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system (the part of the brain that controls emotions).
Therefore you can use essential oils either through a diffuser or directly on the skin to relax your mind and body with the pleasant scents and aromas.
11. Turn off all electronics: Spending time on your phone, laptop or other electronic devices will signal your brain to remain alert and active.
Also spending too much time on social media can trigger your anxiety and stress levels.
To avoid these complications, turn off electronic devices before beginning your nighttime routine.
12. Avoid thinking at night: Your main problem is your inability to stop thinking and worrying at night. Your insomnia is due to anxiety and the first step is to stay out of your head as much as possible.
Will this be easy? No, it requires a lot of work but don’t worry you can do it. You’ve already taken the first step by reading this guide, now what you need to do is practice what you’ve learned.
Make a to-do list at least an hour or two before bed, and write down all the things that have got you worried or stressed at the moment. Focus on them one by one, trying to look at them from a positive angle.
Tell yourself you can get the job you want, remind yourself of your good qualities, and fill your heart with hope rather than doubt. Focus on relaxing your mind and body (use the remedies listed above to achieve this) and remember, don’t think just relax.
13. Psychotherapy: This is also known as talk therapy and it is tailored specifically for the anxiety disorder a person is suffering from by the psychiatrist or therapist to meet their individual needs and help solve their problems.
Therapy sessions with a professional can help improve your anxiety levels especially if they’re severe. As the saying goes, “a problem shared is a problem half solved.” If you are interested in trying online therapy with licensed professionals, check out BetterHelp’s therapy services.
Other natural remedies for insomnia and anxiety include foods that help you stay asleep such as:
● Cherry juice: Cherries or cherry juice is a natural sleep aid as the fruit contains a high melatonin content. Melatonin is a hormone that is released naturally in the brain and triggers sleepiness.
Drinking a glass of cherry juice an hour or two before bed is a common method on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety.
● Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, lettuce, and kale contain high amounts of calcium which helps the brain to effectively use tryptophan in the process of manufacturing melatonin to induce sleep faster.
● Bananas: This fruit contains high levels of potassium and magnesium, which are known for their benefits on the skin and general health. Bananas also contain tryptophan which helps to promote calmness in the body as well as produce melatonin which helps to induce sleep.
Drinking bananas with milk gives the body vitamin B6, which helps to convert tryptophan into serotonin, the hormone which works as a natural sedative in the brain.
● Oatmeal: Taking a warm bowl of oatmeal for dinner will help with sleeping easier, as oats are rich in melatonin, which relaxes the body and helps you fall asleep.
● Nuts: Walnuts, Almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds contain their own source of melatonin and are therefore good natural remedies for treating insomnia.
Relaxation Techniques for Sleep Anxiety
Here are some simple relaxation techniques for sleep anxiety.
This is a relaxation technique that requires mental focus in order to boost self-awareness, relax the body, and bring peace to the mind.
How to mediate:
1. Remove all distractions from the room or find a quiet area to lie down.
2. Keep your eyes closed as you breathe in deeply and slowly, focusing on keeping your breathing relaxed.
3. If you get distracted by a sound or a thought that comes to mind, don’t pay attention to it but let it go and focus your attention on your breathing and keeping your mind blank.
4. Inhale deeply then hold your breath for a few seconds then exhale slowly keeping your breathing controlled.
5. Repeat this process 10 times, focusing on breathing in deeply and exhaling slowly. Do not hold your breath longer than required only for a few seconds.
6. Start off by meditating for 5 minutes then as time goes on increase your meditation time to 10, 15, and finally 20 minutes.
Meditation takes time to master as it requires the utmost concentration and mental focus and is a simple relaxation technique for sleep anxiety.
This relaxation technique for sleep anxiety involves the power of imagination and strong mental focus. Visualization exercises are good for calming the mind and relaxing the body.
How to do visualization exercises:
1. Clear all distractions from your room and lie down on your bed.
2. Close your eyes and actively involve all your senses in the image in your mind.
3. Imagine being in a tranquil place, such as a beach, focus your senses and convince yourself that you can feel the warmth of the sand beneath you, and hear the gentle splashing of the waves on the beach.
The more realistic your visualization is and the more senses you can involve in the exercise, the more effective the results will be.
Best Antidepressants to Aid Sleep
It is in your best interest to book an appointment with a doctor if your anxiety symptoms are severe as some symptoms could be related to an underlying medical or mental condition you may not be aware of. Do not take drugs without advice from a medical practitioner.
Without further ado, here are the 15 best antidepressants to aid sleep:
1. Trazodone (Desyrel).
2. Amitriptyline (Elavil).
3. Doxepin (Sinequan).
4. Citalopram (Celexa).
5. Fluoxetine (Prozac).
6. Sertraline (Zoloft).
7. Paroxetine (Paxil).
8. Mirtazapine (Remeron).
9. Zaleplon (Sonata).
10. Oxazepam (Serax).
11. Amitriptyline (Elavil).
12. Nortriptyline (Pamelor).
13. Venlafaxine (Effexor).
14. Duloxetine (Cymbalta).
15. Temazepam (Restoril).
How to Soothe Someone to Sleep
If your child or partner is finding it hard to get to sleep or keeps waking up in the middle of the night, try these 5 methods on how to soothe someone to sleep.
1. A warm bath: Taking a warm bath or shower before bed helps to induce sleep faster. As your body temperature changes from warm to cool, it signals the brain that it’s time to sleep.
2. Calming tea: Chamomile tea, Valerian tea, passion-flower, and lemon balm tea are known to have soothing, sedative effects on the body.
3. Play relaxing music: Slow soothing music helps in releasing tension from the body and calming the mind. A playlist of relaxing songs is a good way to soothe someone to sleep.
4. Read a book: Reading bedtime stories is an easy way to soothe a child back to sleep. For your partner, you can recommend a book you enjoyed reading or an audiobook for him or her to listen to.
5. Comfort is key: Sleeping on a comfortable mattress with fluffy pillows and a warm blanket is sure to get you in the mood to sleep.
The fabric you wear to bed should be soft and comfortable to sleep in while the room’s temperature should be pleasant enough for you to sleep peacefully.
Now you have the techniques and remedies on how to treat insomnia due to anxiety. Making these tips a part of your daily life will definitely improve your physical and mental well-being. Don’t forget to comment and share this article with others searching for answers to their sleepless nights.