A good night’s sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. Whether it’s chronic anxiety or acute anxiety, the effects of anxiety on our sleep can be profound. In fact, anxiety is one of the most common reasons why people have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
There are a number of ways in which anxiety can impact our sleep. For one, anxiety can lead to racing thoughts and an inability to quiet our minds at night. This can make it very difficult to fall asleep. Additionally, anxiety can cause us to wake up frequently during the night or to have difficulty staying asleep.
Not getting enough quality sleep can have a major impact on our overall health and well-being. When we don’t get enough sleep, we’re more likely to suffer from physical health problems, mental health problems, and impaired cognitive function. Additionally, lack of sleep can affect our mood, energy levels, and ability to concentrate.
How much sleep do people actually need?
This is a question that has been debated for centuries. Some people believe that we need eight hours of sleep a day, while others believe that we only need six. There are a variety of factors that can influence how much sleep a person needs, including age, health, and lifestyle.
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The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. However, some people may need more or less than that. For example, if you are a shift worker or have jet lag, you may need more sleep.
There are also a few factors that can affect how much sleep you need. These include:
• Age: infants and young children need more sleep than adults, while older adults tend to need less sleep.
• Gender: cis women tend to need more sleep than cis men.
• Pregnancy: those who are pregnant need more sleep than non-pregnant
• Sleep disorders: people with sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea often need more sleep.
How can sleep deprivation impact your health
Sleep deprivation is a growing epidemic in our society. According to the National Sleep Foundation, one in three adults report they usually get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. The impact of sleep loss can create negative consequences on both our physical and mental health.
Physical consequences of sleep deprivation can include:
- Weakened immune system
- Increased risk of obesity
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Unbalanced hormone levels
- Increased risk of accidents
Mentally, sleep deprivation can lead to:
- Increased risk of anxiety
- Increased risk of depression
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Nocturnal panic attacks
- Memory problems
How can anxiety impact our sleep
It’s no secret that anxiety and sleep are often intertwined. For many people, anxiety can cause difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Conversely, a lack of sleep can intensify anxiety. It can be a vicious cycle.
Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It’s a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something that’s going to happen. Anxiety takes different shapes, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. While each type of anxiety has its own specific symptoms, most people with anxiety disorders struggle with sleep issues at some point in their lives.
Anxiety and sleep are both regulated by the nervous system. When we’re anxious, we struggle with negative thinking and overwhelming worries, and our bodies are in a state of “fight or flight.” This means that our bodies are preparing to either fight or run away from whatever is causing the anxiety. This increased state of arousal can make it difficult to fall asleep. Once you’re asleep, anxiety can cause you to wake up frequently during the night or early in the morning. This can lead to a feeling of being unrested and can make it difficult to function during the day.
Anxiety symptoms can take a toll on our body, leading to a racing heart, sweating, tense muscles, and difficulty breathing. All of these physical symptoms can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. And even if we do manage to fall asleep, we may not get the restful sleep we need. This is because anxiety at night can cause us to wake up frequently.
Anxiety can have a profound effect on our sleep patterns. It can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. It can also lead to early morning waking and difficulty returning to sleep. Anxiety can cause insomnia, which is defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or non-restorative sleep, which is when you wake up feeling tired and unrefreshed.
The importance of a bedtime routine
One of the best ways to reduce anxiety and improve sleep health is to have a set bedtime routine. A bedtime routine allows for healthy sleep habits to become part of our life and reduces our stress levels. That’s because when you have a routine, your body knows what to expect. And when your body knows what to expect, it’s easier to relax.
The best way to establish a bedtime routine is to start small. Begin by picking a bedtime that you can stick to consistently. Once you have a bedtime, start to add in other activities that will help you wind down before sleep. This might include reading, taking a bath, or writing in a journal.
Don’t try to do too much at first. If you’re finding it difficult to stick to a routine, try removing some of the activities or cut back on the amount of time you spend on each activity. The important thing is to find a routine that works for you and that you can stick to.
You should make sure you’re winding down for at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. This means no more working, no more staring at screens, and no more stressful activities. Instead, try to do something calming, like reading or listening to relaxing music. You might also want to try some gentle stretching or yoga. The goal is to get your body and mind ready for sleep.
Once you’re ready to actually go to bed, make sure that your bedroom is dark and quiet. This will help your body relax and prepare for sleep. Next, take some deep breaths and focus on your breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose and then out slowly through your mouth. Repeat this for a few minutes.
Finally, once you’re in bed, try to focus on something positive. This could be a happy memory, a goal you’re working towards, or something else that makes you feel good. Focusing on something positive will help your mind relax and will eventually lead to falling asleep.
Tips for better sleep
If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, you’re not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 50 to 70 million adults in the United States have a sleep disorder. Lack of sleep can lead to various health problems.
There are several factors that can contribute to poor sleep, including stress, anxiety, caffeine, electronic screens, and uncomfortable bedding. But there are also a number of simple changes you can make to help improve the quality of your sleep. Here are a few tips to help you practice good sleep hygiene:
Create a soothing bedtime routine: As we’ve mentioned before, a bedtime routine can do wonders for your sleep and help limit the effects of sleep deprivation. Try taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or stretching for a few minutes before you turn in.
Establish a regular sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and avoid sleepless nights. Yes, you should stick to the schedule even on weekends. This will help your body get into a rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Create a comfortable sleep environment: Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Consider investing in a comfortable mattress and pillows. Create an environment that is conducive to sleep. Use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out light and earplugs or a white noise machine to block out sound. Keep the temperature in your bedroom cool, around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Limit screen time before bed: The blue light emitted by electronic screens can interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and increase your anxiety levels. Try to avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before you go to bed.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed: Avoid caffeine (including coffee, tea, and soda) and alcohol in the evening. Caffeine can stay in your system for six hours, so it’s best to avoid it after lunch. Alcohol may make you feel sleepy at first, but it can cause sleep disturbance later in the night.
Get up and move during the day: Exercise during the day can help yousleep better at night. Just be sure to avoid working out too close to bedtime, as it can make it harder to fall asleep.
Limit naps: Naps can be helpful if you’re feeling tired during the day. But if you have trouble sleeping at night, it’s best to limit naps to 30 minutes or less.
Talk to a therapist to uncover the root cause of your sleep problems
These are just a few of the many things you can do to help improve your sleep. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, you should consider discussing treatment options with a therapist.
One of the most effective forms of therapy for people struggling with anxiety and disturbed sleep is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps people to change the way they think about and react to situations that trigger their anxiety. This type of psychotherapy can be used to help people with all types of anxiety disorders and sleep problems.
There are a number of potential underlying factors that can cause sleep loss and insomnia, and many of them are related to stressful events, anxiety, trauma, and other potential mental health issues. As always, when it comes to mental health conditions, it’s best to get to the root of the problem with the help of a licensed healthcare provider.