Do you have trouble falling asleep or do you wake up in a panic at 3 a.m.? Whether you’re worried about work, health or finances, there are a number of things you can do to try and alleviate your anxiety and get the sleep you need.
Getting a peaceful night’s sleep
We all feel anxious at one time or another in our lives. Two thirds of Americans report having issues with anxiety and stress causing them to lose sleep. Anxiety disorders are associated with reduced sleep quality in a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario where each tends to make the other worse. Knowing how to stop the vicious cycle is important so you can get on with enjoying your life.
But what is anxiety? Essentially, it is the body’s natural response to stress. You may feel fearful or apprehensive about making a decision or about the curve balls life might throw your way. You may feel unable to cope and that anxiety has started to interfere with your daily routine or affect your relationships with friends and family. If you are finding yourself agreeing to a lot of these, then speak with your doctor about your concerns.
Anxiety manifests itself differently for each person, but common symptoms include an increased heart rate and trouble sleeping. Having a dry mouth is also a physical symptom of anxiety and can further disrupt your sleep.
Treatment for anxiety at night
Getting good quality sleep is so important for a healthy and happy life – it impacts on everything from your physical and mental health to your career and relationships. Creating positive sleep habits can begin with discovering relaxation techniques like breathing exercises. These are even available to download as an app on your phone, so you can learn the principles of meditation from the comfort of your own home.
Wind down by taking a warm bath before bed and ensure that your bedroom is a haven of calm. We are all addicted to our phones these days. Implement a no-electronics rule in the evening and make a conscious effort to use the time to re-charge yourself and not just your phone.
You can also invest in some blackout blinds or curtains for your bedroom to keep it dark. Your body interprets light as a signal to wake up, so blocking out any street lights or early morning sunshine may help you stay asleep longer.
Make sure you exercise regularly, because exercise will help in two ways. First, it helps combat anxiety by boosting your mood and reducing stress. Second, being physically tired will help you sleep better and make you less likely to suffer from disturbances like restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea.
Seeing a doctor for help with anxiety
The good news about anxiety is that it’s treatable. Realizing you suffer from it and reaching out are the first steps. Your primary care doctor should be your first port of call – they will be able to help guide you towards a path out of anxiety and back towards a good night’s sleep.