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Anxiety & Sleep: The Complicated Relationship

by Keshila Jones 04 Feb 2023

Sleep and anxiety have a complicated relationship. On the one hand, when you are anxious you may find it difficult to get a good night's sleep, while on the other hand lack of sleep can make you more anxious. This can quickly spiral into a vicious cycle of insomnia and anxiety that can drastically impair your quality of life. That said, there are some tips and strategies you can use in order to get a better night's rest and reduce your anxiety levels.

First, it is important to create an environment conducive to sleeping well. This means avoiding things like heavy meals or caffeine before bedtime, as well as engaging in calming activities such as yoga or reading in order to relax your mind and body prior to going to bed. Additionally, it is important to stick to a consistent sleep schedule – going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning – so that your body has an easier time adjusting.

Next, if worrying thoughts keep creeping up in your mind before bedtime, it may help to write them down on paper so that they don't linger in your head as you drift off into sleep. This way, if something does come up after laying down for the night, you will be able to refer back to the list instead of ruminating over each thought one by one. Similarly, consider setting aside a certain amount of time during the day for worrying or problem-solving so that those thoughts do not carry over into bedtime hours.

Finally, if anxiety is impairing your ability to get restful sleep despite following all of these tips, then it may be beneficial for you consult with a mental health professional who can help uncover any underlying issues relating specifically to anxiety or insomnia that are contributing towards sleeplessness. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found effective in treating both insomnia and anxiety related issues simultaneously through techniques such as relaxation training or stimulus control therapy which helps re-frame negative associations with the bedroom environment. In addition, medications such as benzodiazepines may be prescribed if necessary depending on individual needs and preferences.

In conclusion, improving sleep quality can go a long way towards decreasing overall levels of anxiety and vice versa; however this requires taking proactive steps such as creating an inviting sleeping environment or seeking professional help when needed instead of letting anxiety rule our lives without intervention.

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