If you’re battling feelings of anxiety, chances are it’s taking a toll on your sleep routine. Don’t worry — you’re not alone. Anxiety affects 18.1% of the U.S. population every year, and more than 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders.
Without the influence of an anxiety or sleep disorder, your natural circadian rhythm, also referred to as the internal body clock, signals when it’s time to go to bed. In the evening, your brain releases melatonin that increases the urge to sleep. Then in the morning, it produces cortisol that prepares your body to start a new day. When the circadian rhythm is disrupted, it can throw off your body’s balance, leading to restless nights and fatigue.
However, the effects of sleep deficiency can go well beyond feeling drowsy at school or work — they can sometimes trigger more serious psychiatric disorders. In fact, according to the Sleep Foundation, sleep disorders and anxiety disorders go hand in hand. Research suggests that anxiety can affect your sleep patterns, and that lack of sleep may cause further anxiety.
Anxiety can mentally and physically manifest in a few ways. It may develop from a complex series of factors such as genetics, brain chemistry, personality and life events. If you’re experiencing distractedness, confusion, a sense of anticipated rejection or intense panic, headaches, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing or trembling muscles, the disorder might be affecting you.
Adjusting elements like light exposure, nighttime routines and day-to-day stress can contribute to treating both your anxiety and sleep issues. Implementing positive habits before bed can ultimately ease your body and mind to prepare you for a more restful night.
If anxiety continues to disrupt your sleep, we recommend that you seek psychotherapy for help in delving deeper into the sources. It is often best to combine personal strategies, such as the ones mentioned above, with emotional exploration and healing that many people find through work with a caring and experienced therapist.
Take a look at our accompanying infographic for more information about how to alleviate anxiety-induced sleep deprivation.
Guide provided by Depth Counseling