How Anxiety Affects Sleep Quality
Anxiety and stress is our response to triggers in our daily lives. It affects us emotionally, physically and behaviorally. The right amount of stress can be a positive force that helps us perform at our best and stay alert. Too much stress, however, can make us tense and anxious, and can cause sleep quality problems and deprivation.
Identify if anxiety is the cause of your sleep disorder, and understand how it affects sleep quality by reading on.
5 Ways Anxiety Affects Sleep Quality
Anxiety can affect sleep in a host of different ways. It can disrupt your ability to sleep, and wreck havoc on your normal sleep routine. Here are five ways anxiety affects sleep quality:
- Racing thoughts are a common cause of sleep deprivation and disorders in those with anxiety. Thoughts often race because of stress, but the thoughts themselves may or may not be stress-related. Those suffering from anxiety may find it difficult to focus on thoughts, no matter what they are.
- Physical anxiety can cause increased heart rates and body anxiety, resulting in excess energy spread through the body as it prepares for the sufferer’s fight or flight mode. In this state of mind, it is very difficult to reach the level of relaxation required for a good night’s rest.
- Muscle tension results in response to anxiety. It also causes tremendous physical tension in your muscles, which can be problematic. It is very difficult to relax and sleep when the body is tense and fatigued.
- A subconscious need can keep you up at all hours as you feel like you have worries or tasks to complete before you can rest. Anxiety may cause you to feel the need to stay up more and, if you’re not careful, can lead to sleepless nights.
- Physical side effects can result in rapid heartbeat, fatigue and restlessness; all of which can affect your ability to sleep, and become a source for health concerns.
How to Sleep with Anxiety
Anxiety can result in sleep deprivation and affect sleep quality. To treat this, you’ll need to focus on reducing your anxiety and stress in general. Tips and strategies can be used to get more rest with anxiety. Consider the following:
Meditate. Meditation brings the mind and body into balance. Focus on your breath – breathe in and out slowly and deeply – and clear your mind. Set aside 10 – 20 minutes before bed to just focus on your breathing.
Exercise daily. Exercise is good for your physical and mental health. It provides an outlet for excess energy and releases mood-enhancing endorphins. Yoga, particularly, is effective at reducing anxiety and stress.
Prioritize your to-do list. Break up large projects into smaller, more easily managed tasks. Delegate where you can, and spend your time and energy on the tasks that are important and time sensitive. Plan ahead and set your mind at ease for the night.
Eliminate napping. If you must take a nap, try to keep it to 30 minutes and take your nap in the early afternoon. Avoid late naps as it may interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night.
Power down your electronics. Cut off electronic devices at least one hours before your bedtime. The lights from an electronic device can keep your mind stimulated and can cause your body-clock to function as though it’s still day-time.
Dim the lights. Several hours before bedtime, dim the lights around the house. The lower light level will signal your body to produce melatonin and get ready to go to sleep.
Stay away from alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. While an alcoholic drink at night may help you fall asleep at first, it has to potential to affect the overall quality of sleep. Any beverage (or food, for that matter) that contains caffeine can affect your ability to initially fall asleep. Depending on the amount of caffeine, you could be kept awake for hours and struggle with disruptions to your sleep quality throughout the night.
Schedule a Consultation
You need to sleep as much as you need to breathe and eat. Without sufficient and quality sleep, your brain can’t function properly, affecting your cognitive abilities and emotional state. It can lower your body’s immune system, putting you at risk of developing chronic illnesses.
If you’re sleep deprived or fatigued, and experiencing anxiety and stress, consult your doctor to discuss treatment options. There are plenty of options you can choose from, and this can be overwhelming. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Shukla, and we will discuss and review your concerns and treatment options.