For many, symptoms of anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep or get a full night of restful sleep. And this can be one of the trickiest things to manage.
When anxiety interferes with sleep, it can elicit a domino effect – impacting mood, productivity and your overall health. Overcoming symptoms of anxiety at night is a continual process, but there are effective ways you can learn to help manage anxiety, improve your sleep pattern and overall health.
What is sleep anxiety?
Sleep anxiety is fear or worry about going to sleep. You may be apprehensive about not falling asleep or not being able to stay fully asleep. You may also have anxiety about the ripple effects of lack of sleep, whether its fatigue, productivity, mood or the ability to be fully present in your day – especially when important commitments are at play.
Sleep and psychological disorders, like anxiety, can often go hand in hand. If you struggle with an anxiety disorder, you may find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. In tandem, if you have a sleep disorder, you may feel anxious before bed – worrying that you won’t get the rest you need. The bidirectional relationship means that anxiety and sleep deprivation can be self-reinforcing – feeling like a constant cycle – though it doesn’t mean nights of proper, peaceful sleep aren’t in the cards for you.
What are the symptoms of sleep anxiety?
Symptoms of sleep anxiety can vary from person to person, but some common signs include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking up frequently during the night
- Trouble staying asleep
- Feeling tired or unrefreshed upon waking
- Worrying about sleep
- Feeling irritable or anxious during the day
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Decreased motivation or energy
How to overcome sleep anxiety for a better sleep
We know of the impacts of sleep anxiety on your health and its connection to your central nervous system, immune system and even digestive system. When it comes to your health concerns, your first call should always be your medical practitioner who will be able to advise on a treatment plan that works for your needs. However, if you’re searching for how to get good sleep, there are some easy things you can do in the meantime that can help you have a better sleep.
Improve your sleep hygiene
Establishing a consistent sleep routine can help signal your body that it is time to sleep. This might include going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, avoiding naps, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
Try to exercise or move your body daily
Exercise can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. However, it is best to avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as it can stimulate the body and make it harder to fall asleep.
Regular activity increases the length of time that you spend in the restorative stages of sleep. If you work out regularly and you still can’t sleep, try exercising earlier in the day and as far away from going to sleep as possible, and before you commit to something extreme, a low intensity walk or yoga class is a good a place to start as any.
Avoid screens before bed
The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with the body's natural sleep cycle. Try to avoid using screens for at least an hour before bedtime or consider using a blue light filter or app to reduce the impact.
Dedicate time to unwind
Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or yoga, can help calm the mind and reduce anxiety. Engaging in calming activities, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath, can also help prepare the body for sleep.
Dedicate your bed to sleeping
Try to reserve your bed for sleeping only, and avoid using it for other activities, such as watching TV or working. This can help reinforce the association between your bed and sleep.
Meditation is a powerful tool for reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation. Consider incorporating a mindfulness or meditation practice into your daily routine to help manage sleep anxiety.
Taking vitamins to help with anxiety
Certain vitamins and supplements, such as magnesium, melatonin, and valerian root, may help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. However, it is essential to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplements or medications.
Look for stress-supportive supplementation
Certain supplements and vitamins to help with anxiety can in fact make a difference. Magnesium, melatonin, and valerian root are said to help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Additionally, there are supplements formulated specifically address stress and anxiety concerns. Vida Glow’s De-Stress is a bursting liquid-filled capsule that address symptoms of stress and mild anxiety. Scientifically formulated with a clinically studied botanical extract and key mood stabilising active ingredients – including vitamin C and vitamin B5 – De-Stress targets immediate feelings of stress while working to promote healthy emotional balance and improve general wellbeing.
As always, it’s to essential speak with your healthcare practitioner before starting any new supplements or medications to ensure they’re right for you and your health needs.