Anxiety and disturbed sleep patterns are closely linked. People with insomnia, for instance, are at a much higher risk of becoming anxious than those who get a good night’s sleep.
Likewise, with people who experience chronic anxiety, poor sleep over a continuous period can mess with a person’s mind space, and emotions. Anxiety itself is associated with sleep disturbances such as reducing the quantity of restorative slow-wave sleep the individual gets each night.
Sadly, this lethal combination is more common than you think it is.
43% of Americans say anxiety and stress have radically altered their relationship with sleep. As a result, they say they lie awake at night at least once a month. One of the most common problems with falling asleep is that people just can’t switch off their minds (1).
So, despite being tired and sluggish all day, your mind goes on a rant and doesn’t stop the moment you lay in bed and hope to sleep. Suddenly, the overactive mind starts pulling up memories from the past, your pain triggers are pressed, and the next thing you know, your tank of angst is full to the brim.
If you’re experiencing anxiety in any form, depression, financial worries, panic attacks, trauma, phobia, emotional and/or physical turmoil, there’s a good chance you might be experiencing disturbed sleep patterns.
Here are some warning signs that can tell you if your anxiety is interfering with your nighttime sleep patterns:
- You have trouble falling or staying asleep
- You feel tired during the day
- Have physical discomfort such as muscle and joint pain, breathing difficulties, restlessness, sweaty palms, tightened chest, and/or numbness while trying to sleep
- Have difficulty paying attention, feel sleepy, but can’t sleep, and are easily irritable
If these situations sound familiar to you, then you’ll be happy to know that there are ways to soothe your mind and fall asleep.
Create a nighttime routine that encourages positive distractions.
Focusing all your attention on how you can’t get to sleep will only make the problem look and feel bigger. Instead, create a nighttime imagery routine that engages and distracts your senses.
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For instance, close your eyes and picture a nice warm day at the age. Think about water. See them. Touch them. Can you taste the salt from it?
These kinds of imagery can help transfer your mind into a place of calm. When the mind becomes calm, it becomes happy and will gradually reduce its rant and let you sleep in peace.
Practice Nighttime Mindfulness
Anxiety is the mind’s defense mechanism for a short-term emergency crisis. Insomnia and poor sleep come with the territory. The stress you feel might stem from insecurities of being judged, ridiculed, or isolated even more (2).
As negative as these feelings might be, your mind is more than capable of handling the situation when you train it to be mindful of its thoughts. Now, we understand that this might not be easy for many of us. However, in time and with practice, you can train your mind to do as you wish. Practicing meditation can help you achieve exactly that.
Focus on Your Breath
You define your life by the choices you make, every single hour of your life. If you can slow the flow of your thoughts and utilize the time in between to rationalize your choices, you’ll realize that nothing in life is worth stressing about.
The key is to shift your mind towards a state of “mindfulness” so that you bring it back to the present every time it slips away. Staying mindful of your breathing patterns will help you find a way to settle your thoughts and overcome all that might be stressing you out presently.
As a result, you’ll be able to zone out of situations that breed negativity and distress. And consequently, you’ll also be able to get plenty of good sleep.
Now that you’ve gained insight into ways anxiety might be slowly eating away your life, we urge you to make the efforts to incorporate the changes. The choices you embrace can help you achieve a greater sense of self and calm. Simply put, they can help you be a better version of yourself.
Remember that there’s always a way out of any anxiety-driven thought and feeling that you might be experiencing. Most importantly, remember that you are not alone. The whole world is waiting to discover and befriend you. All you need to do is meet them half-way.