It is important for a person’s
mental health to get enough sleep and make sure that the conditions
surrounding their sleep, as well as their sleeping habits, are well
adjusted. Sleep anxiety can occur in the form of worries, self blame or
just unexplained uneasiness
that starts to mount up before bed. This is
a vicious circle that can create fear of sleep itself.
Patients suffering from general anxiety very often cannot sleep. They
often describe being so tired that they can hardly keep their eyes
open, but as soon as they walk into the bedroom or get into bed, it's
like turning on a switch, and they are wide awake.
to the repeated
instances of lying awake in bed night after night, these problems can
start to easily become a subconscious
reaction, which is activated by
the bed or bedroom itself. Sometimes even the thought of sleep can
eventually cause a person to feel fully awake.
these cases, the bed
actually activates the
brain to wakefulness and works against the
desire to sleep, and it can be very hard to get out of this reaction
pattern. It can only be broken by the experience of falling asleep as
soon as the person goes to bed.
There are two opposing forces in play:
the effect that the bed can have on the brain and thus the body,
convincing you that you are no longer tired; and the effect that the
need for sleep has on the mind and body, which basically forces it to
eventually shut down. In order for a person with sleep anxiety to fall
asleep, the latter influence must "win".
Anxiety, Insomnia, and the Causes
Sleep anxiety and insomnia
go hand in hand with one another. When a
person suffers from insomnia, they constantly worry about the amount of
sleep that they are getting every night. This then leads to them lying
awake at night thinking about how little sleep they got the previous
night, when causes them to not be able to fall asleep.
will then cause the person to focus on the fact that they cannot fall
asleep and how much stuff they have to do the next day, which will
cycle and cause them to stay awake for even
the next day they will constantly think about how tired they
are and how little sleep they have been getting, which will again make
them worry whether or not they will be able to fall asleep that night.
This is all a vicious cycle indeed.
While it may not seem so right now, there is hope for you if you're
suffering from anxious
sleep problems. The most important thing for a
person suffering from these problems to understand is that while
insomnia may be caused by many different factors, anxious sleep itself
is purely a mental problem involving thinking too much about how little
sleep you get. Luckily this mental, thinking problem can be cured.
Sleep anxiety is a simple habit that people with anxiety can fall into
easily. Still, getting rid of this habit is not nearly as easy.
There are many remedies available that can help remove anxiety
connected with sleep. Cognitive
therapy, as well as methods for
relaxation, can be very useful, and are often recommended above
medication. If you experience a feeling of anxiety constantly
in your everyday life, it is extremely crucial to battle the condition
in the waking hours in order to be able to sleep better and more
soundly through the night.
behavioral therapy is the most useful method for curing both
insomnia and any anxiousness that comes with it. One of the first steps
of any cognitive behavioral therapy program is to understand what you
are thinking when trying to fall asleep, because it is most often these
thoughts that are causing you to stay awake.
order to change your
thinking patterns, it is often useful to keep a sleep diary of the
patterns that you have when trying to sleep, because it is necessary to
understand these thoughts to change them.
the thoughts that keep a person awake at night are actually quite
irrational and not true, and when a person sees them written down and
reviews them, they may start to realize just how irrational these
thoughts are. The next step is then to write down more rational, calm,
and pleasing thoughts, and repeat these to yourself as you are trying
to fall asleep. It may take some time, but these thoughts will
eventually start to replace the negative thoughts that keep you
awake. Look at your notes right
before switching off your night light, and look at them
again right after you
wake up the next morning.
one important thing to understand about any bad habit is that it is
based in the brain, and a person cannot get rid of one habit without
replacing it with another. This is the same reason why many people find
it difficult to quit smoking without some sort of aid.
will end up replacing their smoking habit with chewing gum or some
other habit because the brain needs a replacement for the habit since
it has gotten so used to it. By
repeating the good thoughts to yourself
every night, you can eventually replace the bad anxious sleep habits
with the good, pleasing, positive thoughts.
cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common and most
successful method used to treat anxious sleep issues, meditation also
works for many people.
meditation works in the same way as
CBT, by forcing a person to clear their mind from all of the negative
thoughts that flood their brain when they try to sleep.
trance like state, the indiviudal is able to focus only on
their breathing and will usually come out feeling much more relaxed and
without the negative thoughts. Of course there is always the chance
that the negative, irrational thoughts will creep back into the
person’s head after the meditation. This is why CBT is normally
considered a more successful and, most importantly, a long lasting treatment.
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