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Anxiety And Sleep Problems

Victoria LeBlanc, MS, LCPC
Anxiety And Sleep Problems

When you sleep your mind and body relax, so the next day you're sharper and able to withstand some of life's daily stresses. For those with anxiety however, sleep is not always easy to come by.

Sleep problems are extremely common in those with persistent stress, and in many cases it can actually cause a cycle that makes it harder to overcome anxiety in the future.

Why Anxiety Causes Sleep Problems

Anxiety can affect sleep in a variety of ways. Nearly every symptom of anxiety has the potential to disrupt your ability to sleep since sleep is only possible when your body and mind are relaxed.

Sleep problems may be caused by any number of factors. These include:

Often those with severe anxiety also have negative thoughts which may make relaxation, a key part of falling asleep, difficult to attain. 

How to Sleep With Anxiety

Sleep problems are extremely common for those struggling with anxiety. Ideally, you'll need to focus on reducing your anxiety and stress in general so that you're less consumed by the negative thoughts and experiences, and can drift off to sleep more easily.

There are tips and strategies you can use to get more rest with anxiety. Consider the following:

Mental distractions can also be beneficial, especially for heavy sleepers. Some people find that turning on radios, podcasts, or television sets, and putting the volume as low as possible so that you can barely make out the words can be helpful. Your mind tries to listen to the distraction, causing it to stop focusing on the stressful thoughts, and ultimately you're able to fall asleep.

This solution does not work for everyone, however.

Another important thing that you can do is to create a bedtime routine. It can be difficult to go through your daily activities and then get into bed and just turn everything “off”. By giving yourself an hour before you want to fall asleep to go through the same motions every night you train your brain and your body to prepare for sleep. This in turn can make it easier to both fall, and stay asleep.

Unfortunately, these tips are likely not enough. You still need to stop experiencing anxiety so that sleep comes much more naturally.

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