Sleep and anxiety
Anxious feelings and Anxiety Disorder usually come hand in hand with problems sleeping. Research has shown that anxiety can cause sleeplessness, or trouble falling asleep, and trouble falling asleep can cause anxiety, so you can see how an unpleasant pattern starts to form. Because of this, it is likely that sufferers of one will also experience the other. So, which do you treat first? The answer is – both! If you are experiencing both anxiety and sleep problems, be sure to tell your doctor about symptoms of both. In the meantime, we have some tips that you may find useful.
1. Get moving
Exercise has been shown to improve symptoms of anxiety, and also improve sleep. There are various reasons why this might be so, and one of them is that the more you move, the more energy you burn, and the more tired you will be come bedtime!
2. Wind Down
Spend time winding down at the end of the day. Limit your exposure to blue light (your phone and laptop), as this can disrupt your sleep hormone, melatonin, levels and make it difficult for you to fall asleep once you’re under the covers.
3. Fix your environment
Sometimes your environment will be impacting negatively on your sleep. When you go to bed tonight, take stock of what you can see, feel, and hear. Would white noise help you block out the sound of traffic? Is your room too hot or too cold? Would you find black out blinds helpful? Tailor your bedroom to fit your needs as best you can.
4. Cut the Caffeine
If you are someone who has trouble sleeping, you probably feel tired during the day. Do you often reach for a coffee, energy drink, or soft drink to get you through the day? Try limiting your caffeine, and cut it out completely after 3pm. Some studies show that caffeine can heighten anxiety, so you may feel worlds better without it!
If you haven’t been able to get on top of your anxiety, sleep problems, or both, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about other options.