Understanding the Link Between Anxiety and Insomnia

Understanding the Link Between Anxiety and Insomnia

If you have anxiety, you may already be familiar with the vicious cycle between your anxious feelings and your ability to get good sleep.

At Stat Care Pulmonary and Sleep in St. Petersburg, Florida, our sleep experts, Ashok Tyagi, DO, CPE, and Himanshu Chandarana, MD, specialize in services that promote relief of insomnia and other sleep issues.

We provide resources, including sleep apnea treatments and referrals for cognitive behavioral therapy, to help you enjoy better sleep. We can also help you understand the link between your anxiety issues and your inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.

The connection between anxiety and insomnia

Anxiety, one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States, causes persistent feelings of uneasiness, excessive worry, and intrusive thoughts. These symptoms can last for days or months and interfere with many aspects of your day-to-day life.

With anxiety, you may think about your anxious feelings or thoughts most often in bed at night. These thoughts can make falling or staying asleep nearly impossible. In times of stress, you may notice that your sleep quality is especially poor because your body can’t easily relax.

Consequently, a lack of sleep or sleep deprivation can worsen your anxiety symptoms. When you’re unable to sleep through the night, anxiety about your sleep problems can increase. This vicious cycle can negatively impact your physical, mental, and emotional health.

In addition to anxiety disorders, other mental health conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can interfere with sleep and increase your risk for insomnia and other sleep disorders.

How to manage anxiety and insomnia symptoms

Anxiety is a widespread mental health condition, but it’s also highly treatable. To restore your quality of sleep, our providers may recommend that you first address your anxiety issues. 

A highly effective treatment for both anxiety and insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of talk therapy (psychotherapy). CBT helps you recognize unhealthy thought patterns and gives you tools to redirect your thoughts to reduce anxious feelings that interfere with sleep.

Some people may also benefit from taking anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications in combination with CBT. These medications work on the chemicals in your brain to promote a better sense of well-being and calm.

Other tips for improving your sleep

Lifestyle changes can improve your sleep quality and reduce symptoms of anxiety.

We recommend that you stick to a regular sleep schedule — waking up and going to bed at the same time each night, even on weekends. You should also avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening and switch off your electronics at least an hour before bedtime.

Sleeping in a cool, dark room can also make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

If you snore loudly or wake up gasping for breath, our sleep specialists offer sleep testing and in-lab sleep studies to confirm or rule out sleep apnea

If you do have sleep apnea, we can customize a treatment plan to prevent sleep disruptions and more serious health complications the condition can cause.

Don’t go another night without good sleep. Call Stat Care Pulmonary and Sleep today to schedule an insomnia consultation.

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