Sleep and Anxiety Disorders Explained
Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time; however, if these feelings become consistent and persistent, it could indicate an anxiety disorder. If left untreated, anxiety symptoms could lead to sleep issues as well as further anxiety issues.
There are effective treatments available, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or exposure therapy.
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Lack of sleep can affect both your daytime mood and functioning negatively, as well as lead to depression and anxiety disorders. Furthermore, insufficient rest leads to reduced energy levels that result in subpar work performance or even health concerns such as high blood pressure or heart disease.
Your doctor should be able to detect insomnia by talking with you and reviewing your sleep habits. They'll inquire as to the frequency and nature of any difficulties with sleeping; what time you go to bed and wake up; as well as any symptoms related to insomnia which might indicate its existence. They may refer you to a sleep specialist for further tests and treatment solutions.
Medical professionals can assist you in creating healthy sleeping habits, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time each day and creating an atmosphere in your bedroom that is both peaceful and free from distractions. They may also suggest non-prescription or prescription sedatives/hypnotics to help facilitate falling and staying asleep.
Meskill has observed that those suffering from chronic insomnia often engage in behaviors or beliefs which prevent them from sleeping well, such as anxiety over sleeping well and fear that not getting enough restful rest will impede daily routines or have far reaching repercussions. These may include fear, worries about not getting enough restful restful restful restful restful restful rest and concerns over how sleeping less will impede daily lives or how it may have adverse affects on daily activities or consequences of not sleeping enough.
Nightmares are terrifying dreams that can cause considerable fear and distress, often recalling past trauma, worsening anxiety and depression symptoms, or disrupting sleep. Nightmares are most frequently found among those diagnosed with mental health disorders like PTSD or schizophrenia but can occur at times of intense stress in people suffering chronic illness as well as taking certain medications that alter norepinephrine, serotonin, acetylcholine or GABA signaling pathways.
Contrary to other sleep-related phenomena, nightmares are usually remembered upon awakening and have an identifiable theme which may or may not correspond with real experiences that one is dreaming about. Frequent nightmares reliving traumatic events may indicate posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Treatments for nightmare disorder typically consist of both talk therapy and medications, including behavioral recommendations such as improving sleeping environment and hygiene and developing healthy bedtime routines. Anti-anxiety drugs like Prazosin may help increase REM sleep (dreaming) by blocking adrenergic receptors.
Treatment for nightmare disorders typically entails treating any underlying psychiatric conditions that contribute to them, typically including psychotropic medication that reduces arousal levels (PTSD medication for example) as well as psychotropic drugs that provide some comforting relief from nocturnal panic attacks or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder, both of which can be effectively addressed using medications that target these specific disorders.
3. Panic attacks
Fear and anxiety may interfere with your sleep if you're living with a panic disorder, activating your body's "fight-or-flight" response during panic attacks - with blood rushing to muscles to prepare them for physical combat or running away from danger. While normal anxiety typically has its source in real or perceived threats, panic attacks happen without clear reason and even while sleeping!
An attack is when your heart rate and breathing increase significantly, along with chest pain, numbness or tingling in your hands or feet and an overwhelming sense of fear. These feelings typically peak within 10 minutes but tend to dissipate shortly thereafter; symptoms may occur anywhere - from being in a busy mall, walking down a busy street or driving your car safely home, all the way to sitting home watching television at home - making you feel powerless over life itself and like it might end any moment.
An unexpected panic attack can have devastating repercussions in your life, so seeking treatment should not be put off. Your doctor may suggest cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps recognize and change unhelpful thinking patterns that lead to anxiety and panic. Exposure therapy also may help; gradually and repeatedly exposing yourself to whatever triggers your fears enables you to learn that they may not materialize - this helps show that fears may not come true and they don't pose real threats - for instance having a heart attack or driving off-ramp are unlikely.
PTSD may develop after experiencing a frightening, frightening or dangerous event that causes fear. Though the initial reactions tend to resolve themselves naturally without treatment from health practitioners, persistent symptoms may require diagnosis from one.
Uncomfortable symptoms often make sleeping difficult for those living with anxiety, which in turn makes them anxious about sleeping through the night and affects mood during the daytime. Anxiety-inducing insomnia only adds insult to injury as it further escalates anxiety levels further and creates even more distressing effects than anticipated. Insomnia also makes life more stressful overall.
Contrary to insomnia, getting sufficient restful slumber can actually reduce stress the next day. Your body uses Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep cycles to calm itself down and restore deep restfulness - dreams occur during this phase where hormones help promote relaxation and restful slumber.
Sleep issues, particularly insomnia, are an all-too-common complaint among people living with anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sleep disturbances like nightmares are very frequent for PTSD patients; their combined effects can be particularly disruptive to their lives. Yet polysomnographic studies have documented only limited changes to sleep initiation and maintenance patterns among specific anxiety disorders; this might be related to illness severity, diagnostic comorbidity or duration.
Call The Sleep Loft at (646) 400-5758