How to Get Rid of Insomnia and Sleep Anxiety

“Will I ever fall asleep?” some people wonder as they lie awake at nite. We tend to worry about our sleep schedules and put pressure on ourselves to get enough sleep, regardless of how difficult or easy it is to do so. When we try to obtain our nightly Z’s, this may cause sleep anxiety.

Sleep anxiety and sleeplessness are mutually reinforcing, with one strengthening the other. Sleep is essential for our health, but we don’t always respect it or understand how to obtain it.

It can even be transient at times. Tossing and turning for a few hours is enough to wake you up far before your alarm clock goes off. It appears to be a never-ending struggle.

Then there’s sleep apprehension. You can’t sleep because you’re worried about not getting enough sleep! When you’re trying to sleep, it’s possible that you’re pondering, planning, or reflecting when you should be clearing your mind.

What Causes Sleep Anxiety and Insomnia?

Thoughts can start to stream in when there is silence. Suddenly, your thoughts spiral or snowball, and you experience anxiety, leading to more insomnia. All of this can have an influence on your physical and emotional health, making it difficult to function or focus in general.

Anxiety can manifest itself in a variety of mental health conditions, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. Insomnia can be self-contained or exacerbated by a mental health condition.

Everyone experiences some sleep discomfort or worry, but when it begins to take over your life, you know you have a problem.

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The inability to sleep for long periods of time is known as insomnia. It might appear in a variety of ways for various people. It could be a problem getting asleep, staying asleep, or a combination of the two.

It is primarily due to a lack of sleep. Sleeplessness can take numerous forms, from severely distressed to acute or persistent insomnia.

Anxiety and sleeplessness may have a bidirectional relationship, with one influencing the other and causing more of the other. It can be tough to tell which comes first. This leads to further anxiety and insomnia, making it seem like a never-ending cycle.

More than 40 million people in the United States suffer from anxiety and depression, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

A total of 20 million people in the United States suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, while another 20 million have periodic sleep problems. [1]

In addition, insomnia has been shown to exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety disorders or impede recovery. Anxiety and sleep disruptions are two mental health issues that overlap and exacerbate one another.

Long durations without sleep have also been linked to cognitive impairments, as well as psychiatric symptoms ranging from mood swings to psychotic experiences like hallucinations, according to researchers.[3] As a result, getting a good night’s sleep can often help with mental health issues.

Facts About Anxiety and Insomnia

Experiencing occasional bouts of anxiety can be fairly common for most people, as anxiety is just an echo of our past survival mechanism of “fight, flight, or freeze” when faced with danger.

Although the dangers have changed from animal predators to a fear of being late for meetings, the physiological components of our brains haven’t changed much: our brains still see the cause of our anxiety as a “danger” and thus kicks into action trying to find a possible solution or escape route.

Occasional anxiety is not a cause for concern, but many Americans experience a much more acute, recurring, and overpowering sense of anxiety, which can be the development of an anxiety disorder. Overall, about 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, and it is the most common mental illness in the U.S.

Anxiety disorders can be caused by very specific triggers (known as “phobias”) or can simply be excessive anxiety for extended periods of time that get in the way of everyday life, regardless of a specific trigger or actually being in danger.

How to Get Rid of Sleep Anxiety and Insomnia

Sleep anxiety can strike anyone at any time, and it should not be dismissed. You can do something about it once you rent it. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to these problems, but there are some activities that may be taken on to help.

1. Log It

One simple thing you may do is keep a notebook and pen next to your bed to jot down late-night thoughts as they arise. [4] If you’re having trouble sleeping, keep a journal of your thoughts before going to bed and while you’re having trouble sleeping so they don’t obsess and overtake you. The next day, you can easily go through them again.

Begin researching and practicing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy using your thought log. This will help to calm your agitated mind by refocusing your thoughts on more pleasant notions. Change a negative thought into something more sensible and less life-threatening.

Challenging your thoughts might help you relax and reduce anxiety, which can start to arise when you’re faking it.

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You can figure out what thoughts are bothering you and begin to address them.

The sleep diary is also beneficial. How frequently do you suffer from sleep apnea? Calculate the severity and keep track of the time.

If you’re having difficulties sleeping, keep track of how often you can’t sleep, how many hours per night you can sleep, and the quality of your sleep, such as whether you’re waking up frequently or just can’t fall asleep.

You could also wish to contact a licensed therapist or medical expert and tell them about your results. When they have a record of how serious the situation is, they may have more ideas of what you can do.

2. Be Present

Another method to create peace with yourself is to practice mindfulness, which requires you to be completely present and pay attention to what you think and feel in a new way.

Feelings are acknowledged but not judged in mindfulness. With mindfulness, you might feel more confident and learn to be kinder to yourself.

Mindfulness can be practiced while completing ordinary work or while meditating. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It’s fine if your mind is occupied! The goal is to concentrate on a meditation object (breath, sound, bodily sensations, etc.) for as long as possible and then return to it when the mind wanders. There isn’t much more to it than that. [5]

Grounding is a technique for being present and dealing with bad emotions and events. To do this, bring your attention to your five senses.

Take careful note of everything you hear, see, smell, touch, and taste. You can get to a position where your brain is functioning well and can effectively process what is coming at it if you bring yourself to your senses.

That means you can focus on what you can handle and process without feeling overwhelmed. You’ve returned to the present. You’ve reconnected with yourself. You’ve returned to your bed.

A Sleep Meditation

To help you relax before bed, you can attempt a special mindfulness meditation. Consider a safe space: it might exist anywhere, at any moment, and with anyone (or alone, which I recommend).

In that safe space, you are standing or lying down. Consider a beach at night with a bonfire burning. The fire keeps you warm while you listen to the waves.

You’re listening to the waves crashing on the shore. You can even give it a name. Give your location a name and as many details as you can.

You can do this whenever you like, but it’s best to do it before going to bed to rest your thoughts. You can alternate between changing the picture and expanding on the details each time.

This can help you sleep by bringing you into a place where you feel safe and free of challenging thoughts and emotions. You can remove yourself from bad emotions and release the need to engage with them in that relaxed condition.

This will aid in the reduction of anxiety and the likelihood of falling asleep at night.

3. Create a Consistent Sleep Routine

Put yourself to bed at a reasonable hour and try to get up at the same time every day. This will assist you in establishing a regimen that your body can adapt to. If you stay up all night because you’re anxious about sleep and can’t sleep, you’ll get into an unhealthy cycle that will only make things worse.

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Turn off technology long before bedtime so your brain isn’t overstimulated. This will help you start to feel fatigued if that is a problem for you. If you find yourself staring at a clock on a regular basis.

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If you engage with technology and keep yourself occupied thru screens, you risk destroying your sleep structure and losing your capacity to function or fall asleep effectively.

If you are continually checking your phone, computer, or watching TV, your sleep anxiety will grow because this naturally stimulates thinking.

Make sure you’re eating well, avoiding caffeine before bedtime, and exercising during the day to aid with any restlessness that may last into the night.

4. Manage Your Environment

Your sleeping habits are also influenced by your comfort. Keep the room dark and choose between quiet and sleep-inducing sounds (such as natural sounds). Figure out what works best for you.

Make sure you can retreat to your bed as a respite from the day, that your mattress is comfy, that you have adequate pillows, and that your room is kept cool. When you feel like you’re in a safe, comfortable setting, these items will help you sleep better.

You will fall asleep considerably faster if you maintain a sleep-friendly environment and ensure that you are comfortable. When your surroundings naturally relax you, it will help you recover from any anxiety disorder or insomnia.

5. Talk to a Professional

You may not want to admit it to yourself, but if you have a sleep or mental health condition, you may want assistance. A professional may or may not diagnose you, but in either case, you will most likely be given some options.

The key is to recognize that you’re not alone and that you don’t have to suffer in silence when it comes to sleep anxiety. It doesn’t imply that you’re a weakling or that you’re doing something wrong. It could be a disorder, and that is not something to be ashamed of.

Sleeplessness and sleep anxiety affects millions of people. An expert can help you narrow down the causes of your distress and identify more solutions to your problems than you could on your own.

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to let sleep issues define you. The first step is to recognize that it isn’t your fault, but that there are things you can do about it.

Allow yourself to find self-soothing techniques, such as those given in the article, and tell your mental health expert or medical professional what you’re going thru so they can offer advice and support.

Facing sleep is a combination of relaxation and a reduction in the rumination that we all experience in our heads. It’s possible that just trying to sleep won’t be enough for you. You may need to take extra steps to obtain the assistance you require.

More importantly, don’t put undue pressure on yourself to fall asleep when you don’t want to, as this might exacerbate sleep anxiety. Be gentle with yourself, take as many steps toward a healthy sleep routine as you can, and watch the advantages accrue over time.


[1] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Sleep Disorders

[2] ^ Harvard Health Publishing: Sleep and mental health

[3] ^ Front Psychiatry: Severe Sleep Deprivation Causes Hallucinations and a Gradual Progression Toward Psychosis With Increasing Time Awake

[4] ^ Greatist: If Your Insomnia Makes You Feel Panicky, You’re Not Alone

[5] Mindful: Getting Started with Mindfulness

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