According to recent statistics, around 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, making it one of the most prevalent mental illnesses in the United States. If you struggle with anxiety, then you’re probably all too familiar with its most common symptoms.
These include rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, GI distress, exhaustion, and even tense muscles. It’s no wonder that sleep anxiety makes it near impossible to get a good night’s sleep. When dealing with a sleep disorder such as sleep anxiety, taking a holistic approach to healing can often be more effective than trying to resort immediately to medications, which can wear off in efficacy over time.
From weighted blankets and cozy mattresses to herbal teas that have been proven effective against anxiety, here’s everything you need to know about how you can start sleeping better again.
How To Differentiate Between General Anxiety & A Sleep Disorder
Anxiety and trouble sleeping have what’s known as a ‘bidirectional’ relationship, which means that it’s hard to pin down what comes first.
It’s also why it’s highly recommended to work both on minimizing the symptoms of your anxiety, as well as ensuring you’re getting eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, to ensure you’re staying healthy.
Certain studies go so far as to show that people with chronic insomnia are at a heightened risk of developing serious anxiety disorders.
The Types Of Anxiety That Might Disrupt Your Sleep
If you’re trying to narrow down the type of anxiety you might be experiencing, remember it’s always good to consult a professional to help you with this. There are various kinds of anxiety, and you can experience them at different severities as well, so identifying the symptoms that are applicable to you and working through how you might be able to resolve them is important.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is one of the broadest forms of the disorder, and can be identified if you have large or looming worries about your sleep. Panic Disorder, on the other hand, includes intense episodes of extreme fear, also known as panic attacks. If you have panic disorder, you might be more likely to develop some kind of phobia of sleeping at night. Social Anxiety Disorder is marked by a fear of social settings and public embarrassment.
We’ve all stayed up at night thinking about something we shouldn’t have said or done at night, but social anxiety disorder can present as an extreme version of this, especially if it’s disrupting your sleep cycle consistently.
Tools To Help With A Calm Night’s Sleep
Weighted blankets have become an increasingly popular way to combat sleep anxiety in the recent past. Weighted blankets are a type of blanket that is engineered to distribute an even amount of pressure, or weight, across the body while you’re sleeping.
When you’re using a weighted blanket, you’re experiencing something called deep pressure stimulation, which mimics the feeling of being swaddled or embraced and encourages calm feelings through the night.
One of the key ways to pick out a weighted blanket that works for you is by choosing something that lands about 10-12% of your body weight. Mattresses are also equally important when you’re optimizing your sleep and trying to minimize the amount of time you spend tossing and turning in bed.
When going through different mattress reviews, you’ll want to look for something that’s cozy enough for you to feel comfortable in, but supportive enough to bring some relief to the pressure points in your body. Memory foam mattresses have become increasingly popular in the recent past for just this reason.
If you’re convinced you already have the best mattress for your sleep, a weighted blanket might just be worth a try.
Natural Remedies To Combat Sleep Anxiety
If you have your sleep set up all decked out with the best mattress and foam mattress topper for your rest already, then it’s time to think about other habits that can positively contribute to a calm night’s sleep for you. Here are some reliable ways to improve your sleep anxiety:
- Watch what you eat before bedtime. Certain foods can disrupt your sleep cycle and make it much harder for you to get a good night’s sleep, and in some cases, such as with alcohol and caffeine, can actually exacerbate symptoms of anxiety.
- Use essential oils to promote a calm night’s sleep. Essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood can all contribute positively to a good night’s sleep. Integrate them into your routine by adding a few drops into a spray bottle with water and lightly spritzing your weighted blanket or bed before going to bed. Scented candles also work well.
- Make sure to get up and go to sleep at the same time each night. Keeping your sleep cycle consistent is not only beneficial for your sleep cycle, it also trains your body to stay asleep through the night, which can be particularly difficult to accomplish if you have sleep anxiety.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Not only does active exercise help with keeping you healthy and fit through the night, but it also helps boost serotonin levels in the brain, which can really help with a good night’s sleep.
- Play calming sleep sounds as you go to bed. If you’re still tossing and turning beneath that weighted blanket, then trying out some ambient soundscapes can really help improve the quality of your rest.
Whether you’re thinking of investing in a weighted blanket to try and alleviate the symptoms, or you’re going to begin a meditation practice, understanding that sleep anxiety is something you can manage and control effectively is important in moving through it.
With the right tools for the job and a strong support system, you can expect your sleep anxiety to soon become a thing of the past. Figuring out the source of your trouble sleeping can honestly help you take preventative measures in the future, and ensures you’re going to be resting well for a long time to come.