Anxiety and Sleep: How to Calm Anxiety And Sleep Better?

We hope you love the products we recommend. Our research is supported by you, our readers. When you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission (at no additional cost to you). Learn more

✅ This article has been medically reviewed by: Dr. Amita Fotedar, Ph.D., Dr. Kate Sołdaj, M.D. and Dr. Bartłomiej Orybkiewicz, M.D.

Are you suffering from anxiety? Is it keeping you from sleeping better at night? You have come to the right place. In this article, we are going to discuss what causes severe anxiety and how you can calm yourself to sleep better at night.

You might be too tired, but as soon as the light goes off, your brain will start shifting gears immediately. So, you start thinking about what happened in the day, and your mind goes down the road of intrusive thoughts. Anxiety can take away your sleep, and it causes you to think about how to sleep with anxiety? Well, not to worry, we have come up with solutions.

You need to understand the link between anxiety and trouble falling asleep is important to understand. So, let’s find out how to calm anxiety and sleep better.

Overview: anxiety and sleep

Often, anxiety is associated with sleeping problems. Excessive fear and worry might make it difficult for people to fall asleep. If you don’t get enough sleep at night, it can worsen anxiety. This leads to a negative cycle of insomnia and anxiety issues.

  • You start to worry about things that you should not worry about in the first place. You will start to replay events in your events your head and keep asking yourself ‘what if’ over and over again.
  • This is relentless and just exhausting. It is not fun and certainly not healthy. Well, you will be relieved to know that you are not alone.
  • As per studies, more than 40 million adults in the USA have anxiety disorders. In fact, it is one of the most common illnesses in the country.

Sure, everyone gets anxious from time to time, but it turns into a disorder when excessive worry and fear go beyond a stressful event. This will start to come up every day and interfere with your daily activities like relationships, works, and sleep.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is the feeling of unease or worry. You can experience this occasionally, and that’s a normal response to a stressful or fearful situation.

However, if it turns into a disorder, the distress can become excessive. Fear isn’t proportional to the situation, and being worried all the time can interfere with your daily life. This feeling is persistent. Most of the time than not, it occurs for six months or more.

What Causes Anxiety?

Anxiety can be caused by a physical condition, mental condition, the effect of drugs, or a combination of all these. So, if you reach out to an expert, their first job will be to learn if the anxiety is a symptom of some medical condition.

Let’s take a look at some of the common causes of anxiety.

  • Panic Disorder: Apart from anxiety, common symptoms of having a panic disorder are dizziness, palpitations, and shortness of breath. However, you can also experience these symptoms if you have coffee, an overactive thyroid, amphetamines, abnormal heart rhythms, etc.
  • Phobic disorder
  • Stress disorder

Some external factors can also be the reason behind your anxiety disorder, such as

  • Stress from school
  • Stress at work
  • Financial stress
  • Stress in a personal relationship like marriage
  • Stress from uncertain or unpredictable world event such as a pandemic
  • Stress from political issues and global occurrences
  • Stress from serious medical issues
  • The side effect of a medication or an illicit drug like cocaine

What actually causes anxiety is not yet clear, but it has been seen that life experiences like traumatic events can trigger anxiety issues in people who are prone to anxiety. So, there is no way to predict what will cause a person to develop an anxiety disorder, but you can take certain steps to reduce the impact of feeling anxious.

What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?

how to sleep with anxiety

Anxiety disorders tend to be debilitating, but you can manage it if you get proper medical help. Your first step is to recognize the symptoms. Here are a few symptoms that you might experience when you have an anxiety disorder.

  • Worrying Excessively

Worrying too much is one of the common symptoms that you will experiences when you have an anxiety disorder. The worrying which is related to anxiety disorder is disproportionate to an event triggering it. This usually occurs in response to everyday situations.

In order to be taken as a generalized anxiety disorder, the worrying has to occur for most of the day for a period of 6 months. When it is a disorder, it will be difficult to control.

Also, it has to be intrusive and severe. Thus, it becomes difficult to concentrate and complete your daily tasks.

  • Restlessness

Another type of common anxiety problem is restlessness, particularly in teens and children. If someone is feeling restless, they will usually describe it as feeling an ‘unknown urge to move’ or ‘on edge’.

All people who feel anxious tend to be restless. In fact, it is one of the flags doctors use every now and then for making a diagnosis. In case you are experiencing restlessness most of the time for a period of 6 months, it can be a sign of anxiety disorder.

  • Feeling Agitated

If you are feeling anxious, a part of your sympathetic nervous system will go into overdrive. It will kick off a series of effects in the body like sweaty palms, racing pulse, dry mouth, and shaky hands. All these symptoms make the brain believe that you have sensed some kind of danger. Thus, it prepares the body to react to the threat.

Your body will keep away blood from the digestive system and direct it towards the muscles in case you have to fight or run. When you feel agitates, your heart rate increases, and you will experience heightened senses.

Sure, these effects prove to be useful in case of a real threat, but it might be debilitating if the fear is just in your head. 

Studies have shown that people suffering from anxiety disorder can’t reduce their arousal as quickly as the people who do not have anxiety disorders. So, they are going to feel the anxiousness for a longer time.

  • Trouble Falling or Staying Asleep

Are you unable to sleep at night? Or do you have trouble staying asleep? You might be having anxiety issues.

Many people wake up in the middle of the night, feeling all sweaty. This is also associated with an anxiety problem.

Some research has shown that if you had insomnia in your childhood, you might develop anxiety later in life. Even though insomnia and anxiety are linked strongly, it is not yet clear as to whether insomnia serves as a contributing factor when it comes to anxiety or if anxiety leads to insomnia.

So, you have figure out how to get rid of anxiety if you want to sleep better.

  • Difficulty Concentrating

Many people suffering from anxiety tend to experience difficulty with concentration. Studies have shown that anxiety can also hinder work memory. It can cause you to forget things short-term.

Nevertheless, difficulty in concentrating can be a symptom of some other symptom, too, like depression or attention deficit disorder. Hence, it isn’t enough evidence for diagnosing anxiety.

Now, we are going to tell you how to get rid of anxiety.

How to Relieve Anxiety to Sleep Better?

Anxiety at night can lead to sleep disorders like insomnia. In fact, sleeping issues are often a common symptom of anxiety disorder. 

The impact of anxiousness can be significant but is a treatable mental disorder. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean reducing anxiety is simple. You will find treatments that will help.

  • One of the common treatments of anxiety disorder is cognitive-behavioural therapy. It is a kind of talk therapy that will help in eliminating your negative thinking. This, in turn, helps in decreasing anxiety. 
  • If you address anxiety issues, you will be able to sleep better. However, if it is a severe case of insomnia, then it might persist even after the treatment.
  • There are different kinds of medication that can lead to anxiety disorders which include beta-blockers, anxiety-drugs, and anti-depressants. 
  • These medications can help in getting rid of the symptoms instead of curing the underlying anxiety problem.
  • Due to the multifaceted relationship between anxiety and sleep, getting rest helps in fighting the feelings of anxiety. 
  • Developing a healthy sleeping habit makes going to bed a pleasant and routine experience. This, in turn, will enhance sleep.
  • Your environment and your sleep habit are a part of your sleep hygiene. 
  • The steps that you need to take to improve your sleep hygiene is making the bed more comfortable, avoiding caffeine, and eliminating sources that can lead to sleep disruption.

Final Words

You can also try out some relaxing techniques and identify ways that will help in getting rid of anxiety. When you feel relaxed, you tend to fall asleep much easier. You can practice some relaxation exercises for breaking the cycle of worry.

Anxiety should be taken seriously because it is more than just worry and stress. If neglected, it can also turn into depression which is more difficult to treat with the passage of time.

More To Explore