Anxiety and insomnia are a bad combination … here’s how to beat both

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as many as 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorder. People who have this condition experience abnormal sleep patterns that often interfere with physical, mental, and emotional health. Stress and anxiety have been known to cause and worsen sleep disorders. Luckily, anxiety-induced sleeplessness or “anxsomnia” is manageable. If you often find yourself having trouble sleeping at night because of anxiety, there are certain simple steps that you can take to sleep better.

Ways to manage “anxsomnia”

Managing sleeplessness caused by anxiety is easier than it sounds. Anxiety can be disruptive, but there are ways to work around, if not totally eliminate it. (: Sleeplessness can make you angrier, more frustrated, new study shows.)

Practice mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness can allow you to deal with anxiety. Mindfulness means achieving a mental state where you accept your anxieties and then let them pass. Through this method, you will be able to prevent anxiety from keeping you up at night. The anxiety will not necessarily go away, but mindfulness will help you sleep better in spite of it.

Use herbal medicines

There are certain herbs that are known to improve sleep quality. For instance, valerian root contains compounds that reduce anxiety and promote sleep. Unlike other medicines known to induce sleep, valerian root will not leave you feeling groggy when you wake up the next day.

Get Enough Sleep. The importance of getting enough quality sleep can not be overstated. It may be just as important as diet and exercise, if not more. Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, throw your appetite hormones out of whack and reduce your physical and mental performance. What's more, it is one of the strongest individual risk factors for future weight gain and obesity. One study showed that short sleep was linked to 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults.

Emulate the military

The U.S. military knows all about the need to reduce anxiety, given that soldiers often have to operate in highly stressful situations. Some simple ways that soldiers are known to use to manage stress include relaxing your face muscles, releasing all tension from your shoulders, and telling yourself “don’t think, don’t think” over and over for about 10 seconds in order to clear your mind.

Take deep breaths

When anxiety hits, it’s important to breathe deeper and slower. Breathe deeply through the diaphragm so that your belly rises when you inhale and falls when you exhale. If it’s your chest that rises and falls, do your best to draw air into your abdomen when you breathe. Deep breathing relieves anxiety by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system which counteracts the anxiety response that leads to anxious feelings.

Get off social media more often

A 2017 U.S. study found a linear association between anxiety and the number of social media platforms. This finding makes a strong case for the reduction of social media usage having a positive effect on combating anxiety. At the very least, you could try to turn off communicating devices during meal times and stay off work e-mails past a certain time of the day. The constant alerts and notifications can be anxiety-inducing and therefore should be avoided whenever possible.

Don't Smoke or do Drugs, and Only Drink in Moderation. If you're a tobacco smoker, or abuse drugs, then diet and exercise are the least of your worries. Tackle those problems first. If you choose to include alcohol in your life, then do so in moderation only, and consider avoiding it completely if you have alcoholic tendencies.

While these suggestions aim to minimize the effects of anxiety on your well-being, there are also ways to directly improve sleep.

Keep magnesium and 5-HTP levels high

Magnesium deficiency has been linked to sleep interruptions. There is also a study indicating that 500 mg of magnesium every day helped older people with insomnia fall asleep quicker and longer. Magnesium offers a lot of promise when it comes to improving sleep.

Meanwhile, the amino acid 5-HTP is shown to have similar effects. When consumed, 5-HTP is converted into serotonin and melatonin, which are hormones that regulate mood and promote restful sleep.

Calm down with CBD oil

Cannabidiol (CBD oil) is becoming increasingly more popular for its calming and anxiety-relieving effects. It may be worth giving CBD oil a try; while there isn’t a definitive study pegging CBD oil as a treatment for anxiety, there is evidence to suggest that CBD oil promotes relaxation, and therefore improves sleep.

For more news and stories on managing anxiety and sleeplessness, visit MindBodyScience.news.

Sources include:

DailyMail.co.uk

ADAA.org