Sleep Problems with Occasional Anxiety and Stress

Sleep Problems

One common issue that people with occasional anxiety face is difficulty sleeping. People with intermittent stress are generally more likely to have problems falling and staying asleep, especially since nightmares and trouble sleeping are two symptoms of day-to-day anxiety. These issues with getting enough sleep can cause other symptoms of stress to worsen.

Why Do People With Everyday Stress Have Sleep Problems?

There are many different reasons why someone with occasional stress might develop sleep problems.

  • One common symptom of periodic anxiousness is hyper-vigilance. People constantly worried about danger and trouble may have issues with relaxing enough to get to sleep.
  • Worrying is another thing that keeps people awake. That includes worrying about getting enough sleep.
  • Intrusive thoughts about the safety of loved ones can also be a problem that keeps people up at night.
  • Those with periodic anxiousness may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Both can interfere with healthy sleep patterns.
  • A stressful day can cause nightmares. Anyone who experiences a nightmare usually has trouble going back to sleep. For some people, the fear of nightmares is enough to keep them up at night.
  • Sometimes, people have physical health issues that can make sleep difficult.

What Can You Do if You Have Sleep Problems?

Some things can be done to address sleep problems. Having a consistent bedtime routine is one way that people can improve their chances of a good night's sleep. Often, relatively minor changes can result in improvement in the amount and quality of sleep. However, it's important to give these changes enough time to help. Try most changes for at least a week.

Change Your Sleeping Area

Often, the bedroom environment isn't set up to be conducive to getting a good night's sleep. For example, bedrooms should be dark, quiet, and calm. Blackout curtains can help make sure that no street lights or early morning sunlight will interfere with getting enough sleep. Most people like to sleep in very cool rooms. Don't allow screens in the bedroom. And consider getting a white noise machine, which can also help people sleep better.

Keep a Bedtime Routine and Sleep Schedule

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is one way to solve a lot of sleep problems. Over time, your body starts to get used to the schedule and sleep becomes easier. A calming bedtime routine also helps. A shower, comfortable sleeping clothes, and a warm, non-caffeinated drink can all help you relax before bed. Stop looking at screens at least an hour before bedtime. All stressful activities should also be avoided before bedtime. And people bothered by sound or light should wear earplugs or a mask (or both) to bed.

Try to Relax if You Can't Sleep

When sleep doesn't want to come, the worse thing to do is to try to force it. Instead, focus on relaxing activities. Try reading a book or listening to a meditation app. Anything calming will help you relax. Often, lying in bed imagining a calm setting will help someone relax enough to go to sleep.

Watch Your Activities During the Day

Some activities participated in during the day can affect how you sleep.

  • Exercise is important for many reasons, including that it can help induce physical tiredness. However, it's important not to exercise starting two hours before bedtime.
  • Spending time in the sun every day helps the body naturally regulate its sleep cycle.
  • Avoid or limit caffeine intake.
  • Cut out all alcohol and tobacco, both of which can cause sleep issues.
  • Don't nap, especially in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Cut back on water intake after dinner to avoid having to get up to go to the bathroom after going to bed.

Talk to Your Doctor

When sleep issues continue and at-home remedies don't help, it's time to reach out to health professionals. Doctors can assess what's causing the sleep issues, decide if it's part of a larger diagnosis, and adjust any medications that might be worsening the problem. Doctors can also suggest methods for achieving better sleep and prescribe medication if necessary.

Additional Reading on Sleep Problems