Anxiety is constant. It is that itch that will just not go away. Because the itch is right in the back of your mind, you really cannot get to it.
What anxiety really feels like? Imagine this- your brain is incessantly reminding you of things that may or may not happen, or, is simply exaggerating and taking things out of context.
But, you can’t help but have a sense of fear, agitation and concern about it, even though it might be a small and unnecessary aspect. Now, think of having anxiety and anxiousness will trying to fall asleep. This is called Sleep Anxiety.
Your brain is persistently playing tricks on you, and telling you something bad will happen to you or to your friends and family, and it never really stops. Hence, this results in stress and anxiousness.
Just like a bully, it makes you feel insane, timid, paranoid, and in fear, you can’t help it because it is always in your mind, no matter what.
Your mind is stuck in things that are so unnecessary. You wish you can slow things down because you can’t find comfort in that panic.
What is Sleep Anxiety?
Sleep anxiety refers to disorders or disruptions in an individual’s sleeping patterns, due to anxiety. We all know how detrimental anxiety’s effects are. But, what many don’t know is that it can also deteriorate your sleep. Anxiety hampers your ability to sleep.
The question, however, is what is actually making us anxious about sleeping? Is there something else that is bothering us? Some individuals are just anxious about sleeping in the first place. They have an irrational fear of not waking up. But, others have dreams that reoccur constantly that they find disturbing and agitating, hence they would rather not sleep just to simply avoid them.
However, sleep anxiety doesn’t necessarily mean you have a troublesome time falling asleep. You can also sleep perfectly on time, but sometimes wake up in the middle of the night because or recurring anxiety, and as a result, find it hard to go back to sleep again.
How Does Anxiety Affect Sleep?
It’s frustrating your mind starts racing at high speeds as soon as you hit the bed.
When your mind keeps reminding you about unnecessary thoughts, these thoughts become apparent and disturbs the sleep pattern. Anxiety keeps your mind racing- hence, you can’t sleep. You can say that anxiety has an inverse relationship with sleep- more the anxiety, lesser will the sleep.
Sleeping disorders caused by anxiety can either be due to deficiency of sleep or even excess of sleep, as some wake up hours too early, while others sleep far too much than they actually should. They either have trouble falling asleep easily or falling asleep but waking up early then they actually should. Hence, they are then unable to fall back to sleep.
Many people with anxiety disorders have a hard time managing their pessimistic thoughts and worries. They are too accustomed to the uncomfortable feeling of frequent worrying- perhaps about events that have passed, current situations, or anxiousness about what the future might bring.
Sleep Anxiety Symptoms
There are numerous symptoms of anxiety. Every individual experience sleep anxiety differently.
- Feelings of Restlessness, Nervousness, or Worry
Your mind is pacing as high speeds as ever, and you can’t seem to stop worrying about the doubts and thoughts that are being built up in your mind. Hence, you end up feeling restive and fidgety- and end up disrupting your sleep.
Sleep anxiety does not necessarily mean you have a hard time falling asleep. At times, you are woken up by a nocturnal panic attack which is the same thing as panic attacks, however, occurring when you’re asleep. Thus, after being woken up, you find it almost impossible and daunting to fall back to sleep again.
- Gastrointestinal Problems
When you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep and anxiety takes over, it can sometimes make you feel sick to the stomach. This is because anxiety also affects a person’s digestive system. The feeling of anxiety and elations can, thus, trigger symptoms in the gut.
- A Sense of Impending Doom
This is when you persistently have a feeling that something life-threatening or tragic is about to occur. Hence, this constant fear doesn’t really help you sleep at night.
- Increased Heart Rate and Chest Pains
Due to the constant tension and stress, your heart starts racing abnormally, and can also result in chest pains and heart palpitations. Heart palpitations result in fluttering and pounding of your chest. It may also feel as though your heart is skipping a beat.
- Shortness of Breath and Throat Tightness
Sleep anxiety makes you feel like you can’t catch your breath. You feel tightness in your chest, or like you’re suffocating or hungry for air.
- Sweating, Chills, and Hot Flashes
It doesn’t really matter what the temperature is, but because your heart is pacing at abnormal rates, you tend to have sweating, sweaty palms, or even hot flashes. You might feel numbness or tingling sensations.
- Dizziness or Lightheadedness
Feeling dizzy is probably one of the most disruptive symptoms of sleep anxiety. The lightheadedness and dizziness that accompanies anxiety, is often described as a sense of wooziness.
- Feeling Detached, or Like Nothing is Real
You feel disconnected and detached from yourself. You will feel as though you are an outside observer of your own thoughts or body, and hence, often feeling a loss of control over your own thoughts. In some cases, you may be unable to accept as the reflection of your own self and result in pondering. You start seeing the world as surreal and foggy. You start questioning your existence, your purpose in life, Not only is this symptom disruptive to our mental health, it often results in harming ourselves, and having suicidal and self-harming thoughts.
How to Fall Asleep In 5 Mins?
If anxiety or disrupted sleep crops up, there are numerous strategies that may help us to relax our body and mind, to get the sleep that one needs
Turns out, there are some unconventional tactics that will help us get that perfect sleep, and will help us sleep like a baby, in no time.
1- Do The Breathing Exercise
This breathing exercise is also called the ‘478 methods’, and is one of the most effective techniques as it helps regulate our nervous system.
- Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- Breathe out through your mouth slowly for 8 seconds.
- Repeat this process until you fall asleep.
2- Roll Your Eyes Backward
You can simulate the eye movement you experience in sleep by rolling your eyes upwards and back. If you do this continuously three times, you will automatically feel yourself going into deeper relaxation, and hence, fall asleep in under 5 minutes in no time.
Use the power of your mind to focus on images that will help calm you. Imagine things that bring you peace and content. Think of an environment that brings you solace, and imagine you are in that environment. Try using all three of your senses. For example, imagine you are standing alone in front of the sea. Imagine the cool breeze across your face. Feel the cold water running against your feet. Listen to the calm and relaxing sounds of the water coming to the shore.
4- Pretend You are Lethargic, Totally Drained of Energy and Tired
Try to remember the things that actually drain out your energy, and make you feel tired. Now, try mimicking these. The next thing you know, you’ll find yourself waking up the next day.
5- Hypnotize Yourself
Hypnosis can also mean watching a hypnotizing video. This improves your quality of sleep. If watching a video isn’t suitable, try creating a hypnotizing picture in your mind. For example, a moving pendulum.
6- Hum to Yourself
Vibrations of humming can be alleviating. It can also act as a distraction from anything negative or unwanted that pops into your mind.
7- Sleep in the Most Comfortable Environment
Having suffered from stress and anxiety, making a calm and restful environment when we sleep, is imperative and will help us fall asleep faster in no time. Using wedged pillows will also alleviate our quality of sleep. This pillow is inclined in such a way as it supports our neck and shoulders, bringing us more comfort.
8- Think About Any Positive Incident That Might Have Happened
Positive thoughts soothe our minds. Recalling cheerful moments makes us happy, moreover, slowly results in drowsiness when we ponder about these moments while sleeping. In a few minutes, you will be in deep sleep.
9- Sleep In a Dark Room
Make sure the room you are sleeping in is dark enough or has dim lighting. Bright lights will make it daunting and difficult to fall asleep.
When you get into bed, reading is a good option if you want to fall asleep within 5 minutes. Reading is relaxing and will put our mind and body in an appropriate mood before falling asleep.
In conclusion, it is imperative to get hold of our anxiety, before it gets a hold of us. Because of the adverse effects let alone anxiety has, we should start taking it solemnly. Start being kinder to yourself, and looking out for yourself.
Try eradicating anxiety once and for all. This eradication will go a long way, but a little positivity can make our minds a little perspicuous, and hence, help us battle our anxiety and stress.