Have you been stressed by having an exam the following day to the point that you can’t sleep? Or were you too anxious about going home for the first time from a boarding school that you could not sleep? Or worse still have you had a doctor’s test where results were to be given the following day? Even as I was writing this article it is because the article was giving me anxiety induced insomnia. In those situations most of us can’t get sleep. This is the definition of anxiety insomnia. Anxiety insomnia is the lack of sleep during sleeping time that is caused by anxiety over a number of causes. It should be noted that insomnia can cause anxiety and anxiety can cause insomnia.
What is insomnia? Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder accounting for the sleeping disorders affecting over 30 percent of Americans on occasional basis. This is referred as acute insomnia. Chronic insomnia affects at least 10 percent of the populace. Chronic insomnia is very debilitating and can be the cause of many other body problems. Insomnia can also kill.
Quick facts on insomnia
- Insomnia is caused by many causes including psychological, medications and hormonal disorders.
- Chronic and acute insomnia affects about one third of the population
- Insomnia in many instances is secondary to another lifestyle or medical disorder.
- Medical and behavior changes can help to cure insomnia
- Insomnia is where one can’t get to sleep fast enough or can’t stay asleep at night even if you want to sleep
- Lack of sleep kills an individual. In rats sleep deprivation kills within 32 days.
- Lack of sleep also kills sex drive
Anxiety insomnia causes
Anxiety is one of the main causes of insomnia. Anxiety can be caused by one of the following causes:
These are the mental problems that affect our quality of life. They affect sleeping by making our brains to experience distress and thus affecting our sleep. They include dementia, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, attention-deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.
Diseases/ physiological causes
Diseases that cause chronic pain and other major risks including death are another major source of anxiety sleeplessness. Such diseases include diabetes, thyroid disorders, heart disease, respiratory diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, drugs and alcohol abuse or withdrawal, irritable bowel syndrome and tumors can be the reason why you can’t get sleep at night.
Past and future occurrences
Thinking about the past or the future is a major cause of anxiety insomnia. Fear of insomnia if you have got it in the past is a major cause of insomnia. This causes the anxiety-insomnia cycle where insomnia causes anxiety and anxiety causes insomnia. Thinking so much about the future can also cause insomnia. Thoughts about success, family, children old age and others can cause insomnia.
Being burdened by duties
Being overburdened by duties is another cause of anxiety insomnia. Having a long and disorganized to do list is tantamount to anxiety. Duties at work, school, home and other areas should therefore be prioritized according to the most important and urgent and others. Not prioritizing makes you to do the less valued duties leaving out the high value duties which cause sleeplessness.
Sleeping next to a snoring partner or even an uncomfortable bed among other factors can cause insomnia. These extrinsic factors affect the environment you sleep in thus causing sleeplessness. Some people dread going to sleep in the same bed as a snoring partner or sleeping in their uncomfortable bed.
Being too jovial or happy
Sometime being overexcited by events or happenings can be the cause of anxiety induced insomnia. Over excitement causes the stimulation of the nervous system in a caffeine like effect. This causes the brain not to calm down and thus the cause of insomnia.
Anxiety insomnia symptoms
There is no difference between insomnia symptoms and anxiety insomnia symptoms. The symptoms are as follows:
- Finding it hard to sleep when you go to bed.
- Not staying asleep for the whole night.
- Waking up earlier than anticipated. Not getting the 8 hours of sleep as recommended.
- Not feeling refreshed or rested after waking up.
- Feeling fatigued or sleepy during the day often.
- Being irritable, depressed or anxious often.
- Having difficulty in remaining attentive and remembering things.
- Being accident and error prone
Anxiety insomnia Medication
The best way to manage anxiety insomnia is a combination of medication to treat anxiety if it is chronic and insomnia treatment. Management of anxiety is categorized according to the cause of anxiety where drugs like benzodiazepines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Buspirone and beta blockers. These medications should only be used after consultation with your doctor. In the consultation you should discuss with the doctor about the advantages and disadvantages of using the medication. However as stated anxiety insomnia can also be treated by managing the cause of the anxiety by the following methods:
- Regular exercise.
- Making and prioritizing a to do list
- Meditation, yoga and tai chi
- Worry stopping strategies
How to get sleep with anxiety insomnia/ Coping with anxiety insomnia
Anxiety insomnia can be managed by the methods below:
Regular exercise. Regular exercise gives you something else to think about and also makes sure your body is tired and ready to sleep. During exercise the body releases endorphins, the brain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals), whose function is to transmit messages within the nervous system. These chemicals help relieve pain and also offer the comforting feeling in the body. This ensures quality sleep and prevents most of the common sleeping disorders.
Listening to Insomnia music. Insomnia music gives the user stress relief and deep sleep. Often the music is soothing and relaxing and is mostly accompanied by nature videos. The nature videos also add to the relaxation.
Hypnosis. Hypnosis works in most cases in the treatment of anxiety. It makes a person to forget all the stressing issues and enables the person to relax. This way one can easily cope with anxiety induced insomnia.
Making a to do list and prioritizing the important tasks. Most of the time anxiety insomnia occurs due to having a long list of deliverables which are due in no time. The tasks vary in importance and urgency. Having a to do list makes one able to plan the tasks according to the importance and urgency. This thus makes one able to prioritize the most necessary task and relax once they are done.
Chronic insomnia is one of the main risk factors for an individual to develop depression and other psychiatric disorders. It is one of the early symptoms (prodrome) of depression attacks and is also caused by depression in the long term. Chronic insomnia is also a result or complication of depression and its treatment.
A shortened REM sleep latency is always seen in most clients who have depression and also in periods before clinical episodes of depression.
In most cases, after successful treatment, most people succeed in getting rid of insomnia. However, in some cases insomnia may persist in people likely to get a relapse.
Anxiety in some cases cause depression if it is not resolved fast enough. Resolving anxiety therefore prevents the development of depression and also anxiety insomnia.