Why anxiety may be keeping you up at night

Anxiety disorders can be most disturbing at night when you try to go to sleep, because anxiety is closely related to insomnia. If you toss and turn at night due to stress and anxiety, you may be suffering from one of many common disorders such as general anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorders.

How are anxiety and sleep related?

Anxiety disorders often cause sleep, but problems sleeping may lead to anxiety disorders as well. While little is understood about what exactly happens to the brain during sleep, a good night’s sleep is necessary for sound mental health. Nearly all behavioral disorders are associated with poor sleep, as the relationship has two-way causation.

Which sleep patterns indicate anxiety?

Being unable to fall asleep or stay asleep is the most common effect of anxiety, but there may be more serious sleep problems that occur as well. Sleep walking, for example, can be an indicator of anxiety disorders. If you have any sleep disturbances and experience regular anxiety, it is best to consult a doctor to explore the specific causes of your restlessness.

What can you do to improve sleep?

Aside from seeing a physician to diagnose anxiety disorder and prescribe treatment, you might use more holistic techniques to get better sleep. Meditation and regular exercise can help you get relaxed in the evening and fall asleep easier. You should create a peaceful space for your sleep so that you do not have light or sounds distracting you as you try to get to sleep.

For anxiety treatment, start with Linden Oaks at Edward’s free, 5-minute online AnxietyAware assessment.  For immediate assistance and a free and confidential assessment, call the Linden Oaks 24/7 Help Line at (630) 305-5500.  For more information about sleep disorders, visit www.edward.org/sleep.

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