Sleep anxiety is another form of mental health challenge that people suffer from. The good news is that it can be treated with some effective tips and medications. Here’s how you can deal with sleep anxiety.
Anxiety happens when your mind travels into the future and finds an imagined scenario threatening. Chronic anxiety is not only limited to your mind, the symptoms begin to appear in your body as well. One of the many forms of anxiety is sleep anxiety. Have you ever found yourself dreading the idea of sleeping at night? You may suffer from sleep anxiety. Also, if the term is new to you, we have it all covered here with some management techniques to help anyone suffering from the problem.
Health Shots contacted Dr. Pavana S, Consultant Psychiatrist, Bangalore, to understand how he deals with sleep anxiety. “Sleep anxiety, another term for Somniphobia or sleep-related anxiety, is a condition in which a person experiences heightened feelings of fear, stress, or apprehension around the act of sleeping,” he says. .
What is sleep anxiety?
In the realm of mental health, sleep anxiety can affect your well-being, affecting the quality of your rest and overall mental health. Individuals with sleep anxiety often find it challenging to stay asleep because of persistent worries and concerns. One can often experience feelings of fear during the sleep process, persistent worries and overthinking, and difficulty relaxing that can impact daily functioning. These feelings can be associated with night terrors, and these problems can be reflected as chronic insomnia leading to other underlying mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
How to deal with sleep anxiety?
We explore effective management techniques for those struggling with sleep anxiety.
1. Establish a consistent sleep routine
They encourage individuals to create a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends, helps regulate the body’s internal clock, Dr. Pavana S tells Health Shots.
2. Create a soothing bedtime ritual
You should try to include relaxing activities before sleep, such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing gentle stretching. These rituals act as signals to the body that it is time to sleep.
Also read: Do you wake up tired? This sleep routine will help you fix that
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3. Limit stimulants before bed
“Avoid consuming stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. These can interfere with the ability to sleep and contribute to increased anxiety,” says the expert.
4. Mindfulness meditation and deep breathing
Try to include mindfulness, meditation and deep breathing exercises in your daily routine to help individuals shift their focus away from anxious thoughts and promote a state of relaxation, conducive to sleep.
5. Create a comfortable sleep environment
“Create an environment that is conducive to sleep – cool, dark and quiet. Investing in a comfortable mattress and pillows can significantly improve the quality of sleep,” suggests the expert.
6. Limit screen time before bed
Avoid using electronic devices before bed. The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt the production of melatonin, a hormone crucial for regulating sleep.
7. Regular exercise routine
“Promote regular physical activity because it can contribute to a better sleep. However, do not recommend vigorous exercise close to bedtime,” says the expert.
Regular physical activity can induce feelings of exhaustion that can promote healthy sleep. In addition, exercise is also known to help release feel-good hormones in the body that further help curb stress levels in the body.
Treatment plan to treat sleep anxiety
When sleep anxiety persists, a comprehensive treatment plan may involve therapeutic intervention. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) has shown effectiveness in addressing the underlying factors that contribute to sleep anxiety. This therapeutic approach focuses on changing thoughts and behaviors that disrupt sleep.
In some cases, medications may be considered, such as sedative-hypnotics or anti-anxiety medications. In any case, the use of medications must be approached with caution, and individuals must be carefully monitored for possible side effects and addiction, advises the expert.
In conclusion, the journey to overcome sleep anxiety involves a combination of lifestyle adjustments, behavioral changes and, when necessary, professional guidance. By tailoring strategies to individual needs, we can guide our patients toward restful nights and better overall well-being.
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