Sleep Anxiety: Find Ways to Identify and Beat It

Sleep Anxiety: Find Ways to Identify and Beat It

November 24, 2021

Sleep Anxiety: Find Ways to Identify and Beat It


Sleep anxiety is a fear or concern about going to sleep. Some people are quite paranoid about not falling asleep or not being able to stay asleep. A few may also have a distinct phobia or fear about sleep that is called somniphobia. It can be frustrating to lie down on the bed till the wee hours and not get even a few minutes of sleep.

Sleeping anxiety is characterized by experiencing extreme dread of going to sleep. Approximately 70 million people in the United States endure different kinds of sleep disorders. There exists a correlation between anxiety & mental illness with a sleep disorder. People might feel anxious while going to sleep. They might undergo an intense fear of something bad might happen to them in their sleep. Some people also have this fear of not being able to stay asleep, which further exacerbates sleep problems.

Sleep anxiety can affect anyone, from children to adults of any age. The most notable reasons for sleep anxiety are:

  • Sleepwalking
  • Narcolepsy
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic anxiety
  • Sleep apnea

Elevated hormones, especially before sleeping, create challenges in falling asleep. The negative thoughts of the day rushing across one’s mind can lead to sleep regression.

Sleep anxiety can also be caused by hypothyroidism. Studies suggest that anxiety interferes in REM sleep, which is responsible for dreams during sleep. Therefore, anxiety and disturbing thoughts lead to nightmares, which, in turn, can lead to sleep disturbances or poor sleep. It prevents people from falling back asleep again.

People with the below mental health conditions have a higher propensity to develop sleep anxiety.

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Drug and alcohol dependency
  • Depression
  • Panic disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

What are the symptoms of Sleep Anxiety?

Sleep anxiety can have both physical and emotional symptoms.

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Trembling
  • Rapid breathing
  • Digestive problems
  • Fast heart rate
  • Tense muscles
  • Sweating

Emotional symptoms can include:

  • Sense of intense dead
  • Emotionally overwhelmed
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability
  • Anxiousness
  • Uneasiness

Some people may experience panic attacks during sleep. It is called nocturnal panic attacks that can keep you awake for a longer time and prevent you from falling back asleep.

How sleep anxiety is diagnosed?

An individual’s medical history and physical examination of symptoms are used to diagnose sleep anxiety. A medical practitioner can conduct a sleep study to evaluate the sleep quality and how the body functions during sleep, which can include a gamut of parameters such as:

  • How is the position of your body during sleep?
  • Whether you are snoring or not?
  • How is your blood oxygen level during sleep
  • Electrical activity in the brain during sleep
  • Eye movements during sleep
  • Evaluating heart rate and rhythm
  • Observing leg movement
  • Evaluating sleep stages etc.

How to cope with sleep anxiety?

There are numerous ways to treat sleep anxiety. Some holistic practices and lifestyle changes can also benefit people in dealing with sleep anxiety. However, the following techniques can help in a great way to tackle sleep anxiety:

  • Meditation
  • Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga
  • Regular exercise
  • Following a healthy diet and daily routine
  • Practicing breathing exercises
  • Following healthy sleep habits
  • Avoiding stimulants such as tea or coffee, particularly before sleep
  • Avoiding negative thoughts before sleeping etc.

What are the treatments available for sleep anxiety?

It is imperative to remember that to treat sleep anxiety, a medical practitioner might treat underlying conditions such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, brain tumor, irregular bowel movements, and chronic pain on priority. Sleep anxiety can be treated with medication followed by psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and following healthy sleeping habits and biofeedback.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a proven and effective treatment method to treat sleep anxiety. It helps in changing the thinking process by addressing an underlying reason that is causing the sleep anxiety.

During CBT, the patient learns:

  • To avoid environmental or behavioral factors that act as a trigger for anxiety
  • How anxiety is affecting the brain function and the entire body’s physical function
  • To bring about change in the negative thinking process

If you or a loved one is battling with sleep anxiety or any other mental health condition, seek help with Invictus Health Group. We are a reputable platform that understands your condition and can help you connect to appropriate treatment programs.

We can help you to find the best mental health inpatient treatment centers and customized inpatient mental health treatment programs in Orange County. To know more about our treatment programs, call us now on our 24/7 toll-free number 866-548-0190 and get immediate assistance.

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