May 24, 2021
COVID-19 pandemic has left most of us sleepless. Unable to detach ourselves from scary thoughts of the pandemic, we are spending our nights tossing and turning in the bed anxiously. For many, it may be a possible outcome of stress related to COVID-19. However, for some, it could be a precursor of serious complications, especially if it is accompanied by anxiety that may bother an individual anytime during the night hours.
According to a recent research, the population of adults reporting symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder recently has increased from 36.4 to 41.5 percent, while the number of those reporting an unmet mental health care need have grown from 9.2 to 11.7 percent during the period between August 2020–February 2021.
Short term and chronic insomnia
Insomnia can be broadly categorized into short-term and chronic insomnia. Short-term insomnia is an outcome of an underlying illness, pain, or hormonal changes, which is over as soon as these issues are resolved. However, insomnia persisting over a long period caused due to reasons largely unknown may indicate a serious problem. Moreover, if insomnia accompanies anxiety or fear, triggered by the mere thought of going to bed, t may indicate a serious medical condition in making.
Conditions including chronic stress, fluctuations in biological clock, and bad sleep hygiene can also cause insomnia that troubles an individual for longer periods. The longer the problem persists, the more difficult it gets to control it. Immediate measures such as significant changes in lifestyle and sleep habits can be helpful in curbing the progression of problem.
Understanding midnight anxiety
Insomnia triggers an anxiety cycle, regulated by different stressors bothering an individual. Concerns like fear of losing your job, well-being of family members or some other reason like COVID-19 in today’s scenario may not only affect the time to fall asleep but may also bother the person at, say 3 am, and keep him or her awake with nervous thoughts racing inside the restless mind.
Starting from a particular time and trigger, the anxiety spreads to other areas and schedules including 12 pm meeting with the boss, doctor’s appointment at 6 pm, or people tested positive or died due to the pandemic. Further from 3 am slot in the night, the anxious thoughts may bother people anytime during night or at the time they hit the bed.
This sense of anticipating disaster or future problems (also referred to as cognitive distortion) starts ruling the patient’s belief system. Generally, people with sleep problems tend to experience severe episodes of anxiety. Researchers suggest that it is because of the relative isolation, quiet environment, and the absence of distractions that such anxieties bother people more at bedtime rather than during the day. Different engagements and work commitments during the day may keep people away or at least distracted from such anxious feelings.
Dealing with Anxious Thoughts
Tossing and turning, and waiting all night in the hope of falling asleep soon is not the way to deal with midnight anxiety. Instead, looking for healthy distractions can be helpful. Getting up and indulging in other activities like reading until sleep is too intense to be avoided can help in falling asleep.
People who are battling severe middle-of-the-night anxiety may need professional help. You can call Invictus Health Group on their 24/7 helpline number 866-548-0190. They have a large network of mental health treatment centers that offer treatment in a safe, comfortable, and confidential way. You can wither call their helpline or chat with a live associate available 365 days a year for expert advice.