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Kiss sleep anxiety goodnight with these tips and tricks

We understand that sometimes, even the sandman can't lull you into a peaceful slumber.


If you find yourself tossing and turning with sleep anxiety, fret not. In this blog post, we'll shed light on what sleep anxiety is, why it affects us, and, most importantly, how you can overcome it. So, let's dive in and reclaim your restful nights!


Understanding Sleep Anxiety


Sleep anxiety, also known as somniphobia or insomnia anxiety, refers to the worry and fear associated with the inability to fall asleep or get enough sleep. It can stem from various factors, including stress, racing thoughts, fear of nightmares, or preoccupation with the consequences of sleep deprivation. Recognizing the signs of sleep anxiety is the first step toward overcoming it.


What are the symptoms of sleep anxiety?

Symptoms of sleep anxiety include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

  • Restlessness

  • Racing thoughts

  • Hyperfocus on sleep quality

  • Heightened awareness of normal bodily sensations during sleep


Here are some tips to keep in mind:


1: Identify and Address Underlying Causes

Identifying and addressing the underlying causes of sleep anxiety is crucial. It may stem from various factors such as stress, trauma, or specific sleep-related concerns. Consider seeking support from a healthcare professional or therapist trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) to help identify and address these root causes effectively [2].


2: Establish a Calming Bedtime Routine

Creating a relaxing bedtime routine can promote better sleep and reduce anxiety. According to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, engaging in a consistent, relaxing routine before bed can improve sleep quality and reduce what experts describe as sleep onset latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep) [3]. Activities such as reading a book, practicing relaxation techniques like listening to a podcast, or taking a warm bath can effectively prepare your mind and body for sleep. Furthermore, going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day will help your body get used to a specific sleep schedule. Be sure to stay consistent.


3: Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation have been shown to alleviate anxiety and improve sleep quality. A review published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindfulness meditation programs improved sleep quality, reduced insomnia symptoms, and enhanced overall well-being [4]. Incorporating mindfulness exercises or guided meditation into your routine can help calm the mind and minimize sleep anxiety.


4: Create a Sleep-Conducive Environment

Creating a relaxing environment where you go to sleep is essential in managing sleep anxiety. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, clean, and quiet. Use blackout curtains, earplugs, or white noise machines to minimize disruptions. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a comfortable environment improves sleep quality and reduces sleep-related anxiety [5].


Tip: Try listening to binaural beats. They are soundwaves that can synchronize brainwaves and potentially induce specific mental states, such as relaxation or focus. Spotify and Youtube have many great options.


5: Limit Screen Time Before Bed

Excessive screen time before bed can exacerbate sleep anxiety. The blue light emitted by electronic devices can suppress melatonin production and disrupt the sleep-wake cycle. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that exposure to blue light in the evening can delay the onset of melatonin release, making it harder to fall asleep [6]. Limiting screen time at least one hour before bed can improve sleep quality and reduce sleep anxiety.


Final thoughts

Remember that sleep anxiety is something that all of us can face at some time.


By understanding its causes and implementing these practical strategies, you can gradually overcome sleep anxiety and restore peaceful and energizing sleep. Prioritize self-care, be patient with yourself, and celebrate each small victory. Rest assured (No pun intended!) you've got this!


Sources:

  • Belleville, G., Guay, S., & Marchand, A. (2009). Persistence of sleep disturbances following cognitive-behavior therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 66(1), 69-75.

  • Morin, C. M., Bootzin, R. R., Buysse, D. J., Edinger, J. D., Espie, C. A., & Lichstein, K. L. (2006). Psychological and behavioral treatment of insomnia: Update of the recent evidence (1998-2004). Sleep, 29(11), 1398-1414.

  • Shechter, A., Kim, E. W., St-Onge, M. P., & Westwood, A. J. (2018). Blocking nocturnal blue light for insomnia: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 96, 196-202.

  • Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., ... & Haythornthwaite, J. A. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(3), 357-368.

  • National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). How Your Sleep Environment Affects Your Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-your-sleep-environment-affects-your-sleep

  • Cajochen, C., Frey, S., Anders, D., Späti, J., Bues, M., Pross, A., ... & Stefani, O. (2011). Evening exposure to a light-emitting diodes (LED)-backlit computer screen affects circadian physiology and cognitive performance. Journal of Applied Physiology, 110(5), 1432-1438.

  • Harvey, A. G., & Payne, S. (2002). The management of unwanted pre-sleep thoughts in insomnia: distraction with imagery versus general distraction. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 40(3), 267-277.

  • Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). Binaural Beats. Retrieved from: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/noise-and-sleep/binaural-beats#:~:text=Binaural%20beats%20are%20a%20perception,difference%20between%20the%20two%20tones.


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