The Psychiatric Relationship Between Sleep Anxiety – Anxiety Insomnia

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Problems sleeping are often an indication of an illness such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder. The role of sleep in a variety of disorders is an important one which figures prominently in the adequate treatment for psychiatric illness. Along with evidence of anxiety and depression, recurring insomnia can become a causative factor rather than just a symptom by creating a vicious cycle of feeling the need to sleep but being unable to do so.

Because treatment for problems falling asleep and staying asleep can be quite effective in alleviating at least a portion of anxiety, learning how to deal with the issue on a cognitive and behavioural level can be an effective means of taking control of the disorder.

Thought Processes

Patients who have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder often report experiencing apprehension regarding sleep. They are tired and crave a good night’s sleep. Their thought processes indicate an extreme fixation on the need for sleep and when it does not come, anxiety increases. They create an “all or nothing” train of thought which turns difficulty sleeping into a catastrophe. Of course, the longer this goes on, the more anxiety occurs, and insomnia is the result.

Handling bedtime in a more effective manner is achieved by countering these negative and dysfunctional thought processes with positive cognition.

? Try to focus on something other than sleep
? Remember that the body will shut down eventually, allowing sleep to occur naturally
? Remind yourself that relaxation is beneficial, even if sleep does not occur
? Paradoxical intention (giving yourself permission to be awake)
? Believe that you can change your thought processes
? Relax your mind
? Investigate sleep techniques and allow yourself the risk of trying them without pressure to ensure they work

Behavioural Changes

The other component to achieving a restful night’s sleep without anxiety is to change behaviour. Too often, those suffering from an anxiety disorder lie in bed and think about the inability to sleep. Rather than focusing on remaining in bed, change your habits.

? If sleep does not occur within half an hour, get up and do something
? Move into another room of the house
? Try a relaxing activity, such as drinking a cup of herbal tea or reading a book
? Do not return to bed until you feel very tired
? Set your alarm to wake up at the same time every day; institute a wake-up routine
? Do not engage in any other activity in bed other than sleeping

Be open to self-treatment methods such as changing cognitive processes and behaviour. As with any long-term behavioural modifications, it may take some time to be effective, but it is well worth your persistence. Getting a good night’s rest is essential to aid in the treatment of anxiety.

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