Sleep Anxiety Symptoms

Sleep Anxiety Symptoms

Millions of Americans suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. Among these disorders, sleep anxiety is a common complaint. Worries and fears lead to insomnia, which leads to more worries and fears about lack of sleep, creating a vicious cycle of anxiety that can overwhelm a sufferer and lead to challenges in every aspect of life. The symptoms of sleep anxiety vary among patients, but the general features and coping techniques are remarkably similar.

Many people suffering from depression find themselves with anxiety-related sleep disorders. Anxiety and depression are at the root of many causes of sleep anxiety. Other causes can be medical or psychological. Medical causes of sleep anxiety include sleep apnea, narcolepsy, pain conditions, restless leg syndrome and gastrointestinal upsets. Psychological causes include excess stress, worry, depression, panic attacks, nightmares and obsessive thoughts.

Sleep anxiety disorders are real but can mimic other diseases. Alzheimer's disease, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), depression and fibromyalgia should be ruled out before a definitive diagnosis of sleep anxiety is made. Sleep anxiety can also be caused by a medical or psychological condition. Regardless of the cause, there are common symptoms of sleep anxiety. Sleep anxiety can result in accelerated heart rate, trembling and shaking, stomachache and nausea, panic, dizziness, tingling, headache, throat pressure, breathlessness and hyperventilation.

Sleep anxiety, when untreated, leads to chronic sleep problems that create a sense of chaos, leading to long-term issues related to sleep anxiety. Common effects of chronic sleep anxiety include increased anxiety and depression, fatigue and pain syndromes, memory loss, low concentration, reduced alertness, poor cognitive function, poor judgment and overall reduced quality of life.

There are many treatments for sleep anxiety. Medication options include anti-anxiety drugs, beta-blockers and antidepressants. Psychological treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy in group or individual settings. Natural treatments for sleep anxiety include biofeedback, aromatherapy, relaxation, and dietary and lifestyle changes. In addition, self-care for sleep anxiety includes going to bed and waking at the same time each day, sleeping in a dark and quiet room and avoiding mental and physical stimulation for a few hours before bed.

When dealing with sleep anxiety, there are important considerations to keep in mind. Some medical treatments can actually cause sleep problems, leading to further sleep anxiety. This can be prevented by ruling out other disorders before treating sleep anxiety. It is also important to determine, whenever possible, the source of sleep anxiety, which can include generalized anxiety disorder, substance abuse, medical conditions, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).