Insomnia is one of the most common symptoms of anxiety disorder – it is also one which is easy to treat. There are several different kinds of insomnia:
- Having trouble falling asleep
- Falling asleep but waking up frequently or too early
- Sleeping a reasonable length of time but waking un-rested.
Each of those types of insomnia are a major inconvenience to life and they can all both cause and be exacerbated by anxiety. That’s right, insomnia can cause anxiety.
The exact function of sleep is not fully understood, but when we sleep our nervous system recovers from the day and prepares us to be capable of dealing with more stress. If that vital sleep is disrupted or is not of sufficient quality then we tend to find ourselves more on edge and irritable. For a day or two it doesn’t matter, but over time this can descend into anxiety disorder.
Equally, anxiety causes insomnia because for peaceful, restful sleep we need both physical and mental relaxation. And with anxiety physical and mental relaxation can be hard to find.
There are many weird and wacky insomnia remedies out there, but I recommend the following:
- Drink a herbal tea to relieve anxiety. Chamomile or lemon balm are probably best.
- Go to bed early and get up early. Sleeping during the hours of darkness is the natural way, and waking early sets up your sleep cycle for better sleep quality.
- Practise relaxation techniques for the mind and the physical body.
- Avoid all caffeine including chocolate.
- Eat a complex carbohydrate to increase your serotonin levels.
- Consider using tryptophan or 5-HTP.
If you experiment with these tips you should be able to make great progress with your sleeping.