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Anxiety and Lack of Sleep

We all know the feeling of not being able to get to sleep because we’re worked up or nervous about something that is going on in our lives. We stress about work, or a presentation that we have to make, or about a test that we have to take the next day. But when that feeling is more than just a temporary occurrence related to a specific event and it is causing chronic sleep problems, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are much more than the everyday case of nerves that we get before asking somebody out on a date. When anxiety reaches into being a psychological disease it is pervasive and can take away much of life’s everyday pleasure.

People who suffer from anxiety disorders find themselves experiencing stress or fear on a constant basis. No decision is simple and no situation is relaxing, as concerns about the consequences of making a wrong decision, or of something bad happening, take over.  Generalized anxiety disorder describes a condition in which concerns about the future take over one’s everyday life.  There are other aspects of anxiety that can present themselves differently, including panic disorder, in which anxiety becomes so severe and overwhelming that sufferers think that they are having a heart attack. They experience shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness and nausea, and often end up going to their local hospital’s emergency room seeking treatment. Still others suffering from anxiety experience the condition as a specific fear of phobia, or as obsessive compulsive disorder in which they are motivated to go through a series of irrational and unnecessary repetitive motions in the belief that only by doing so will they be able to prevent something bad from happening.

Needless to say, people who suffer from this type of anxiety are often plagued by problems with sleep. Although their condition may exhaust them physically, their fears and stress prevent them from relaxing enough to get any sleep; they are so pervasively alert and in a state of restlessness that they are not able to relax enough to fall asleep. The lack of rest for their body and their mind feeds their anxiety, making things that much worse.

Though there are a number of insomnia cures that can be tried by those suffering from anxiety including staying away from caffeine and stimulating activities and a variety of relaxation techniques, it is important to understand that anxiety disorders are actual psychological illnesses that may require a physician’s treatment in order to be resolved. Anxiety medications like Xanax may be helpful; as is the case with other mood disorders, just as anxiety contributes to a difficulty in falling asleep, lack of sleep makes anxiety that much worse.  Solving one often goes hand-in-hand with solving the other.

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