Exploring How Sleep Can Decrease One’s Anxiety

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 45 percent of Americans stated that a lack of sleep has caused them problems at least once in the past seven days.

That’s a concerning number of Americans who are experiencing sleeping difficulties. In that same study, Americans report sleeping an average of seven hours and 36 minutes each night.

On average, Americans usually go to bed around 10:55 p.m. and wake at 6:38 a.m. during workdays but sleep an extra 40 minutes on weekends or days they do not work.

Additionally, 67 percent of those experiencing less sleep find themselves in poorer health with less satisfaction in life and increased levels of stress and anxiety.

“The findings … demonstrate a need for sleep health improvement,”

National Sleep Foundation chief executive officer David Cloud stated.

“Sleep is an important factor in overall health. We suggest that Americans and their doctors talk about sleep as a vital sign of health and well-being.”

Anxiety can be one of the causes of sleep troubles. Feelings of anxiousness, intense worry, and panic could cause people to lose sleep.

People might not be able to sleep properly because the things going on inside of their heads could be affecting them physically. Here are some reasons why anxiety might keep people awake at night:

  • Racing thoughts
  • Obsessive-compulsive ideas
  • Elevated heart and breathing rates
  • Muscle tension
  • Pain

Any of these factors could be reasons why you are not able to get to bed. Furthermore, people might worry that they will not able to sleep.

This anxiety could create a self-fulfilling prophecy that could make it difficult for people to fall or stay asleep.

According to a survey by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 54 percent of respondents:

“say that stress or anxiety increased their anxiety about falling asleep at night, and 52 percent of men and 42 percent of women reported it affected their ability to remain focused the next day.”

It is vicious circle, however, because sleep could be a cure for stress and anxiety itself. It is fascinating how sleep affects the body biologically.

Writing in Scientific American, science blogger Scicurious said that the brain reacts differently in sleep-deprived environments and rested conditions.

If you have a sleep-deprived brain, regions of your brain have higher oxygen levels and increased blood flow, which creates higher brain activity than normal.

One study found that uncertain stimuli produced the strongest signals in the insula and amygdala regions of the brain for people who were well rested.

However, for those deprived of sleep, the responses for all the cues were strong, which included uncertain, negative, and neutral stimuli.

Anxiety.org says that sleeping gives the neurons in your body time to repair themselves as they shut themselves down.

Otherwise, normal cellular activities will deplete and pollute the neurons, which could cause them to malfunction. Sleep also increases protein production, which repairs stress-related damage and contributes to cellular growth.

Overall, sleep helps people biologically, socially, and emotionally.

If you are unable to sleep, you might turn to sleeping pills to help. Many people use medications known as benzodiazepines to help them sleep.

Also used to treat anxiety and seizures, benzodiazepines (benzos) include common drugs such as Valium, Ativan, Librium, Xanax, Klonopin, and lorazepam. The drugs can help people sleep by making them drowsy.

They can also produce side effects, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Gas
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn

According to WebMD, benzodiazepines could also be addictive. That could be a matter of concern and create more difficulties.

You might even need to attend one of the best drug rehab centers in California or another state. Because of these potential hazards, consider consulting a doctor or a sleep specialist if you are experiencing problems sleeping.

Monitoring the drugs you use and consulting your medical practitioners can help prevent drug dependency.

If you follow some of the recommended advice on rectifying your sleeping issues, you could put an end to your stress and anxiety.

Fortunately, there are things people can do that might reduce their anxiety and promote better sleep. A few of these recommended tips might make a huge difference in your sleep patterns:

  • Writing in journals
  • Jogging, running, or participating in other forms of exercise
  • Using herbal supplements (with medical supervision)
  • Establishing a regular bedtime routine
  • Avoiding looking at clocks, televisions, computers, or electronic devices before going to bed
  • Reducing one’s consumption of caffeinated beverages and alcohol

Adequate sleep can help prevent anxiety and other conditions. Writing in the MailOnline, Madlen Davies reports that people who sleep for shorter periods of time are likely to have more negative thoughts. According to Davies, researcher Jacob Nota observed that:

“Making sure that sleep is obtained during the right time of day may be an inexpensive and easily disseminable intervention for individuals who are bothered by intrusive thoughts.”

Work, responsibilities, family, and friends can create stress and other pressures on our lives. Sleep could provide rest and help alleviate your worries and other anxieties in life.

Author Bio:

Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, addiction and recovery, and the entertainment industry.

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