Treating Anxiety-Related Sleep Disorder
If your sleep problem, sleep disorder is caused by anxiety or an anxiety disorder, there are self-help and medication treatments for an anxiety related sleep disorder.
Options for treatment of a sleep disorder caused by or accompanying anxiety include therapy, such as cognitive behavioral, lifestyle changes and medication. Typically as an anxiety disorder improves, so does the accompanying sleep disorder, so treatment of both disorders is important.
Medication for anxiety related sleep disorders may be used on a short-term or long-term basis. Prescribed medications include anti-anxiety drugs, sedative-hypnotics, beta-blockers and antidepressants. Some common examples are:
Self-Help Strategies for Better Sleeping with Anxiety
Creating the right sleep environment and developing good sleep habits are important to anyone wishing to obtain quality sleep. Addition lifestyle changes particularly helpful for those with anxiety include:
- Using cognitive behavioral therapy to reduce overall anxiety as well as sleep-related anxiety
- Doing quiet activities before bed and turning off the TV a half-hour before bedtime
- Going to sleep only when tired as tossing and turning in bed adds to stress
- Taking part in active exercise like swimming or aerobics. Exercising should be stopped at least two hours before bedtime.
- Decreasing anxiety by keeping a book by your bed to write down anxious thoughts and things to remember. Writing these thoughts down can get them out of your mind to allow full focus on relaxation.
- Not worrying about not getting enough sleep: Because worry is a key component of anxiety, try not to worry about sleep and trust that over time your body will develop its own rhythm. Cover the clock to avoid anxiety over "clock-watching".
- Meditating before bedtime to help induce a sound sleep
- Focusing on breath and deep breathing while in bed. Center your thoughts on something peaceful.
- Avoiding caffeine, chocolate, alcohol and foods high in sugar in the evening
1 Ross, Jerilyn, M.A. The Link Between Anxiety and Sleep Disorders Health Central. Jan 5, 2009. http://www.healthcentral.com/anxiety/c/33722/54537/anxiety-disorders
Last Updated: 20 July 2015
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD