How Anxiety Can Lead to Insomnia

Getting an appropriate amount of restful sleep every night is an essential component of health. Unfortunately, people frequently experience poor sleep quality and duration. According to the National Institutes of Health, over 40 million people in the U.S. have some form of long-term or chronic sleep disorder. With these numbers it should not be surprising that medical experts have declared sleep issues to be an epidemic.

In order to have any hope of resolving this expansive issue, we must understand the underlying causes. Insomnia and anxiety are both prevalent and closely related to one another. Learning about this connection implementing methods to relieve anxiety and improve sleep can have a significant positive impact on overall wellness.

Insight into Insomnia

Ideally, individuals get a minimum of eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Unfortunately, common sleep disorders often inhibit this restorative process. Insomnia is the most common and is clinically described as a condition that causes difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and induces premature waking or waking up without feeling refreshed. Chronic insomnia is classified as experiencing these issues and related symptoms at least three nights a week for a minimum of three months.

Insomnia disrupts sleep which means more than just feeling tired and less energetic. A sleep deficit, caused by insomnia or another sleep disorder, can result in many different symptoms that impact daily life. Some symptoms include:

  • Changes in mood or irritability
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Greater risk of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Obesity
  • Poor cognitive function
  • Stress
  • Tension

These symptoms can increase risk of mortality and if sustained most certainly inhibit quality of life.

Typically, insomnia is present in those with another mental health disorder such as chronic anxiety or depression. Other contributing factors of insomnia include nasal allergies, chronic pain, select medications, thyroid conditions, and asthma. Interestingly, sleep disorders often perpetuate the conditions that cause sleep disruption. This means that patients who suffer from a condition that causes insomnia may experience a prolonging of their original condition because they are unable to get restful sleep. An example of this vicious cycle is the relationship between anxiety and insomnia.

Anxiety and Its Impact on Sleep

Disorders such as generalized anxiety and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) have been linked to a greater occurrence of insomnia. In a national survey, it was found that those with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, or both, had significantly increased rates of severe insomnia when compared to other groups. Anxiety may cause sleep disruption in the form of onset insomnia (difficulty falling asleep) and/or maintenance insomnia (interrupted sleep and difficulty returning to sleep). Both types can cause a person to experience sleep deprivation and its associated symptoms.

Regularly experiencing anxiety during the evening or when trying to fall asleep can create an unhealthy mental association with sleep. This development causes the body to feel nervous or panicky regarding sleep, thereby further reducing sleep quality and promoting the occurrence of anxiety.

Social Anxiety Disorder or SAD is often found in conjunction with sleep disorders such as insomnia. SAD causes individuals to have severe anxiety regarding social interaction, which frequently leads to near obsessive reflection on the events of the day, assessing how well interactions went with others, and, based off these thoughts, potentially toxic value judgments of the self. Typically, these thoughts occur during the evening in bed when other distractions have been removed. This type of thinking can cause anxiety and promote insomnia.

Resolving Anxiety and Sleep Disruption

The most common approach of treating insomnia is through the use of sleep aids. Such medications can provide relatively quick insomnia relief, within days to weeks, but is often a temporary solution. Furthermore, some sleep medications promote the occurrence of other unwanted side effects. Therefore, implementing healthy lifestyle changes and using natural supplements to resolve sleep issues is usually more effective and a more permanent solution than taking sleep aiding drugs.

The following lifestyle changes and practices can help alleviate anxiety and promote better sleep.

  • Establishing and following a nighttime routine
  • Limiting the use of electronics before bed
  • Meditation
  • Optimizing the sleep environment (cool, dark, and quiet)
  • Prioritizing sleep
  • Regularly exercising
  • Speaking with close friends and family

In addition to these lifestyle changes, proper supplementation may be helpful. There are two powerful substances to look for when supplementing to alleviate anxiety and insomnia.

GABA

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is an important inhibitory neurotransmitter that is frequently used in medications to improve mood and alleviate insomnia and anxiety. By appropriately inhibiting nerve cell activity, GABA helps limit neuronal excitability that promotes sensations of nervousness, anxiety, and unnecessary mental jitteriness. GABA also has a sedative effect that limits nerve excitability and naturally promotes healthier sleep.

5-HTP

5-HTP (oxitriptan) is a naturally occurring amino acid that is a precursor to substances that can be converted into serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin improves transmission of messages between the brain and the nervous system. It also promotes feelings of well-being and helps improve sleep quality. The other important substance associated with 5-HTP is melatonin. This hormone is an important factor in sleep cycle initiation and helps keep the body asleep. Using a high-quality 5-HTP supplement can increase levels of 5-HTP and subsequently serotonin and melatonin to improve sleep quality.

Learn even more about the benefits of 5-HTP here.

Chill Pill is a supplement produced by HoltraCeuticals with the specific purpose of relaxing the mind to alleviate anxiety and promote healthy sleep. Along with supporting ingredients such as Vitamin B6 and Magnesium Glycinate, Chill Pill contains the powerful anxiety relievers GABA and 5-HTP. Chill Pill also contains taurine, which is a precursor to GABA. The combination of these natural sleep aids helps relieve anxiety and tension to promote better sleep quality and ease the process of falling asleep.

Supporting Sleep Through Alleviating Anxiety

Mood and mental disorders such as anxiety are very common in the United States. Regularly experiencing anxiety can promote the occurrence of insomnia, which promotes a pattern of sleepless nights and mental exhaustion. This cycle can be difficult to break. However, implementing healthy lifestyle changes and supplementing with formulations such as Chill Pill that contain GABA and 5-HTP can help alleviate stress, improve sleep quality, and break the perpetual cycle of anxiety and insomnia.

Resources

1. Sleep Disorders. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/sleep-disorders

2. What Causes Insomnia? National Sleep Foundation. https://sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/content/what-causes-insomnia

3. The Relationship Between Social Anxiety and Insomnia. VeryWell. https://www.verywellmind.com/social-anxiety-and-insomnia-4136876

4. Insomnia: Causes and Risk Factors. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/insomnia-causes

5. What Is GABA? The Brain-Boosting, Anxiety-Busting Power of GABA Supplement. Dr. Axe. https://draxe.com/gaba/

6. Anxiety, Stress, Depression – a Supplement Approach. Sanford H. Levy, MD. https://www.sanfordlevymd.com/anxiety-stress-depression-a-supplement-approach//

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