5 Approaches to Improve Sleep Health Practices and Reduce Anxiety Symptoms

December 05, 2019

Why is quality sleep important in decreasing anxiety symptoms?
Getting quality sleep is important in reducing anxiety symptoms because having trouble sleeping can affect you emotionally, physically, and mentally. When you feel tired you may become irritable or get upset easily. You may notice your mind and body become tired and you are not able to concentrate or maintain your normal energy level. You may be experiencing insomnia that includes symptoms such as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up early, or not feeling rested upon waking after a full night’s sleep.

Sleep health is sometimes not a priority due to busy lifestyles. However, the National Sleep Foundation*, stated that sleep is an important indicator of health. If you struggle with sleep difficulties that are affecting your daily activities and exacerbating your anxiety symptoms, there are strategies you can institute that will help you sleep better.

Sleep needs vary based on the individual and are influenced by health and lifestyle. One person may only need five hours of sleep while another person may need 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night in order to function optimally. In order to figure out sleep practices that work best for you, take time to experiment and note how you feel each day based on variations in how much you sleep. Consider instituting healthy sleep practices in order to get a better night’s sleep.

Why is quality sleep important in decreasing anxiety symptoms?
The following 5 Approaches Can Help Create Healthy Sleep Practices and Reduce Anxiety Symptoms
  1. Regular Daily Exercise. It is important to your emotional and physical health to get daily exercise. It can sometimes feel like a chore to take time out for yourself to exercise and stay healthy. However, the benefits of a regular exercise routine not only include better sleep but also offer improved muscle strength and endurance, improved physical health, increased energy, and improved mood. Regular exercise helps fight diseases and certain health conditions. It is recommended that you exercise in the morning or afternoon, rather than in the evening, for better quality of sleep at night.
  2. Relaxation. Deep breathing can help reduce stress and calm your mind and body pretty rapidly. Diaphragmatic breathing is systematic breathing that sends messages to the brain to calm down. Deep breathing can be practiced as follows: Take a long, deep breath in through your nose for 5 seconds. Hold it for 5 seconds. Breathe out through the mouth for five seconds. You should do this breathing exercise for at least 45 seconds or until you feel calm. It may not come naturally at first, but once you start using this approach, deep breathing starts to happen automatically when you become stressed.
  3. Create a bedtime schedule. It is a good practice to have a regular bedtime and wake-up time, and try to keep the schedule on weekends too! Endeavor not to use the snooze button. It is good practice to turn off the TV, electronic gadgets, and do not try to complete work in bed before bedtime. These activities could stimulate the brain and interfere with production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, making it hard to get to sleep.
  4. Eliminate sleep bandits. Reduce consuming caffeine prior to bedtime. Caffeine can create physical effects like rapid heartbeat, muscle tremors, and restlessness that may create insomnia and interfere with sleep. Some individuals are highly sensitive to the use of caffeine while others are not affected at all. It is a good idea to monitor your use of caffeine and note how much caffeine you consume and how late you can ingest it to avoid having negative sleep affects due to the use of caffeine.
  5. Create bedtime rituals. Monitor the room temperature and keep it at the best temperature for a restful night’s sleep. You may like a colder room and more blankets to stay warm for a restful night’s sleep or you may prefer the room to be warmer and use lighter blankets in order to sleep well. Avoid getting body aches and prioritize getting a comfortable mattress, sheets, and comforter. It has been found that even if you are getting an adequate number of hours’ sleep at night, if the mattress is not ideal, you might wake up feeling unrested.
Are you interested in finding out more about Anxiety Treatment?
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Melissa Cooper, LCSW!I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works with Adults who have ongoing challenges with stress and anxiety. My goal is to help you stop feeling overwhelmed and anxious and instill peace of mind and calmness. I am an authentic, encouraging, warmhearted counselor that can help you become more present and grounded in the moment and actually enjoy it. I provide care for those experiencing high stress, excessive amounts of worry, and feelings of overwhelm in life.

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