Sleep Anxiety: What It Is and How to Reduce It

When our minds race at night, it can be difficult to get enough sleep. Especially for high school students under significant stress, winding down can be even more of a challenge. Trying out effective time management strategies can help reduce some of the stress. However, if getting sleep is still a struggle, there may be a deeper issue under the surface.

For those who can’t seem to control worrying at night, it may be a sign of sleep anxiety. Sleep anxiety refers to the cycle of nervous thought patterns that keep some people up at night. As a result, people who suffer from sleep anxiety may even start to dread bedtime altogether.

To help yourself and others who may be experiencing sleep anxiety, there are several ways you can raise awareness and fight it. From common symptoms to soothing tips, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about sleep anxiety.

Sleep Anxiety Symptoms

The signs of sleep anxiety vary for each person, but there are a range of common symptoms to keep in mind. These symptoms include the following:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Trouble focusing
  • Restlessness and nervousness
  • Digestive troubles
  • Nightmares or night terrors
  • Hypnic jerk (twitching)
  • Panic attacks

Sleep Anxiety Causes

Wondering why some people suffer from sleep anxiety? Depending on the person, nervous thoughts before bed could be a result of a unique set of factors. Here are some possible causes:

  • Too much work, relationship, or other stress during the day
  • Fear, sadness, or worries causing a nighttime adrenaline rush
  • Fast-moving thought patterns at night
  • Pattern of poor sleep quality or difficulty falling asleep
  • Psychiatric and anxiety disorders

Sleep Anxiety Effects

Since sleep anxiety may lead to a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and bedtime dread, it can have a significant impact on one’s health. Take a look at some potential effects of sleep anxiety:

  • Down moods
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Higher chance of depression
  • Reduced cognitive reaction times

Sleep Anxiety Tips

Sleep anxiety can have a profoundly negative impact on one’s well-being, but there are a variety of ways to manage it. Check out these helpful tips:

  • Limit screen time before bed
  • Avoid napping during the day
  • Practice nighttime meditation or relaxing yoga
  • Exercise lightly before bed
  • Set aside 30 minutes to wind down before bed
  • Stay away from stressful situations or activities at bedtime
  • Use a journal to express your worries
  • Get up and do something else if you can’t fall asleep
  • Keep your room dark and cool
  • Purchase a better bed for your sleeping needs

Sleep anxiety can affect not only one’s ability to get enough rest, but also their ability to go through daily life. For students suffering from sleep anxiety, their academic performance, mental health, and relationships may also suffer as a result. 

However, sleep anxiety doesn’t have to have as strong of a hold on our lives. By spreading information about the issue and taking steps to address it, you can help yourself and others ease sleep anxiety and finally get some rest.

For an in-depth guide to sleep anxiety, take a look at the infographic below.