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The Connection Between Sleep Deprivation and Anxiety

The Connection Between Sleep Deprivation and Anxiety

If you’re anything like me, you may have tried multiple solutions to try and get good quality sleep. Limiting screen time, and journaling or meditating before bed can help, but once I lay my head on the pillow and start worrying about falling asleep, I find I can’t quite doze off.

This anxiety about sleep causes me to stay awake, depriving me of much-needed rest. It also starts a cycle of sleep deprivation and anxiety that negatively impacts my well-being. To remedy my problem, I looked into the connection between anxiety and sleep deprivation.

Below are several surprising facts I discovered about the interconnected nature of sleep deprivation and anxiety and effective ways to help me achieve restful sleep.

What is Sleep Anxiety?

If you feel anxiety when trying to sleep, you may suffer from sleep anxiety. Although many people may have trouble falling asleep due to worry about life’s problems, sleep anxiety refers explicitly to fear, anxiety, or stress about falling or staying asleep.

For instance, it’s considered normal anxiety if you can’t fall asleep because you’re thinking about paying your bills. However, it may be regarded as sleep anxiety if you can’t fall asleep due to worrisome thoughts about your inability to stay asleep.

You can take a sleep anxiety test online, like this free option from, to assess whether you may have a sleep disorder. You might also consider doing a sleep study with a healthcare provider where they can check your blood oxygen levels, breathing, brain activity, and other physical factors to determine the cause of your sleep troubles.

Can Lack of Sleep Cause Anxiety?

If you can’t sleep due to anxiety, you likely suffer from lack of sleep, also called sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation affects nearly 33% of American adults, according to a 2019 review. The Sleep Foundation characterizes sleep deprivation as not getting the required hours of sleep needed for optimal mental and physical functioning.

Although sleep needs vary, most adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night to avoid the consequences of sleep deprivation, including slowed thinking, irritability, lack of energy, and a heightened risk of mental health issues like stress and anxiety.

Sleep deprivation has many causes, including lifestyle choices, disorders, and poor sleep hygiene. However, a significant cause of sleep deprivation is anxiety. All types of anxiety can affect sleep, but sleep anxiety feeds into a reciprocal pattern between anxiety and sleep deprivation. In essence, sleep deprivation causes more feelings of anxiety, which in turn prevent you from sleeping, causing further loss of sleep.

Sleep apnea and anxiety are also interconnected with sleep deprivation. Sleep apnea can cause you to wake dozens of times during the night, interfering with your sleep phases. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you may develop sleep anxiety because you dread waking up all night, which can further sleep deprivation caused by the condition.

Why Common Approaches to Sleep Anxiety Don’t Work

The Sleep Foundation says that most people should fall asleep within 10 to 20 minutes of laying down in bed. If it takes you more than 45 minutes to fall asleep, it can indicate poor sleep quality and issues with sleep anxiety.

Many resources offer possible approaches for reducing sleep anxiety. Common sleep-improvement methods include:

  • Meditation for sleep and anxiety
  • Developing a routine
  • Staying away from alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine
  • Reducing electronic time before bed
  • Avoiding long naps during the day
  • Eating healthy

While there is merit behind many of these techniques, they often don’t help with sleep anxiety. This is because many people, myself included, focus too much on actively doing these methods rather than using them to help our minds and bodies relax.

A relaxed mind can help you sleep, so the more you try, the harder it is to fall asleep. If you are forcing yourself to meditate or shaming yourself for watching TikTok or YouTube before bed, those emotions can heighten your sleep anxiety. Instead, you should allow yourself to do or not do those things that naturally let your mind relax and put you in a state of calm and peacefulness to help you fall asleep.

How to Improve Your Sleep (For Real)

If you struggle to get 8 hours of sleep and feel tired all the time, you may also be dealing with anxiety that creates a cycle of poor sleep and reduced mental health. So, you’re wondering how to sleep better with anxiety? While it might all seem easier said than done, there are a few ways you can help to improve your sleep.

Think Long Term

There is no quick fix for anxiety and sleep issues. You won’t see a drastic improvement in one single night. Instead of thinking only about the night ahead, think about a long-term plan. Instead, expect to see progress in a few weeks. It may help to take the pressure off creating one perfect night of sleep that could add to your anxiety.

Enjoy the Hours You Are Awake

Constantly stressing about your sleep (or lack of sleep) may be some of what’s causing your sleep anxiety. Instead, do something you enjoy when you are awake and can’t sleep: watch a movie, listen to a podcast, read a book, anything to keep from obsessing over the fact that you cannot sleep.

Focus on Your Schedule

Try to change your schedule to create more sleep drive, the function that helps us to go to sleep and stay asleep. One way of doing this is to consistently wake up at the same time each morning and go to sleep at a reasonable time each night. This pattern can help your body to feel sleepy and may help to get your sleep drive back on track.

Cut Down on Elaborate Routines

Many claim that an elaborate pre-bed routine is the key to good sleep. But if you are only doing breathing exercises or writing in a journal because someone told you it was a good idea, it might be a good idea to stop. In reality, the best way to get your body ready for sleep is to create an enjoyable bedtime routine that feels the most relaxing and inviting to you.

Try a Sleep Aid

Sleep aids come in many forms. There are prescription sleep medications that could be necessary for serious sleep issues. But most people don’t want to risk the side effects of such prescriptions. Natural sleep aids, like gummies for anxiety and sleep, can help relax the mind and body. These gummies may include ingredients such as magnesium for sleep and anxiety.

You might also choose melatonin for anxiety sleep gummies which offer a more natural effect than prescription sleep aids. Melatonin aids in developing a healthy sleep cycle because your body produces melatonin naturally to prepare for sleep.

Increasing melatonin levels with a supplement can help your body fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. On the other hand, magnesium has shown signs of helping relieve insomnia when taken over a long period.

Try Sleep Support Gummies to Calm Sleep Anxiety

As part of your long-term sleep improvement routine, try Ingredient For Health sleep support gummies. Our gummies are the best gummies for sleep and anxiety. They help you calm your mind and relax your body so you can drift off into a peaceful sleep. Shop our collection of melatonin gummies today to reduce your sleep anxiety and get a restful night’s sleep.

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