The Vicious Cycle of Anxiety and Sleep Loss

If you suffer from sleep anxiety, it means you worry about your insomnia. Actually, you may even be obsessed about it. It becomes a vicious cycle because you worry about the amount of sleep you had last night, then you start to worry about how much sleep you are going to get tonight and so on. It does not stop there as then you start to worry about why you are feeling so tired and whether or not you will make it through the day. The worry gets worse as you begin to ponder on whether you will start to get fatigued or develop secondary health problems due to the lack of sleep and all this starts to build your anxiety even more which in turn causes sleeping problems: a total vicious cycle starts and gains momentum.

Sleep anxiety can be attributed to stress. When people get stressed, a naturally occurring chemical called serotonin is created. Serotonin is sometimes called the neurotransmitter and it plays a leading role in analysing data in the brain. Serotonin affects the melatonin levels and melatonin is a hormone of great importance as it encourages a good night’s sleep. If melatonin levels become compromised, for example due to stress and anxiety, the outcome could be problems with your natural sleeping cycle.

Furthermore once sleeping problems occur, further anxiety builds up creating an excess of adrenalin into the bloodstream which in turn has an adverse effect when it comes to calming down, relaxing and falling asleep. The increased adrenalin levels will keep you ever alert and disturb the natural sleep cycles. A regular pattern of anxiety-insomnia can quickly occur if not addressed early. The best way to address these problems are always to seek out medical assistance sooner rather than later. An assessment will need to be carried out to identify the causes of the anxiety, whether medical or psychological.


If the cause of the anxiety is medical then there could be many reasons for this such as brain injury, heart problems, sleep apnea or even low oxygen levels. It would be helpful to work out whether the anxiety occurs during stressful periods. Smaller life changes such as new routines at work, outside noise levels whilst trying to sleep and even room temperature can have an impact on sleeping patterns, stress levels and anxiety.

If adjustments have been made and the sleep disorder persists for periods in excess of 3 consecutive weeks then perhaps it’s time to seek medical help as there may be other elements involved such as depression. For many men and women getting a good night’s sleep is a real challenge. Suffering from an anxiety related sleep disorder can be debilitating and life changing.

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