Can Lack of Sleep Cause Anxiety?

Sleep is essential for physical and mental health, yet many Australians are not getting enough sleep. In fact, research from the Sleep Health Foundation shows that one in every three Australians are not getting enough sleep. Not only can a lack of sleep lead to physical health problems, but it can also lead to mental health issues such as anxiety.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a mental health condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. It is characterised by feelings of fear, worry and unease. Anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, trauma and lifestyle habits.

How Does Sleep Affect Anxiety?

Sleep and anxiety are closely connected. A lack of sleep can contribute to the development of anxiety, while anxiety can also make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

One of the main ways that a lack of sleep can contribute to anxiety is by affecting the body’s stress response. A good night’s sleep helps to regulate the body’s stress response, which helps to keep anxiety levels in check. When a person is sleep deprived, the body’s stress response is disrupted, which can lead to feelings of anxiety.

Another way that a lack of sleep can contribute to anxiety is by affecting the brain’s ability to regulate emotions. Sleep is essential for the brain to process and regulate emotions. When a person is sleep deprived, the brain’s ability to regulate emotions is impaired, which can lead to feelings of anxiety.

Tips for Getting Better Sleep

If you are struggling with a lack of sleep and anxiety, there are a few things you can do to try and get a better night’s sleep.

Firstly, it is important to establish a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day helps to regulate the body’s internal clock, which can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

It is also important to create a relaxing sleep environment. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and comfortable. Avoid using electronic devices before bed, as the blue light from screens can disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.

Finally, it is important to practice good sleep hygiene. This means avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, avoiding napping during the day and avoiding large meals before bed.

When to Seek Help

If you are struggling with a lack of sleep and anxiety, it is important to seek help. A doctor or mental health professional can help you to identify the underlying cause of your anxiety and develop a treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms.

It is also important to remember that anxiety is a treatable condition. With the right help and support, you can learn to manage your anxiety and get a better night’s sleep.

Conclusion

A lack of sleep can contribute to the development of anxiety. It is important to establish a regular sleep schedule and practice good sleep hygiene in order to get a better night’s sleep. If you are struggling with a lack of sleep and anxiety, it is important to seek help from a doctor or mental health professional. With the right help and support, you can learn to manage your anxiety and get a better night’s sleep.

FAQs

Can lack of sleep cause anxiety?

What are the signs of lack of sleep?

Signs of lack of sleep include fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty controlling emotions.

How much sleep is needed to prevent anxiety?

Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night to prevent anxiety. It is important to get consistent amounts of sleep every night.

What can I do to ensure I get enough sleep?

To ensure you get enough sleep, establish a regular sleep routine, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, and limit your exposure to screens before bed. Exercise during the day can also help you sleep better at night.


References


1. Johnson, E. O., Roth, T., & Breslau, N. (2006). Sleep disturbances and psychiatric disorders: a longitudinal epidemiological study of young adults. Biological psychiatry, 60(5), 572-577.
2. Baglioni, C., Nanovskaya, T., Regestein, Q., & Riemann, D. (2018). Insomnia and anxiety: A systematic review of the neurobiological mechanisms and the possibility of a shared vulnerability. Sleep medicine reviews, 36, 20-29.
3. Zvolensky, M. J., Vujanovic, A. A., & Bernstein, A. (2003). Anxiety sensitivity and sleep disturbances: An integrative review. Clinical psychology review, 23(3), 339-360.