Sleep Anxiety and Chronic Insomnia Fayetteville NC
Hope Mills, NC
General Practice, Aerospace Medicine
Medical School: Univ Of Hlth Sci, Coll Of Osteo Med, Kansas City Mo 64124
Graduation Year: 1999
Sleep Anxiety and Chronic Insomnia
Dealing With Sleep Anxiety And Chronic InsomniaAuthor: Marcia Weissman
Sleep anxiety and chronic insomnia often go hand in hand. In fact, they feed off of each other in the most frustrating and annoying way. Both of these problems, though, can be dealt with once you know what you are working with -- and are willing to patiently try several different techniques.
So what is the definition of sleep anxiety? It is a paradoxical situation where your desire to sleep is making you so anxious that it is causing you to sleep even less. But this cycle of misery does not have to continue. Sleep anxiety and chronic insomnia begin with the inability to get to sleep. This leads you to start getting anxious about getting to sleep -- and worrying about how your lack of sleep will affect your life and your health.
Because you are so focused on getting to sleep, you end up staying awake even longer... which of course leads to even more anxiety about not sleeping. And then the cycle starts over again. The most ironic thing about sleep anxiety is that if your focus was not on getting to sleep, it would be so much easier to get to sleep... but you just can't help thinking about it. In fact, sometimes, as you are lying in bed and starting to get drowsy, the thought that sleep might actually, finally, be close at hand pops into your head.
But then... at that very moment... the worry that you won't be able to sleep gets triggered once again. What once seemed so close is now far, far out of reach... again. So you can see how sleep anxiety leads to chronic insomnia where you are simply unable to sleep. Sadly, you are actually causing your own problems. Fortunately, you can also be the one to solve your insomnia and anxiety problems. To change your pattern of sleep anxiety keeping you awake, you need to combine a few mental techniques. These include cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, relaxation therapy techniques, patience and persistence. Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques focus on looking at your thoughts and feelings and deliberately changing them.
Here are the three basic steps (very simplified, but they will at least give you an idea):
1)First, identify your thoughts. What exactly are you saying to yourself? If possible, write them down on paper in full sentences.
2)Next, determine whether your thoughts and feelings are an good reflection of reality... or whether they are causing you unnecessary harm. Are your thoughts exaggerations, lies, or just plain harmful?
3)Once you have a better understanding of what your thoughts are up to, you can focus on changing them to something that works much better for you. It's a good idea to write this replacement thought down on paper as well. It gives it more substance when you write things down.
For example, let's say you are lying in bed staring at the ceiling. You are thinking, "If I can't sleep, I'll feel terrible tomorrow. I won't be able to do well on the test (or presentation or sales call or whatever). The boss will be disappointed. I might get fired. I MUST get some sleep or I'll be in serious trouble." Rather than continue to dwell on that downer of a thought, suppose you asked yourself -- "Wait a minute. Is this really true? Lots of people manage very well without any sleep at all, and I've done it many times myself. I might not feel my best, but I can certainly do well enough. I can just muster my enthusiasm, take some deep breaths, smile more, and who knows, things might just go much better than I could even imagine at this moment. There's no reason to beat myself up so much, and besides, what good does worrying do? No good at all. So Ill just lie here and enjoy my time being awake."
Replace your negative thoughts with thoughts that are more true and helpful, and you may make a real difference in your life. This method of focusing on what is proactive and positive instead of what you think is hopeless and negative has been helpful to many different people with a variety of problems. Connected to cognitive behavioral therapy when it comes to sleep anxiety is relaxation therapy. This focuses on the relaxation of both the mind and the body. It may include taking slow, deep breaths to relax yourself. It may also include muscle relaxation which can help you deal with the tension in your muscles.
Relief of insomnia and anxiety is not a one time thing, though. It is something that needs to be practiced on a daily basis. In the beginning, try practicing these techniques for 30 minutes a day. This can even be broken into two 15 minute sessions devoted to focusing on relaxing your mind and body a little. You might be surprised how quickly you will start to see results when it comes to your sleep anxiety.
Of course, the real key to anything that is important is patience and persistence. Your sleep anxiety is not going to completely disappear after one day. Even after a few days, you may find that the anxious feelings are not always completely gone. You need to continue using the both the cognitive behavioral techniques and the relaxation therapy techniques if you want to see real results. Be patient. Results will come if you are persistent.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/dealing-with-sleep-anxiety-and-chronic-insomnia-936497.html