Can anxiety throughout the day cause sleep-maintenance insomnia?

Jools Holland

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Can anxiety throughout the day cause sleep-maintenance insomnia as well, or just anxiety as you are trying to get to sleep?

I always thought that my sleep-maintenance problems were not attributable to anxiety (but were rather something physiological/nutritional/etc.) because I am always able to make sure that I am not worrying about anything right as I was going to sleep.

However, I am a very anxious person (I didn't really realize this until someone recently pointed it out to me how abnormal my behaviour is after talking to me for a few days) where I worry about and over-analyse about things excessively throughout the day (e.g., what's causing my sleeping problems; whether different foods are contributing to my sleep problems or other health problems; about certain relationships; about my appearance).

When sleep specialists mention how anxiety can cause insomnia, do they only mean the anxiety you experience as you are going to sleep, or do they mean that you can also have anxiety throughout the day that can cause or contribute to the problem, even if you feel calm as you are going to sleep?
 
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Lou

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I'm under the impression that when "sleep specialists" talk about anxiety they are talking to the people who have trouble falling asleep.

You and I have talked about sleep issues before and I don't think you have trouble falling asleep. You have trouble staying asleep. Me, too.

I've tried a lot of things and gotten mixed results. Which I described in your other thread. Also some other people gave some other suggestions. Have you tried any and all of those ideas.

I have been using a sleep monitor and it hasn't been of great help but it takes a lot of the subjectivity out of my experiments and analysis. According to my sleep app I wake up around 10 times a night. on a good night I just go right back to sleep again but on some nights I wake up and I'm not even sleepy anymore. the worst is when it takes me literally hours to fall back to sleep. or I just give up and get up.
 
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Forest Nymph

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Yes it can. Before I graduated in May I was taking this VERY stressful science class that was more like two classes and had some other things going on, and I developed this problem that I would wake up at 5 AM even if I was still tired or sleepy or even cranky and sometimes I would be able to go back to sleep, but otherwise I couldn't even go back to sleep.

I've also noticed this happen on a more short-term basis if I'm worried about something in particular, like a bill or something money related.

There are different types of insomnia. There's not being able to sleep at all, which is associated with bipolar disorder in the manic phase, as well as people who have very severe anxiety, and other health problems. Then there's "delayed sleep phase" which means you can't fall asleep because you can't turn your brain off even if you're tired. Then there's the type that I more recently had an issue with, where you wake up in the middle of the night or too early.

Which one are you? I think "delayed sleep phase" is the easiest to treat. It can usually be taken care of by taking a natural supplement like melatonin and turning off all technology about 30 minutes before bed. Or something over the counter, like a benedryl, or a beer or two (but just a beer or two, getting drunk can actually make your sleep worse. The balance is having just enough to take the edge off).

Not being able to sleep at all usually required medical care from a doctor or psychiatrist.

Then for the problem of waking up in the middle of night or too early, you can try sleeping medications, but the problem is that if you took a melatonin or benedryl in the middle of the night to go back to sleep, you might sleep through your alarm if you have to get up early for work or a class or appointment. There are things though you can take which will help you sleep through an entire night. Some are natural but some require a prescription.

If your anxiety is that bad, I honestly think you should talk to a counselor.
 
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