With the onset of the pandemic, many people have been under a constant state of stress and tension. People are worried and want to test themselves constantly. Especially, if they are frequent travellers and looking for a Government list of approved 2 & 8 providers they get tensed. However hard they try, they cannot get proper peaceful sleep or are sleeping only for a couple of hours. Is it happening to you too? You probably must have understood by now that your anxiety is closely related to your sleep and food patterns. But why is our brain wired this way? Let us discover this deep connection between anxiety and insomnia in this article.
What is insomnia? What are its symptoms?
No sleep or insufficient amount of sleep is called insomnia. In general, insomnia is a sleep disorder. Many people suffer from this disorder of lack of sleep. There can be many reasons for insomnia. Let us know about some symptoms. Symptoms of insomnia are pretty basic. You can figure out if you have insomnia by examining your sleep patterns over time. There are some clear symptoms like difficulty in sleeping, difficulty in staying asleep, or waking up early or at odd hours. There might be many reasons for that. One of them can be that you are worried about something that is keeping your mind occupied. For example, you want to test yourselves for Covid and you are not getting the right Government list of approved 2 & 8 providers for the kits. Or, you might be facing turmoils in your relatioship. There can be any reason. Other feelings like feeling low or grumpy after getting up also indicate that you are suffering from insomnia.
And even when you are active and awake you will find symptoms that are due to the underlying problem of insomnia. For example, if you get irritated quickly or you find it difficult to manage your daily chores and lots of fatigue. Further, a test from an approved lab can tell if there are other medical issues that are behind your insomnia.
What is anxiety? What are its symptoms?
Anxiety is a way your body reacts when under stress. Basically, anxiety is your body’s natural response when you feel afraid, excited, or in danger. While experiencing anxiety is normal, you may have an anxiety disorder if it exceeds six months with extreme unmanageable symptoms. Short-term anxiety is not a cause of worry. For example anxiety about your corona test results or when will you get the government-approved kit that you ordered. These are short-lived anxieties. Most people feel anxiety in various situations which is perfectly fine. But if this behaviour goes untreated for a long time, it can be harmful. Medicines and lifestyle changes are required to treat it.
Does anxiety cause insomnia, or is it the other way round?
Many people find themselves in a dilemma to understand the connection between anxiety and sleep. Some people get anxiety due to lack of sleep, while others cannot sleep due to anxiety. For example, you might always have a sound sleep on normal days. But, during the pandemic, you got stressed trying to find a Government list of approved 2 & 8 providers for amber or green test kits. Or you might be worried about your city airport being closed. Then this anxiety might lead to temporary insomnia. Both categories of people exist, and both have their perception of the connection between anxiety and insomnia. Honestly, anxiety and insomnia have an intertwining connection; in simple terms, anxiety and insomnia are like two sides of a coin. Which affects the other is solely dependent on what happens first and what follows. So if you have anxiety attacks, you may find trouble sleeping peacefully. On the other side, if you do not sleep properly, you may feel anxiety.
Anxiety and Insomnia – What is the connection?
Insomnia is caused due to irregular sleeping patterns. Now, when your brain is already weary, it can easily get triggered by the smallest of things. It can be any petty thing like waiting for a test result. All such minor stress or things makes you experience anxiety which affects you negatively. Similarly, when you suffer from anxiety, your brain cannot shut down due to a rush of adrenaline, which, in turn, does not let you sleep because your mind is too worked up to relax. Various surveys in places like Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Stansted, and Luton clearly indicate that people are prone to anxiety due to minor things during pandemics.
Additionally, there is slight dominance of insomnia over anxiety. Sleep is an important factor for anxiety. In order to cure anxiety, we have to take proper sleep for a minimum of 7 to 8 hours. A night of proper sleep has a positive effect on our mind as it keeps the mind calm and therefore lesser chances of anxiety attacks. Governments across the world are trying to convince their citizens to sleep more. In the UK the average sleeping time is 6 hours 19 minutes.
Meditation and lifestyle changes
Meditation is the best way to relax your senses. Take some time after you wake up to meditate – take deep breaths and try to think of something positive to look forward to in the day. If you are planning to travel then you can find some time before boarding at the airport. This will cal your mind and save you from travel-related anxiety. Think about the good life and what you want to make from it. If you are not able to concentrate in the beginning, do not worry.
Follow meditation with quick stretching or basic exercises to activate your body and remove the mind’s fogginess. Prepare yourself for the day. Make a to-do list before jumping to work to help maintain a schedule and ease your mind. A schedule will keep the thinking-what-to-do-next time minimum and also increase your productivity. Say goodbye to afternoon naps. Avoid sleeping in the afternoon or any other time once you wake up. Tire your body from the hard work of an entire day.
Drastic lifestyle-related changes might be advised by a doctor if it is chronic anxiety and insomnia.