“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” ~ Irish Proverb
I know, I know. I should’ve led off with Enter Sandman by Metallica. Still, for the sake of the article about sleep and anxiety, I decided to go with something more sweet and pleasant for the readers, like Mr. Sandman by the Chordettes.
The folklore behind Mr. Sandman is of European origin, and he is said to bring good dreams and sleep to those with magical dust. The grit/gunk/dry crusties you wake up with is to be proof of this magical dusting.
So does poor sleep or not being visited by Mr. Sandman cause anxiety? Short answer, no. Longer answer… in a roundabout way, poor sleep can increase your anxiety.
Poor Sleep Exacerbates Stress
Poor sleep may not necessarily cause anxiety, but it can certainly be an added stressor that makes us less resilient and, in turn, more stressed or anxious.
Consistently poor sleep is like going on a road trip with a quarter of a gas tank. You’re going to run out sooner, not go as far, and run on fumes.
Say you are a 5/10 regarding stress levels but are maintaining good sleep. Many people may find themselves there. Now add poor sleep.
That 5/10 can quickly become an 8 or 9/10 because you are not recovering each night nor feel the energy to complete tasks at work. Maybe you are not showing up for your relationships and incur more stressors in all these areas.
So is poor sleep the cause of anxiety?
Not necessarily, but it can make your feelings of anxiety worse. Stress can then negatively impact your sleep, getting someone caught in a tough cycle.
Anxiety Around Poor Sleep
If you are a notoriously poor sleeper and know how insufficient sleep can impact your life, you can undoubtedly create anxiety around your sleep patterns/habits. Many lie in bed staring at the clock, pleading with their body and brain to sleep as they count the minutes and hours that go by.
“If I fall asleep…NOW…I can get 7 hours of sleep. If I fall asleep NOW…I can get 6 hours of sleep…If I fall asleep NOW…” – you get the picture.
This can be a stressful ordeal if you have trouble falling asleep.
It is important to address sleep hygiene and deactivation techniques to help prepare yourself for the best sleep possible and decrease any potential anticipated stress with trying to get good sleep.
Sleep is one of the greatest gifts for restoration and rejuvenation. It can equally be fickle when it is off, when we practice lifestyle choices that negatively impact it, or have a challenging environment for good sleep.
If you’re someone dealing with anxiety, improved sleep can help these symptoms.
Imagine hitting that road trip with a full gas tank and oil change. Your car is ready to tackle the obstacles you may face.
When our sleep is insufficient, we are not at our best physically or mentally in our day.
Let’s change the narrative! Let’s turn sleep into a gift that ends our day to prepare us for the next one.
Check out the related articles below now that you understand the relationship between sleep and stress to improve both things for you!
For further reading, view the following articles on our learning center:
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