We all know that sleep deprivation can make anxiety levels soaring to greater heights. In fact we now know that sleep problems and mental health abnormalities have the same abnormal brain signature. When people expect that something untoward may happen it causes the body to feel anxiety symptoms. This could trigger sleep deprivation due to anticipatory anxiety which causes a lot of activity on the brain’s amygdala and brain’s insular cortex. This activity is also found in people that are suffering from anxiety disorders. This revelation could mean that the more anxious one can get the more likely he will lose sleep. And when people lose sleep the more they get anxious.
How are insomnia and anxiety related?
A study that was conducted by the University of California in Berkeley had the research participants view different types of images after they had great sleep and after they were denied of great sleep. The reactions of the participants were monitored using MRI technology. There were various visual cues that were shown to the participants and the white question mark caused the most distress among the participants. When the sleep-deprived study participants saw the white question mark they often anticipate that something bad is going to happen next. This causes abnormal activity on the emotional center of the brain which is the same activity that is known to occur also when people are suffering from anxiety disorders.
What does this mean?
It means that if there is sleep deprivation it automatically cause anxiety symptoms and with good sleep there is a big chance to treat anxiety. When people get better sleep it is possible that people would worry lesser and could have better chances not to think about fearful repercussions that only exists in the mind of the sleep deprived, said the researchers. The revelation illustrates the value of getting good sleep in beating anxiety dead on its tracks.
How insomnia fuels anxiety?
When worrisome thoughts dominate the brain before sleep it is possible that people will have trouble getting some rest. The bad thing about this chronic condition is that when left untreated it could lead to substance abuse or even alcoholism. People tend to use substances such as sleeping pills or alcohol to allow them to catch some z. This could be helpful in the short-term but the long-term implications on health are tremendous. Addiction to tranquilizers could have dangerous effects on health as tolerance figures into the fray people tend to increase the dosage to overcome tolerance. Alcohol could also cause liver and other organ damage if used increasingly and excessively.
How does isolation figure in?
At the dead of the night there is nothing that stirs causing the brain to find ways to be stimulated. Unfortunately it is the anxiety that fuels the boredom caused by the silence and tranquility of the night. This makes the anxiety more exaggerated because people tend to overthink about worrisome thoughts and the absence of distractions make the situation worse. The lack of sleep exacerbates the anxiety levels causing a vicious cycle where no one ends as the clear winner at the end.
How does cognitive distortion figure in?
When you anticipate that something would go wrong even if it has not occurred yet is a form of cognitive distortion. When people are anxious their minds are clouded with negative thoughts causing them to get less sleep. Less sleep means that the parts of the brain that are responsible for the emotions get more excited. This will lead to a situation where the mind becomes more anxious than ever. There are people lying and unable to get some sleep and feel debilitated because of the inability to switch off the unwanted thought and just go to sleep.
Anxiety is one tough customer but it can be beaten. There are lots of therapies and natural techniques that you can use to cope with it. It is important that you see your doctor if the insomnia has become prolonged so they can figure out the best treatment and put you to a sound sleep.