Tension occurs when your mind projects into the future and perceives a hypothetical situation as threatening. Prolonged tension not only affects your mind, but also manifests symptoms in your body. One variation of tension is sleep unease. Have you ever found yourself dreading going to bed at night? You may be experiencing sleep unease. If this concept is new to you, we have all the information here as well as some methods to assist those dealing with the issue.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Pavana S, Consultant Psychiatrist, Bangalore, to gain insight into managing sleep unease. “Sleep unease, another term for Somniphobia or anxiety related to sleep, is a condition in which an individual experiences heightened feelings of fear, stress, or apprehension about the act of sleeping,” he explains.
What is sleep anxiety?
In the domain of mental well-being, sleep unease can impact your health, affecting both the quality of sleep and overall psychological well-being. Individuals with sleep unease often struggle to maintain sleep due to ongoing worries and concerns. They can experience fear during the sleep process, persistent worry and overthinking, and difficulty unwinding, all of which can affect daily life. These feelings may be associated with night terrors, and these issues can lead to chronic insomnia, resulting in other underlying mental health conditions such as depression and tension.
How to cope with sleep unease?
Let’s explore effective methods for those grappling with sleep unease.
1. Establish a regular sleep pattern
Encourage individuals to set a consistent sleep routine. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends, helps regulate the body’s internal clock, according to Dr Pavana S, as reported by Health Shots.
2. Develop a soothing bedtime ritual
Consider including calming activities before bedtime, like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or doing gentle stretching. These rituals signal to the body that it’s time to sleep.
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3. Restrict stimulants before bedtime
“Avoid consuming stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. These can hinder the ability to fall asleep and contribute to increased unease,” states the expert.
4. Mindfulness meditation and deep breathing
Try incorporating mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing exercises into your daily routine to shift focus away from anxious thoughts and encourage a relaxed state conducive to sleep.
5. Cultivate a comfortable sleep environment
“Create an environment suitable for sleeping—cool, dark, and quiet. Investing in a comfortable mattress and pillows can notably improve sleep quality,” advises the expert.
6. Limit screen time before bed
Discourage the use of electronic devices before bedtime. The blue light from screens can disrupt the production of melatonin, a hormone crucial for regulating sleep.
7. Regular exercise regimen
“Encourage regular physical activity as it can contribute to better sleep. However, recommend against vigorous exercise close to bedtime,” advises the expert.
Regular physical activity can induce feelings of fatigue that can promote sound sleep. Additionally, exercise is also known to stimulate the release of feel-good hormones in the body, further assisting in reducing bodily tension levels.
Treatment plan for addressing sleep unease
When sleep unease persists, a comprehensive treatment plan may involve therapeutic intervention. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) has shown effectiveness in addressing the underlying factors contributing to sleep unease. This therapeutic approach focuses on modifying thoughts and behaviors that disrupt sleep.
In some instances, medications may be considered, such as sedative-hypnotics or anti-anxiety medications. However, the use of medication should be approached cautiously, and individuals should be closely monitored for potential side effects and dependency, as per the expert’s advice.
In conclusion, addressing sleep unease involves a combined approach of lifestyle adjustments, behavioral changes, and, when needed, professional guidance. By tailoring strategies to individual needs, we can guide our patients toward restful nights and overall improved well-being.