What is sleep anxiety? Simply, it is the fear and worry generated by your own insomnia that, in turn, causes you to stay awake even more. It is responsible for the vicious endless cycle of sleeplessness that makes life so miserable for so many.
Not all people with chronic insomnia suffer from serious sleep anxiety. Some don’t seem to be affected.
Others may have it mildly, but are unaware of how big a role it can have on their wakefulness. Most insomniacs are fully aware they have this condition but don’t know what to do about it or how to deal with it. That is why I have devoted a whole section to this frustrating state of mind.
If you have sleep anxiety, it means you worry about your insomnia. In fact, you might even obsess about it.
- You worry about how much sleep you got last night.
- Then you worry about how much you’re going to get tonight.
- Next, you worry about feeling tired during the day and not being able to function properly from your exhaustion.
You might also worry about getting sick because you’ve read or heard that sleep deprivation can cause health problems. You also worry about never getting over your insomnia. You might be convinced that this is a permanent problem. A future of chronic insomnia and always feeling tired and miserable looms over you like a dark cloud.
Insomnia is a Paradox.
Let me repeat that – insomnia is a paradox. The more you worry and obsess over it, the worse it gets. Sleep anxiety is the biggest paradox of all. It goes like this: First, we are awake. Then we worry about being awake. This actually prevents us from getting the rest we desire and feel we need so much.
So what are we doing?
We are staying awake most of the night worrying about the fact that we aren’t sleeping.
As you well know if you have it yourself, this paradox makes it literally impossible to fall asleep. It actually prevents us doing the very thing we so desperately want to do.
There are two things you need to understand about sleep anxiety…
First, it is a habit of thinking. You have grown accustomed to worrying about your sleep, and like everything else, the more you do something, the better you get at it. If you keep it up, you get to be a real expert!
This is true for all kinds of worrying, obsessing, and feeling anxious. It’s just a habit you’ve developed, a real expertise from years of continuous practice… just like if you were a wonderful pianist because you practiced everyday, or a great bricklayer, because day after day, year after year, you practiced your trade.
The second thing you need to understand is that sleep anxiety is a habit that you can change.
So many people believe they can’t change their habits of thinking and feeling and believing, but this is simply untrue. The idea that we can’t change causes more misery than we can imagine.
OK, now let’s talk about how to get rid of it – for good!
So just how do we change our frustrating habit? It’s not that hard, but it does take some time. The best way is to use cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT methods combined with a relaxation techniques.
You can learn how to get rid of sleep anxiety in the self-help tutorial.
You can also try out the “cure for worry” system, using your sleep and health concerns as your “worry” material.
…And while you’re at it, this article on how to sleep better using two simple mental concepts might be very helpful!