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Anxiety keeps me up at night
SplashofWorry posted:
This past month I think I haven't got more than 2 hours of full sleep ill wake up maybe every hour and a half and take an hour to half an hour to go back to sleep. I noticed that my panic attacks have been more frequent and the anxiety keeps me awake most the night. So aside from the fact that I cant go to sleep I can't STAY alsleep. My mother has talked to me about going to a pharmacy to see what kind of natural medicine we could find to make me sleep. Is there anything out there that you've noticed helps you sleep? Perferbly someone with Anxiety/Panic attacks. Have yall found something that helps you go to sleep or stay asleep? All advice and reccomendations are appreciated.

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Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
Sleep, as you well know, is so important that we need to get at least an average of 7 hours a night. You, obviously, are not getting nearly enough and the lack of sleep begins a vicious cycle of anxiety that can only make your panic worse. So sleep is extremely important for you right now.

I know this is something you already know, but I just wanted to let you know that the reason you may be having more problems now is that the cycle has begun and it has to be broken.

I am not an M.D., and I do not recommend anything OTC, but I do know that there are things that may be helpful to you. On my website I have a Sleep page that has links to resources that will provide information on sleep to you. One of the things that they do recommend is that you abide by what is known as "sleep hygiene." By that they mean a number of things that will contribute to your getting better quality sleep. I know, in your case, this means getting more sleep than you have been getting recently. Please take a look at what they are recommending.

Sleep medications are not something that should be taken lightly and are generally only taken for short periods of time because they can present problems when taken on a regular basis. I am not, therefore, indicating that this would be something for you to consider.

Lifestyle changes, too, are something that needs to be considered because what you do during the day affects how you will be able to or not be able to go to sleep at night. Stress reduction, of course, is something that must be considered and one thing that you can do regarding this is simple, regular mild to moderate exercise. Of course, you should check with your physician because you need to know whether or not there are any medical conditions that could be causing your current sleep difficulty.

Also, please take a look at our Tips column, watch the relaxation breathing video tutorial and begin to use that exercise on a regular basis.

I hope things do improve for you shortly and that you do begin to get the sleep that you need.

Dr. Farrell
StudyGuru248 responded:
Hi!! I have OCD and panic attacks. I struggle with falling and staying asleep. My therapist recommended that I do something tactile each night before going to bed. Such activities help you feel in control, while panic attacks, as you know, makes you feel like everything is out of control. I would recommend seeing a psychiatrist and/or therapist to discuss this situation. I hope this helps!!
want2smilenow responded:
I have GAD too. Sleep has always been a problem for me with a million thoughts racing through my mind when I want to sleep. My therapist recommended listening to a MP3 player at bedtime. Play some soothing music or a meditation type music
to relax you. Or read a book till you feel tired. I don't have a MP3 player but use a regular portable/handheld CD player with headphones and listen to a meditation CD I bought. It really works and it is like a little "me" time that you can give yourself. Those few moments of pure relaxation for yourself at bedtime on a regular basis can do wonders.

If you find that does not work for you, then I recommend Valerian Root or Melatonin. Both are natural remedies but you have to ask your doctor first that they don't interfere with the medications you are currently taking, if any. The both naturally relax your body and you fall asleep and stay asleep but not like a zombie....just really relaxed.

I also personally use Clonazepam to sleep on occasion although it is an addictive type of drug, it is not generally recommended to use for long term sleep issues.

My doctor also prescribed Trazadone to take with me regular anti depressant but to use it only at bedtime. It is quite effective but again it is not a natural remedy.

Baths before bedtime sometimes work too. Making yourself a priority before you go to bed, and making the time to create little rituals of healthy wind down time is always important. Family members generally see the importance in allowing you this wind down time so that you can get proper sleep, because afterall, if you don't feel good from no sleep you will be no good to anyone else in the family. It's your health we are speaking of here. No one wants another to feel bad all the time.

I hope these few tips help you like they did me. Good luck!

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