Anxiety caused insomnia

Q:  “For the past few weeks I’ve had increased anxiety and nighttime panic attacks.  I have lost a lot of sleep as a result, and feel exhausted now.  What can I do?”

As usual, getting to the root of the problem should help restore your sleep.  In your case, you’ve identified the root.  So you’re already ahead.

Learning to better manage anxiety will help you.  Anxiety is something we all have, we all manage to some degree, some of us are better managing it than others.  But rest assured there are proven ways to help yourself do this.

One effective method involves identifying the recurring negative thought patterns that underlie and contribute to anxiety.  These thought patterns are typically associated with intensely negative emotions, like shame, guilt, fear, and so forth.

These negative thought patterns are also typically distorted, overblown, excessively pessimistic, and an inaccurate representation of reality.  They are ripe to be restructured.  Doing so is one good way to manage anxiety, which in turn will help improve sleep.

Learning how to relax in bed will also help.  Relaxation methods, such as progressive muscle relaxation and deep diaphragmatic breathing, will help you get drowsy.  While we can’t force or will ourselves to sleep, we can help ourselves get drowsy.  And drowsy is stage one sleep, which is your pathway to the deeper and more restorative stages of sleep.

No doubt getting good exercise will also help you sleep.  The body responds to vigorous physical exercise by increasing the amount of deep sleep, the most restorative kind.  Vigorous exercise also leads to a natural release of endorphins into your bloodstream, a potent counter to the blues of anxiety.  The beneficial good effects of exercise can last for hours.

For a long term solution, avoid drugs or artificial sleep aids, at least until you’ve tried more conservative methods, such as CBT-based sleep training.   CBT is a natural, completely drug-free approach that helps most people who try it.

For more information on CBT-based sleep training, or if you have a question about sleep, feel free to contact us.

Explore posts in the same categories: Depression, Health, Insomnia, sleep

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6 Comments on “Anxiety caused insomnia”


  1. […] there is no identifiable medical basis causing the sleep problems.  A very common form is known as psychophysiological insomnia, characterized by excessive worry about the idea of sleep.  Literally millions of people suffer […]


  2. […] Anxiety is often one of the biggest culprits in primary insomnia.  Anxiety is often caused by recurring patterns of negative thoughts, like the ones you are experiencing.  These recurring thought patterns are often inextricably linked to intensely negative emotions, like shame, guilt, fear, hatred, and envy.  They are often ingrained and automatic, and may occur near or just beneath our level of conscious awareness. […]


  3. […] professional help for this is not a sign of weakness.  It is a sign of strength.  By doing so, you will benefit and so will your […]


  4. […] chronic stress and excessive anxiety are two major culprits of insomnia, along with bad sleep habits.  CBT for sleep will help you […]


  5. […] normal, we all experience them to some degree.  To sleep better, try to identify and address the recurring negative thought patterns that underlie anxiety.  You can also help manage stress by understanding the situations that […]


  6. […] In the meantime, try to let go the worry, which only tends to fuel insomnia. […]


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