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Why does anxiety cause insomnia?

23 Answers
Last Updated: 03/02/2021 at 3:34pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lindsay Scheinerman, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My work with clients is to help them recognize and build on their strengths to find solutions for the conflicts presented in their lives.

Top Rated Answers
April 23rd, 2015 4:10am
Anxiety makes your mind wander and go on and on, picturing scenarios and worrying about all kinds of stuff. Your mind has to be calm, or at least quiet, for you to go to bed. Sometimes your thoughts just cloud your mind and you can't concentrate on sleeping. At least that's how it is for me, anyway.
June 18th, 2015 2:19am
Symptoms of anxiety often include increased adrenaline, loss of appetite, sweating, and restlessness. All of these are factors that make it more difficult to get to sleep as you'd imagine. Alone in bed, people will think, thinking may trigger anxiety, anxiety triggers adrenaline, and adrenaline triggers lack of sleep. Also, sometimes people with anxiety will feel unsafe, and it's very hard to sleep when one feels unsafe.
January 25th, 2016 12:21am
Anxiety causes insomnia because of constant thoughts. Your mind will work really hard, overthinking, because that's what anxiety makes it do. And when you're overthinking, you won't get to sleep, because your mind keeps throwing "what if"s at you. It can be tough, but don't worry!
May 6th, 2015 3:18am
The brain and body can't fall asleep if anxious and not calm. It's too stimulating. So anxiety prevents us from being able to fall asleep.
May 24th, 2015 5:03am
Anxiety can cause insomnia because when you have anxiety or a panic attack, your thoughts are basically going crazy, at least that's how it is for me. When I have anxiety, I get shaky too, and that can stop me from sleeping. It could also be because of the state of panic you are put in when you have an anxiety or panic attack; your body could be forcing you to not sleep as it still believes it is in danger.
January 25th, 2015 2:48pm
Anxiety causes insomnia because all you can think about is the problem and anxiety you are having, every second of the day it's tearing at you and that's all you can think about while you lay in your bed.
July 11th, 2016 12:55pm
Anxiety affects everyone differently, sometimes anxiety causes people to feel overwhelmed and exhausted and sometimes it's the opposite of that. Sometimes anxiety causes us to feel like our minds are running a hundred miles an hour and like we can't slow down or sleep or stop thinking. It affects us all differently. If your anxiety causes insomnia try helpful relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga or writing. Try establishing a bedtime routine and putting plans in place for when your mind starts going back to that place where it won't calm down. The more you face this problem head on the easier it will be to deal with over time.
February 12th, 2018 10:23pm
In my experience, anxiety causes restlessness. That entails that my heart is pounding and I feel like I can't sit still and I am very irritable. I cannot say for sure which is it in regards to insomnia, but it had caused sleeping trouble for me.
August 10th, 2020 8:52am
When we are trapped in a negative self-talk loop, our fears are fuelled and our anxieties go skyrocketing. Our thoughts affect our moods, desires, feelings, attitudes and behaviours more than we realise. Uncontrolled thoughts are could lead to insomnia, eating disorders and trigger severe depression. Therefore in order to beat insomnia, we first need to regulate our thoughts. Limit your thoughts to only a few positive thoughts before bedtime and do not take any caffeine or alcohol 2-3hrs before sleep. For acute insomnia, it might be good to seek professional help. Otherwise try to stay active during the day, nourish yourself with balanced meals and control your thoughts using Mindfulness/Meditation.Establish a regular sleeping time so that your body is calm and ready for rest. Sleep is critical for our well-being and its something very important for improving the quality of our lives.
February 15th, 2015 11:37pm
Anxiety keeps the mind awake and running, sometimes without being able to even pinpoint your thoughts or organize them in a coherent fashion. It doesn't allow for our bodies or minds to relax and enjoy the calmness that allows for us to drift into sleep. It can make us restless and the feeling of being overwhelmed isn't cohesive with the feeling our bodies need to be able to sleep.
March 26th, 2015 10:45am
Physical and mental aspects. | Physical - Racing heart or beats that skip; body temperature changes; body aches, such as in the neck, shoulders, lower back, etc. | Mental - Racing thoughts; feelings of doom, irritation/frustration, anger, hopelessness, depression, etc.
April 22nd, 2015 1:54am
In my case I stay up all night thinking about the things causing my anxiety. Worrying about what ever it is and never being able to shut your thoughts up. It can get out of control
April 24th, 2015 4:40am
Yes, sleeplessness is a common syndrome which is caused due to anxiety. Lack of sleep can affect your health adversely.
June 7th, 2015 12:40pm
Anxiety causes insomnia because of all the thoughts that are flying around your brain. It makes it difficult to sleep when your brain is working at 800 thoughts a second. One of the things you can do is to try meditating. I've found that it definitely helps.
June 22nd, 2015 12:45pm
Anxiety can cause racing thoughts and panic attacks among other things. At night when you are laying in bed is the perfect time for the anxiety to surface and start making you have all or nothing type of thoughts, this in turn makes it very and for you to turn off and sleep.
February 29th, 2016 6:56am
Not being an expert on anxiety myself, I'll have a bit of trouble answering this one. Anxiety (from my view) Is worrying, correct me if I'm wrong. Worrying too much can lead to trouble sleeping.
March 28th, 2016 6:26pm
Anxiety means you constantly feel worried about the things happening around you. Sometimes, when you try to sleep, all those negative feelings come rushing back and your brain ends up over working itself, which means loss of sleep.
May 9th, 2016 5:13pm
In my experience and what i have learned while dealing with anxiety is that our minds don't normally shut down completely like they should, resulting in difficulty sleeping among other things.
June 14th, 2016 8:17am
sleep comes when your calm down comfortable and when your depressed anxious where can the sleep come then you keep thinking about the problem or fear
July 9th, 2018 2:35am
Anxiety usually causes your mind to be all over the place, which makes sleeping quite a difficult task.
January 12th, 2021 8:23pm
When you begin to sleep, your mind begins to recycle its thoughts from the days and build upon them. In other words, your mind is very active when trying to fall asleep because the only other thing on your focus is the act itself of falling asleep. This is one of the very few times in which we are truly alone with our thoughts and because of this our anxiety can become overwhelming. As it is difficult to concentrate on anything when anxious, it is very difficult to sleep as well. You begin to develop further anxiety about anxiety you have due to the lack of sleep you are receiving and you are stuck in a futile cycle.
February 22nd, 2021 12:00pm
Anxiety causes insomnia because when you have something on your mind it’s very difficult to turn your mind off. You go into fight or flight patterns and you can’t stop your thoughts. It’s decreases over time as you change your thoughts and figure out plans to resolve the issues that are causing anxiety. Sometimes you need to white knuckle it through the anxiety until you calm down. Anxiety can cause reactions in your body like heart palpitations and can create bad behaviors such as smoking and drinking and impulsive behaviors. It’s challenging to control anxiety. Things like exercise and eating well and sleeping well is very helpful. It’s important to choose healthy behaviors to resolve your anxiety
March 2nd, 2021 3:34pm
I have found that anxiety causes insomnia because I can't get my brain to shut off. When I'm laying in bed, I find that gives my brain the most room to wander and postulate "What if?" that can spiral into crazy scenarios that I know will never happen, but I still have anxiety about. Even the smallest anxiety can seem impossibly large when alone with your thoughts. I have found the best way to cope with this is to meditate before bed, as that allows me to practice shutting off my brain and only focusing on calmer thoughts and ideas.