Anxiety is one of the most common problems that has been bothering many people lately. But, unfortunately, we experience it periodically, and people can suffer from many anxiety-related disorders.
Having anxiety from time to time is an integral part of life. Anxiety is a natural response to stress and worries about the future. For example, you might feel anxious if you have to make an important decision or have problems at work or in your private life. However, this type of anxiety is usually temporary.
On the other hand, anxiety disorder is more severe and more complicated. The feelings of fear and being stressed out and worried are much more intense and don’t go away quickly. In fact, they are with you all the time, even when you don’t have a good reason to feel like that. As a result, you want to avoid all the social activities, and even the simplest daily tasks may seem difficult.
Whether you’re fighting with anxiety occasionally or continuously, it’s probably common for you to have trouble with anxiety at night.
In the following paragraphs, we will find out what the symptoms of anxiety can be, what causes anxiety at night, how to properly manage it, and how CBD can help. But before that, let’s learn more about anxiety disorder.
What is anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental health conditions nowadays and can affect anyone at any age. It affects people both emotionally and physically. Emotionally, people experience intense feelings of constant worry and fear disproportional to the situation. These feelings are persistent, happening on most days over six months. Physically, anxiety can cause fast breathing and heart beating, tense muscle, fatigue, sweating, trembling, and gastrointestinal distress.
Anxiety disorder can strongly interfere with normal functioning, interrupting personal and professional activities. Sometimes it may seem like you’re out of control over your emotions and situations. Also, it often happens that anxiety occurs alongside depression or other mental health ailments.
Many people with anxiety disorder try to avoid any situation that can increase their feeling of anxiety, going so far that they don’t even leave home. However, anxiety disorder requires proper treatment; otherwise, it will worsen, leading to other health conditions.
It’s complicated to determine what causes anxiety disorder. Anxiety can be caused by a mental or physical condition or even by another medical condition. However, it’s probably a combination of factors such as:
Genetics – someone who has a family member with an anxiety disorder is more likely to experience one themself.
Brain chemistry – psychologists claim that many anxiety disorders are caused by misalignments of hormones and electrical signals in the brain
Environmental factors – stress at work or school, relationship problems, family issues, financial problems, stress from unpredictable or uncertain world events, etc.
Medical factors – the symptoms of a different disease, the side effects of a medication, or stress caused by intensive surgery or prolonged recovery
Drug usage – the effects of drugs might cause or intensify the feeling of anxiety.
The symptoms of anxiety disorder
Everyone experiences anxiety differently. There are a lot of symptoms that can occur at any time of the day or night. Common symptoms of anxiety include nervousness, disturbance, fear or worry, trouble falling asleep or sleeping normally, problems focusing, and gastrointestinal issues.
Anxiety is a core element of various disorders, although they are not classified strictly as anxiety disorders. However, the following conditions are usually determined like types of anxiety disorder, and the symptoms mainly depend on what type you have.
There are six major types of anxiety disorder:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – People with GAD have significant, looming worries about many different things that can cause an overarching sense of anxiety.
People with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) often have excessive anxiety or worry about numerous things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday life circumstances. Fear and anxiety can cause significant problems in social interactions, school, and work.
The symptoms of GAD include restlessness, vulnerability, being easily fatigued, difficulties concentrating, muscle tension, irritability, sleep problems, and being out-of-control over feelings.
Panic disorder – people with this disorder experience panic attacks – extremely intense episodes of fear that usually last for a few minutes. Panic attacks can occur unexpectedly or can be triggered by something.
During a panic attack, people can experience: increased heart rate or pain in the chest, sweating, chills, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath, smothering or choking, dizziness, feelings of losing control, a sense of impending doom, feelings like nothing is real.
People with panic disorder are often worried about future attacks and the time of their occurrence, so they try to prevent them by avoiding places, situations, or behaviors they associate with panic attacks. But, unfortunately, all that worry can lead to different problems in a person’s life.
There is a possibility to experience a nocturnal (nighttime) panic attack which is referred to as waking up from sleep because of having a panic attack. It has the same signs and symptoms as regular panic attacks.
Social Anxiety Disorder – an extreme fear of social situations and embarrassment caused by potential adverse reactions and evaluation of one’s behavior.
Specific phobia – an intense fear or intense anxiety caused by particular objects or situations disproportional to the actual danger. The most common specific phobias are agoraphobia (a fear of open or enclosed spaces, being in a crowd, or being outside of the home alone), separation anxiety (fear of being separated from people to whom they’re attached), hypochondria (fear of illness), flying, heights, specific animals, injections, or blood.
People who have a phobia actively try to avoid feared objects or situations and have irrational worries about encountering them since they experience immediate anxiety.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – people with OCD have reoccurring, uncontrollable, and disturbing thoughts or mental images (obsessions) that cause intensive anxiety. In an attempt to eliminate that anxiety, they ritually repeat certain behaviors or actions (compulsions) that directly impact their everyday activities.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – This condition can appear after a person experiences emotional trauma by being exposed to a painful or disturbing situation. Also, after that, the person may relive the stressful event, feel on edge, and have potentially debilitating anxiety.
Now that we have determined what anxiety disorder is and when we have found out what the symptoms could be let’s see what provokes anxiety specifically at night.
What causes anxiety at night?
As we have already mentioned, anxiety can occur at any time. Yet, it is very common to experience it at night, before you go to sleep, or to wake up in the middle of the night having an anxiety attack. But what is the cause?
There are many reasons why your anxiety may be worse at night. For example, daily stressors, poor sleep habits, and other health conditions can lead to increased anxiety and panic attacks at night. On the other hand, it’s not always necessary to suffer from anxiety disorder to experience anxiety at night and be unable to sleep. For instance, you can feel a little anxious if you are bothered with personal or professional life activities such as a job interview, school test, wedding, or something else.
Anxiety and sleep disorders can be connected as they can affect each other. If you suffer from a sleep disorder and can’t get proper rest, you will become stressed and anxious at the moment or the day after, which will impact your everyday life. Then again, if you’re feeling extremely anxious, there is no way to fall asleep. You are caught in this cycle of anxiety and sleep disruption, which has devastating effects on your mental and physical health.
So, now you know what might be the cause and how disorders can be connected. Let’s find out how to calm your anxiety at night.
Anxiety management: how to calm anxiety at night?
Calming anxiety can be very challenging, especially if you have been battling it for a long time. If you don’t get quality sleep, you won’t function as well, and all life activities will be affected negatively. Therefore, you need to break the cycle of anxiety and unhappiness.
You might want to consider psychotherapy if you have been struggling with anxiety for more than one month or if the feelings are incredibly intense. For example, Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you change the way you think and perceive things. It can be very effective in anxiety and sleep disorder treatment because it teaches people to identify anxious thinking and correct it.
Although the medications can be helpful, too, they have temporary effects and can cause side effects.
So, along with the therapy or medications, you can try some of the proven ways to prevent anxiety attacks or to calm anxiety the moment it hits.
Meditation and calming techniques
Many relaxation techniques can help you calm your mind before bed and improve sleep. For example, meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises can help you relax, reduce stress and increase inner peace. When unpleasant thought appears, some people who meditate use a mantra or count breaths to manage anxiety. If you practice these calming techniques during the day or in the evening, it will be easier to fall asleep and possibly not to feel anxious at night. Meditation will help you control your thoughts, address the negative ones, and not take them as seriously.
Regular exercise can help you to manage anxiety and relax your body. It reduces stress and causes the release of endorphins and GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms your mind. As a result, exercise can both reduce anxiousness and improve sleep. However, keep in mind not to exercise before you’re about to sleep as it will keep you awake.
It’s proven that music therapy has a beneficial impact on the human brain, provoking relaxation of both mind and body, improving sleep. Calming and pleasant music or soundtracks of nature (like rain or waves) will soothe your mind and distract you from anxious thoughts and worries that are keeping you awake.
If you are more likely to use natural remedies in the healing process or you are about to give it a shot, the following would be suitable for you.
For example, chamomile tea is known for its various health benefits. One of its properties is calming nervousness and tension. Drink it a couple of times during the day and before you go to sleep. Also, a few drops of a valerian tincture in water or tea can help you soothe the tension and calm yourself. The smell of lavender can also be helpful to lessen stress.
CBD (cannabidiol) products such as CBD oil, CBD gummies, or CBD capsules are proven to be very effective in fighting several ailments like anxiety, depression, sleep disorder, arthritis, allergies, pain, etc. They show a tremendously beneficial impact on people with anxiety as CBD has significant calming characteristics. People claim they experienced “total mind and body calmness” after consuming some of the CBD products. CBD also helps with sleep disorders that can come along with anxiety.
CBD is one of the cannabinoids, compounds that come from hemp plants. Hemp is one of the species of Cannabis Sativa plant, and unlike marijuana, hemp is almost THC free, so it can’t make you “high” and therefore affect your mental clarity. Accordingly, CBD products are legal.
So, how does CBD work when it comes to anxiety?
How can CBD calm anxiety at night and help you fall asleep?
Anxiety disorder represents the absence of homeostasis. Homeostasis is a biological term referring to the internal health balance of the body. So how can CBD calm that anxiety bringing the balance back?
CBD works by feeding your endocannabinoid system (ECS), a part of the immune system. The ECS is responsible for regulating biological functions (such as mood, memory, immunity), keeping the body healthy. It consists of endocannabinoids, enzymes, and receptors that attract cannabinoids. CBD can induce homeostasis naturally by binding to those receptors, strengthening the immune system, and helping the body fight ailments more naturally.
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