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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is anxiety affecting my sleep?

    I work in a fast-paced stressful environment and feel that I am constantly think about what needs to get done the next day. I find it difficult sleeping at night because I worry, toss and turn. I want to feel relaxed so I can sleep. What can I do?
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    Marianne has 15 years private practice experience providing psychological services to people for depression, anxiety, substance use, trauma, life changes, parenting, post natal depression, physical … View Profile

    One of the most significant things that affects sleep is anxiety, and it's worrying. Anxiety by definition is fear of the future. The mind projects into the future. It may be just worrying about not getting enough sleep, or it may be worrying about what's going to happen tomorrow in the morning or the next day or even in the weeks ahead. We know the importance of quality of sleep. Having a good night's sleep helps us to deal with life issues most effectively, so doing something about it is essential.

    Some simple strategies are putting aside some time every evening to actually validate whatever you're worrying about and writing a worry diary. I recommend peopling that if worries pop up during the day, validate them and recognise them. Almost accept that they're present so that you get out of the feeling of struggling and give yourself time out, letting yourself relax. Something helpful is learning mindfulness meditation, which helps you to focus more in present time so that the mind learns to be here now and not so easily jump into the future.
    Certainly, learn some good sleep strategies like getting up at the same time every morning and reducing caffeine will help. A person prone to worry and anxiety can be very affected by any stimulant, and caffeine will certainly do that. A person who has a worrying mind needs to acknowledge that it's a learned behavior and getting some professional help is very important because or it can get worse.

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