Sleeping Well During Anxious Times

Posted by John, Volunteer Mentor @johnbishop, Sun, Apr 5 3:02pm

I’ve been using a CPAP machine for almost 2 years now and I still find myself struggling to get what I think is a good nights sleep. I know it’s been worse lately since COVID-19 has been with us. I’m retired but my wife, son and daughter still are working and it does give me cause for concern which I’m sure every person shares with their families. I know that anxiety and stress can make any health condition worse so I started doing a little research to find some information that might be helpful. Here is an article I found on the SleepFoundation.Org website with some tips that I’ve been using that I thought I would share.

How Does Anxiety Affect Sleep? — https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-does-anxiety-affect-sleep

Do you have any tips that help you sleep well?

@johnbishop As a lifelong lousy sleeper, I feel your frustration. Quite a few years ago, I decided my body and mind weren't likely to change so I changed my attitude. Just like everyone looks, eats, thinks, walks differently, so it is with sleep.
So as I look at my sleep over time using my fitbit, I see that I sleep well for maybe the first hour, then wake and am restless for an hour, another hour or so of good sleep…. Now if I see 4 solid hours out of 8 on my monitor, I call it good.
The second thing is, the more I move between 8am and 8pm, the better I sleep. Unfortunately, screen time doesn't count, in fact probably makes it worse.
And, as a science nerd I have never been a believer in aromatherapy, but lavender essential oil on pulse points at bedtime seems to help. Again, the sleep monitor shows a difference on the nights I forget…
Finally, when people my age tell me they don't sleep as well as they used to, I ask "What about everything else?" 'Cause I can't run or work or remember or…like 30 years ago either. About the only thing I'm better at is worrying, and I'm trying to get over that.
Stay calm and stay safe.
Sue

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@johnbishop Would that I did have suggestions. I no longer stress about my lack of quality sleep. Is what it is and trying different things was doing more harm than good for this poor sleeper. Is what it is and as frustrating as it can be it is part of how I am wired. Accepting thus has helped more than anything even though I am still lacking the quality sleep I would like to have.
How is that for circle talk??

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@johnbishop @sueinmn – My sleep is definitely affected by this stress. I had finally fine tuned my sleep when this waking started. I used to need CPAP but for the past year I don’t need it. I lost 40 lbs- somehow it worked. I also used to get anxieties at bedtime- all worries show up then! I now take a small amount of clonazepam at bedtime.
Now I get up, walk around the house, get a snack maybe and read a bit. Annoying! I also have my Fitbit telling the story. There is absolutely nothing else worrying me. I get my walks in too.
Anyway , this will pass. I hope.

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Thanks for the info and for sharing. I also am a CPAP user and I thought I'd never get used to having it. I still sometimes have trouble accepting it. Add to this a [high degree of work stress/anxiety], and the current pandemic response, and it makes for less and less good sleep.

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@astaingegerdm

@johnbishop @sueinmn – My sleep is definitely affected by this stress. I had finally fine tuned my sleep when this waking started. I used to need CPAP but for the past year I don’t need it. I lost 40 lbs- somehow it worked. I also used to get anxieties at bedtime- all worries show up then! I now take a small amount of clonazepam at bedtime.
Now I get up, walk around the house, get a snack maybe and read a bit. Annoying! I also have my Fitbit telling the story. There is absolutely nothing else worrying me. I get my walks in too.
Anyway , this will pass. I hope.

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"…all worries show up then…" Yep.

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Hello,
I have had anxiety all my life. I have been sleeping better with the Cpap machine which I have only been using for about 3 months now. I still have anxiety, however what helps me is know that I am human and every night I may not sleep as well as others. What I have done to help though is I try to get exercise everyday even if it’s just a walk, reading Especially at night, Eating fruits and vegetables also helps me to fall asleep ,a nice warm shower or bath

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@johnbishop I have always had trouble sleeping if there is anything on my mind at all, and of course there always is. I try concentrating on my breathing and that helps a little bit, probably because it takes my mind away from any concerns I am having, if I can keep it focused on breathing.

@sueinmn I used to have a Misfit tracker and that also kept track of my sleep. My Apple watch does not. It really did demonstrate why I was so tired all of the time.
I have tried a lavender spray on my pillow but it did not help. I also use lavender hand cream at night but that doesn't seem to help me either.
JK

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I've been sleeping terrible for the last 7 weeks.

I got sick (fever & wet cough) 8 weeks ago but apparently I'm now clear. CRP showed no infection. Doctor thinks it might have been the Coronavirus.

Since I got sick I've been sleeping absolutely terrible. Doctor thinks it's all anxiety. They checked my lungs twice including this week and said it was all fine. Trouble is I can't sleep more than 2 hours a time. Often I wake up and I feel I'm breathing quite fast. Also some days I wake up at for example 2am and can't go back to sleep until 4-5am, even then I sleep for one hour at a time.

Also I'm constantly dreaming. One dream follows another. I can even remember most of the dreams quite clearly.

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@mkqq

I've been sleeping terrible for the last 7 weeks.

I got sick (fever & wet cough) 8 weeks ago but apparently I'm now clear. CRP showed no infection. Doctor thinks it might have been the Coronavirus.

Since I got sick I've been sleeping absolutely terrible. Doctor thinks it's all anxiety. They checked my lungs twice including this week and said it was all fine. Trouble is I can't sleep more than 2 hours a time. Often I wake up and I feel I'm breathing quite fast. Also some days I wake up at for example 2am and can't go back to sleep until 4-5am, even then I sleep for one hour at a time.

Also I'm constantly dreaming. One dream follows another. I can even remember most of the dreams quite clearly.

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Hello @mkqq, I'm sorry to hear you've been having trouble sleeping. You mentioned the doctors think it's all anxiety. How do you feel about that? I think it might relax me a little but then I can understand how it's easy to worry about the diagnosis. Did they give you any suggestions to help with the sleeping? Here's something I found that may give some ideas…

Tips for beating anxiety to get a better night’s sleep — https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/tips-for-a-better-nights-sleep

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@mkqq

I've been sleeping terrible for the last 7 weeks.

I got sick (fever & wet cough) 8 weeks ago but apparently I'm now clear. CRP showed no infection. Doctor thinks it might have been the Coronavirus.

Since I got sick I've been sleeping absolutely terrible. Doctor thinks it's all anxiety. They checked my lungs twice including this week and said it was all fine. Trouble is I can't sleep more than 2 hours a time. Often I wake up and I feel I'm breathing quite fast. Also some days I wake up at for example 2am and can't go back to sleep until 4-5am, even then I sleep for one hour at a time.

Also I'm constantly dreaming. One dream follows another. I can even remember most of the dreams quite clearly.

Jump to this post

@mkqq I have somewhat similar problems with sleeping, although recently it has not been as bad. These days the worst for me is that I get up at @6:30 to take my medications and then can't get back to sleep — I tend to go to bed late so I want to sleep at least until 7:30. It may sound as if the solution is to go to bed earlier but that hasn't worked for me. When I go to bed earlier I lie in bed awake and end up falling asleep later than I would if I had delayed my bedtime.
I have gotten a little help from melatonin, 3mg, which is better than nothing. I have also tried most of the things in the link that @johnbishop provided.
If it is anxiety, perhaps your doctor can give you a small prescription for lorazepam (Ativan). It is habit-forming or addicting, but my PCP gives me a very small prescription for it, 10 .5mg, maximum once a month but I generally go for two months. He says if you have a few nights of sleeplessness that can help to break the cycle or at least let you have one night of good sleep. I never use it for consecutive nights due to its addicting possibilities. Only your doctor can decide if it's right for you. I don't think it's good to take anything on a regular basis, not even melatonin though.
JK

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