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What is Sleep Anxiety and How Can You Prevent It

Getting decent quality sleep can be difficult at the best of times, especially when you’re regularly woken up by kids, work shifts or have a busy lifestyle that makes it difficult to switch off. All of these are frustrating but what if anxiety is stopping you from falling asleep in the first place? And what if the cause of that anxiety is sleep itself?

What is Sleep Anxiety?

It might sound odd, but sleep anxiety is a real and recognised phenomenon. It’s usually described as a fear, worry or apprehension about falling asleep and being able to stay asleep. We’ve all experienced this at some point during our life. You know those times when you can’t sleep at night or wake up in the middle of it. The more you glance at your clock, calculating how long you have left, the more you worry about not getting enough sleep and guess what? It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and you remain awake, desperately wishing you weren’t! Well imagine how much that’s magnified if it happens every single night.

Why Do I Have Sleep Anxiety?

Sleep anxiety can occur for several reasons. It might be because something bad has happened during the night in the past, like a death in the family or a burglary so your mind wants to remain alert. If someone sleepwalks, or experiences nightmares, night terrors, sleep apnoea or sleep paralysis, it’s understandable that they might be worried about what will happen when they fall asleep, so their subconscious puts sleep off. Women also often experience sleep disruption during the menopause and the longer this goes on for, the more anxious, it can make them feel about going to sleep.

Sleep and anxiety are also inter-linked so it’s very often the case that if someone has anxiety, they also have a sleep disorder and vice versa. It’s because the elevated levels of stress hormones that anxiety produces to keep our body in the alert ‘fight or flight’ mode make it difficult to relax enough to fall asleep. When this keeps happening, it reinforces sleep anxiety. At times, it can feel like a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.

Natural Ways to Prevent Sleep Anxiety

If any of these issues sound familiar, you may be wondering, how do I stop sleep anxiety?

It can be useful to speak to a professional therapist or counsellor to help you identify triggers or an event in the past that has caused the anxiety. CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) is a treatment that’s often recommended for anxiety because it teaches you to have a much greater awareness of your thoughts and how to change your behaviour by changing any negative thought patterns about sleep. 

In today’s frenetic world that’s full of to-do lists and twenty-four seven access to our tech devices, there doesn’t seem enough time or space for our monkey minds to wind down at the end of each day. Creating a consistent relaxing bedtime routine though can be highly beneficial. The more often you stick to your bedtime routine, the quicker your brain will recognise the mental cues and the easier it becomes to mentally prepare for sleep.

Aromatherapy can make a bedtime routine more relaxing. Scent from essential oils travels up to the brain’s limbic system (via the olfactory nerve) and has an impact not only on mood and mindset, but also on some of the body’s unconscious physiological functions, like breathing and heart rate.

Scentered’s SLEEP WELL range is the ideal sleep aid, quieting the mind and promoting a better, deeper quality of sleep. You’ll also wake up feeling well-rested and give yourself the best chance to start the day on the right foot. 

Our sophisticated floral lavender blend harnesses the therapeutic benefits of Lavender, Chamomile, Palmarosa and Ho Wood, and balances them with Bois de Rose and Geranium. The Patchouli, Clove and Ylang Ylang heart brings a modern oriental twist. If you’re serious about making some changes, the I Want to SLEEP WELL Set which incorporates an aromatherapy balm and therapeutic aromatherapy candle is a brilliant sleep aid to help you manage sleep anxiety and get into the right mind-set. 

Light a SLEEP WELL Home Aromatherapy Candle during the evening to help you unwind, calm the mind and begin to feel sleepy. Then 15 minutes before bedtime, apply the SLEEP WELL Wellbeing Ritual Aromatherapy Balm and inhale the scent three times. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you feel the benefits as you drift off into a deep, restorative sleep. 

We would love to hear about your mental wellness journey. You can also keep in touch via our Instagram @iamscentered or sign up to our newsletter for updates, news and offers.

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