Does Sleep Therapy Help Reduce Anxiety?

Sleep deprivation has a significant impact on anxiety levels. Studies have shown that people who don't get enough rest experience higher levels of anxiety, depression, and general malaise than those who get enough sleep. Furthermore, sleep-deprived individuals tend to be more anxious during tasks and perceive greater risks of catastrophic outcomes than when they are well-rested. Scientists have long known that there is a strong connection between lack of sleep and anxiety. A recent study has further reinforced and quantified this causal relationship, showing that a single night of poor sleep can increase anxiety by up to 30%.

Relaxation therapy can help the body to relax and also control anxiety about not being able to sleep, which can sometimes worsen insomnia. The amount of sleep also affects the symptoms associated with mental disorders, as sleep disturbances can cause agitation and hyperactivity in people with bipolar disorder. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging and polysomnography to scan the brains of sleeping participants and identify stages of sleep. Many people turn to sleep therapy after other self-help strategies, such as stress reduction, have not been successful on their own. To ensure a good night's rest, it is important to avoid sleeping late as this can disrupt your sleep cycle and make it harder for you to wake up in the morning. The benefits of a good night's sleep come largely from establishing a consistent routine that allows for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Other therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), combine these strategies with exploring the mental health barriers that prevent good sleep. The first two stages of non-REM sleep are periods of light sleep in which the body transitions from wakefulness to rest. The study also found that anxiety levels decreased significantly after a full night's sleep, with even greater reductions in those who spent more time in the deep, slow-wave, non-REM phase of sleep. Disruptions during REM sleep can affect subsequent sleep cycles and interfere with the body's recovery and repair processes. CBT-I sessions may include reviewing sleep records to identify causes of insufficient or poor sleep. The best way to pay off this sleep debt is by getting consistent and adequate sleep every night and taking strategic naps.