Why do I sometimes feel afraid?
Hi Max! I'm a therapist here on BetterHelp. Sounds like you are experiencing two problems that are often related to one another: anxiety and poor sleep! It's a vicious cycle, feeling stressed out and anxious makes it difficult to sleep, and then the lack of sleep can make the anxiety worse!
Online therapy can help you with both sides of the problem. It can teach you how to prevent and manage panic attacks, and it can also help you learn to to manage your daily work stress much better by teaching you anti-anxiety coping skills and strategies, as well as new was of thinking and communicating that will generate a calmer state of being. Through therapy, you can also learn how to apply problem-solving skills to the situations in your life that are causing the most stress.
Therapy can also help you overcome insomnia and other sleep difficulties too, even nightmares. There are also many self-help books on the topics of anxiety management too, if you cannot therapy at this time.
I'm going to share some good sleep tips with you, to help you get started right away on improving this very important aspect of self-care!
Really optimizing your sleep is the main key to feeling better emotionally and getting your life in order. Great sleep also helps immensely with physical health issues, chronic pain, weight management, and disease prevention. But great sleep isn't just about how many hours of sleep you get per night, it's also about how deeply you sleep!…
Deep sleep is what keeps us healthy and happy! To assure that your brain experiences an optimal amount of deep sleep per night Max, make sure to get some indirect sunlight to your eyes every morning. Go out to your porch and sit for a bit or take a walk, first thing in the morning. Avoid looking directly into the sun of course, but do look up at the sky! If that's not possible, use a Nature Bright light to get the same 'sunlight effect.' That sunlight to the eyes will help your body release a hormone that will help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper each night, and it will help correct night-time wakefulness as well.
Also, be sure to avoid 'blue light' after the sun goes down. Blue light is emitted from TV screens, phone screens, and computers/laptops. It's even emitted from most types of indoor lighting. Blue light tricks your brain into thinking the sun is still out! And that ruins the quality of sleep you're getting each night. That's a big reason so many people don't feel calm, content, and energized, even though they may be getting 8 or more hours of solid sleep at night.
Many people who are aware of this 'blue night at night' problem think that if they rely on the "night-time" light setting on their electronic devices, that will protect the quality of their sleep. Unfortunately though, that doesn't solve the problem, because it doesn't block the blue light adequately. It's much better to stay off all electronics after dark, and switch all household lighting to incandescent bulbs, or using candle light. Or if you like watching TV in the evening and being on your phone or computer after dark, simply wear 'Blue-blocker' amber glasses once the sun goes down. Beware that some of the blue-blocker glasses being sold are sold are a rip off... they do not block very much blue light!... plus they really make it hard to see clearly. So I recommend Spectra brand amber glasses… they are reasonably priced.
Remember... if you don't optimize your sleep, it will be harder to gain control of your anxiety and panic attacks. Deep sleep is one of your very best life improvement tools! If you can't fall asleep due to over-thinking (rumination or dwelling) , therapy can assist you with that! Some people all have good luck with meditation apps.
Establish a pre-bedtime routine that's calming, soothing, and pleasant. Here's just a few ideas for low-key activities you may wish to incorporate into your pre-bedtime routine:
~ Reading (be sure to use sleep-safe lighting only, or wear your amber glasses)
~ Gratitude Journaling
~ Listen to calming music
~ Herbal Teas (the sleep-inducing ones are great!)
~ Guided Meditations
~ Sleep-inducing Aromatherapy
~ Watch a light and positive TV show, or nature/wildlife/sea-life documentary (wear your amber glasses, though!)
~ Soothing music or candlelight
~ Prepare for the next day
For best mental health, make every effort to get to bed by 10:30 pm at latest. Ideally, you will wake up just naturally, before your alarm clock goes off. If your alarm clock is waking you from a sound sleep, that is a sign that you need to get to bed earlier.
If you need or want to take a naps during the day, keep them before 12 noon, that way it will not wreck havoc with the quality of your night-time sleep. Avoid night-time shift-work if at all possible! Make sure to get daily exercise. Avoid alcohol and other recreational drugs. Avoid caffeine after the noon hour, too.
Persistent anxiety issues definitely indicate that therapy would be a good idea. And if your sleep problems persist, a visit to your physician may be a wise idea too.
Hope this helps!