If you suffer from anxiety, it’s not news that it can take a toll on your sleep, causing you to have trouble falling and staying asleep. In fact, sleep disruption is a common symptom of mental illness, and anxiety is no exception.
A new small sleep study discovered that it works the other way, too: Poor sleep can trigger anxiety in otherwise healthy adults. According to sleep researcher Eti Ben Simon, of the University of California at Berkeley, sleep deprivation caused anxiety levels in healthy people that were 30 percent higher than when they had slept. And these anxiety scores reached levels seen in people with anxiety disorders. The findings show that poor sleep is more than just a symptom of anxiety — it may even be the cause, he said.
“This is a two-way interaction: The sleep loss makes the anxiety worse, which in turn makes it harder to sleep,” Clifford Saper, a sleep researcher at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston who wasn’t involved in the study, told ScienceNews.org.
Because sleep and anxiety have such a strong relationship, it’s important to address both issues. This is because treating sleep issues without learning to manage anxiety and reduce stress is unlikely to have any real impact. In addition to exacerbating and/or causing anxiety, sleep problems can make it more difficult for you to sustain your recovery. In fact, the “T” in the common recovery acronym “HALT” is tiredness — and it’s one of many triggers that can lead to relapse.
Minding Your Mental Health
At Segue, we offer our support throughout the first year of recovery and beyond. For more information about how our addiction recovery services can help you or someone you love mind your mental health in order to prevent relapse and be your best sober self, contact a Segue Recovery Specialist today: 866-905-4550.