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Anxiety caused/worsened by lack of sleep?

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    • Thread Starter

    For the past few college breaks, it's been an absolute mystery to me as to why I end up getting upsetting anxiety-like tendencies. It's made me believe some upsetting and scary things about myself, which my common sense is now just about beginning to see past. I'm now on an extended break til 1st Oct. as that is when I start uni.
    I've always assumed my tendencies were caused by having time to overthink, but having recently read a study about lack of sleep equalling more of a chemical contributing to worry being released in the brain - maybe it's always often caused by that?
    My sleep quality during breaks isn't good; no sleeping pattern and very little physical activity during the day. There are studies such as this which have found that "150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week" improve sleep quality by up to 65%.
    With this knowledge, perhaps then, it's simply caused by too little quality sleep? It would make sense; whilst my physical activity in college time wasn't great, it was still a dramatically greater than what I get during college breaks. Additionally, whilst my sleep in college wasn't great, the times I went to sleep and got up were the same each day within a 1.5 hour difference.
    Another point backing this up would be that worries are almost always occurring later on at night, when I'm more liable to be tired and sleep deprived.
    Fixing this (& additionally better preparing myself for University), I've begun to go swimming every other day for at least an hour. The national guidelines are 150 minutes per week, so my self-set guideline would smash this by far. To combat the lack of sleep patterns, I'm going to set myself a target of getting to bed within an hour before/after midnight and get up to 9 hours of sleep.

    Anyway, I've rambled on a bit here. Does anyone else experience this? How do you work to reduce it?

    It's a vicious cycle; lack of sleep contributes to anxiety contributes to lack of sleep.

    You're doing a good thing by trying to optimise your quality of sleep (some other things to do would be to avoid blue light - i.e. phones, computer screens etc - during the hour before bed, and to avoid working in your bedroom; if it's used as a working environment for part of the day, it's harder to switch off at night). You may also want to tackle the anxiety side of things, especially if it doesn't go away even when your sleep quality starts improving. You'd need to go and see your GP for that - they may either suggest you start some meds, or put you on the waiting list for CBT, or both.
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