Overcoming health anxiety can be tough if you don’t have a plan in place, but by following just a few simple ideas your chances of success can skyrocket. The key to being successful is knowing what areas of your life need your immediate attention, and knowing which tactics to use in those areas in question.
Arguably the most important area you must focus on if you want to overcome your health anxiety (or any form of panic disorder) is sleep.
High-quality sleep is the best medicine for almost all problems, both physical and mental, and since health anxiety causes so many problems in both your body and your mind, it’s no surprise that improving the quality of your sleep and getting more of it will improve your situation substantially.
There’s a problem though – if you’re suffering from health anxiety, then you’re probably also suffering from some form of sleeping problem. Unfortunately, sleep problems go hand in hand with all forms of panic disorder.
Either you will not be getting enough sleep, or the sleep that you’re getting will not be restful, refreshing sleep that leaves you feeling renewed when you wake in the morning.
So how do you get yourself out of this vicious circle of anxiety/insomnia?
Well, the great news is there are some simple tips that work incredible well in providing lots of high-quality sleep for people suffering with health anxiety and other forms of panic disorder. The more of these tips you can follow, the better your sleep situation will become. And that can only mean one thing – an immediate improvement to your health anxiety, and to your quality of life in general.
So here are the tips you should introduce to your day to day life right now:
1. Stick To A Routine:
Go to bed at the same time each night, and wake up at the same time each morning. Keeping to a regular sleep/wake routine will eliminate many of the nights you can’t get to sleep, and more importantly, it will eliminate those occasions when you wake up in the middle of the night and are unable to get back to sleep.
The human body loves routine – make your sleeping habits predictable and it will repay you with more high-quality sleep.
2. Get 8 Hours, and Get The Right 8 Hours:
We all know that we need at least 8 hours of sleep for our bodies to function at their best, and for people with health anxiety it’s even more important at least 8 hours of quality sleep is had each night.
But did you know that it’s also extremely important to get the right 8 hours?
This is because the human body has many rhythms that never change, even if your schedule does. For example, many of the hormones that stimulate you into life in the mornings are released at around 7 a.m., and this happens whether you’re awake or asleep.
So any sleep you have after 7 a.m. will be inferior to sleep you have before 7 a.m.
This means that whenever you can you should be sleeping from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m., or as close to that as you can manage.
If you can’t stick to a schedule as strict as this, then still do your best to get as much sleep before 7.a.m as you possibly can. You’ll notice the benefits almost immediately.
3. Avoid Pre-Bed Stimulation:
Anything that stimulates you physically or mentally should be avoided for the last hour before you go to bed.
The most obvious things you should be avoiding in this last 60 minutes are TV, loud or heavy music (although calming music is great during this last hour before you turn in), exercise of any kind, caffeine, carbonated drinks, and chocolate.
Something else that you should avoid, which is often overlooked, is tension, aggression, or conflict with anyone you happen to live with.
It’s fairly common for people with any kind of sleep problem to become increasingly temperamental as bedtime approaches, due to the anxiety that you’re going to have an unpleasant night of lying awake, and you should keep yourself aware of this so you can consciously avoid any arguments (major or minor) in the lead up to bedtime.
By following these 3 simple tips you’ll immediately improve the quality of your sleep, and the knock-on effect will be a vast improvement to any psychological problems you may be having. This can only help you in overcoming health anxiety in the quickest time possible.