Skip to main content

8 Tips to Break the Anxiety Insomnia Cycle

Anxiety and insomnia are two troublesome companions that can create a vicious cycle. Anxiety can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep, leading to insomnia. Conversely, the lack of restful sleep can exacerbate anxiety, resulting in a never-ending cycle of sleepless nights and heightened anxiety levels. In this article, I will explore the insidious anxiety insomnia cycle and provide valuable insights into breaking this detrimental pattern.

How to Break Anxiety-Insomnia Cycle

The Cycle of Anxiety and Insomnia

Anxiety and insomnia frequently go hand in hand. Each problem can be caused by the other, eventually leading to a never-ending cycle that seems impossible to break through. Research has shown that chronic insomnia increases your chances of suffering from an anxiety disorder.

There are a few different ways that anxiety and insomnia can interact. Anxiety can cause difficulty sleeping, which can in turn lead to more anxiety. When someone is anxious, their mind is often racing, which can make it difficult to fall asleep.

Additionally, anxiety can lead to restless sleep, which can leave someone feeling tired and anxious the next day.

Insomnia can also cause anxiety and stress. When someone isn't getting enough sleep, they can start to feel anxious and stressed. They may also become irritable and have difficulty thinking clearly.

According to UC Berkeley, lack of sleep can ramp up brain regions that trigger excessive worry, which provokes further anxiety and makes sleep even more elusive. [Find here the UC Berkeley news article]

Chronic insomnia can also lead to health problems, such as heart problems, obesity, and depression, which can cause further anxiety.

Breaking The Anxiety Insomnia Cycle

Treating insomnia is a good approach to dealing with your anxious feelings. However, many of the strategies for getting sleeplessness under control are also recommended for managing anxiety, so it’s a good idea to follow these steps and get a handle on both your problems.

Although most people suffer from occasional insomnia, chronic insomnia involves at least a month of difficulty in falling asleep, waking up too soon in the morning, or just generally poor quality of sleep. Ten percent of adults are affected by chronic insomnia.

8 Tips to Break Anxiety-Insomnia Cycle

1. Before you do anything, check with your healthcare provider to make sure there are no underlying medical problems to blame. This could include diseases and conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, menopause, or pregnancy.

Several medications can also hurt your ability to sleep normally.

2. An effective way to manage both anxiety and insomnia is to practice stress-relieving techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), yoga, or meditation. This can help you to relax and unwind, making it easier to fall asleep.

You can start practicing Yoga with the Legs-Up-the-Wall pose, an easy pose suitable for beginners. Read here in detail → Yoga for Anxiety for Beginners.

And, here's a short video for you to get started with meditation in a simple way:

3. Another way to beat the anxiety-insomnia cycle is by engaging in exercise regularly. A 20-minute walk each day (or even three to four times a week) can work wonders.

Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins and reduces levels of adrenaline and cortisol (the body's stress hormones), which can help improve your mood and reduce stress and anxiety symptoms, which in turn promotes better sleep. [Ref. Exercising to relax by Harvard Health Publishing]

Don’t exercise just before going to bed because it will stimulate your system too much.

4. Reduce your consumption of alcohol and caffeine. It's also a good idea to avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, as they can interfere with sleep.

Caffeine significantly hinders your ability to fall asleep because it’s a stimulant. You will want to avoid coffee because of its high caffeine content, but you should also refrain from tea, certain soft drinks, and chocolate (yes, including hot cocoa!).

Alcohol might help you fall asleep more easily at night, but you will have a disrupted sleep that won’t leave you rested. Calcium, B vitamins, and magnesium improve sleep. So replace your coffee and alcohol with some hot milk and a vitamin supplement and you might see significant results.

Smoking is another habit you’ll want to kick when you want to break the anxiety insomnia cycle. The high doses of nicotine contained in cigarettes elevate blood pressure, accelerate your heart rate and stimulate your brain. This is exactly the opposite of what you need if you want to enjoy a restful sleep.

5. Try to establish a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. This can help to train your body to sleep better. Additionally, make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool, and avoid using electronic devices in bed.

6. Set up your bedroom for optimal sleeping conditions. Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, and comfortably warm.

Light, particularly flashing or blinking lights and flickering lights from a TV, will disturb your sleep patterns.

Try wearing a sleep mask to block out light if you find it comfortable. A white noise machine, or even a fan, is another great way to mask most noises.

Also, keep the room at a comfortable temperature so you won’t wake up sweating or shivering.

7. If you still can’t fall asleep, keep calm. Worrying about it will just make the situation worse and escalate both your anxiety and insomnia conditions. Read a book, listen to calming music, or take a bath, and then go back to bed once you feel like you might be able to sleep.

8. If despite all your efforts, you are struggling with the anxiety-insomnia cycle, it's important to seek treatment from a doctor or therapist (or counselor) who can help you address both conditions.


Breaking the anxiety-insomnia cycle is important, as getting a good night's sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. When you're well-rested, you're more alert and able to think clearly, making it easier to manage your anxiety. Getting adequate sleep can help improve your mood and reduce stress levels. Getting a good night's sleep can help improve your overall quality of life.

By following the tips in this article, you can finally get the good night's sleep you deserve. Anxiety and insomnia can be a vicious cycle, but with some effort, you can break free and finally get the rest you need.


Q: Is it normal to experience anxiety before bedtime?

A: It is relatively common to experience some level of anxiety before bedtime, especially during stressful periods. However, persistent and excessive anxiety that disrupts sleep may indicate the need for intervention.

Q: Can anxiety be the sole cause of insomnia?

A: While anxiety can contribute to insomnia, other factors such as lifestyle, sleep habits, and underlying medical conditions can also play a role in sleep disturbances.

Q: Can anxiety cause long-term sleep problems?

A: Yes, chronic anxiety can lead to ongoing sleep disturbances, which may require intervention to address.

Q: Is it okay to self-treat anxiety and insomnia without professional help?

A: Self-help strategies can be effective for some individuals, but if anxiety and insomnia persist or worsen, seeking professional help is crucial to address the root causes.

Q: Can medication be used to manage anxiety-related insomnia?

A: In some cases, healthcare providers may prescribe medication to manage anxiety and insomnia temporarily. However, these should be used under professional guidance and as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Other approaches like CBT-I and lifestyle changes can also be effective in breaking the anxiety-insomnia cycle.


Other Posts

The Mystery of Edith Bouvier Beale's Mental Health

Edith Bouvier Beale , commonly known as " Little Edie ," was an American socialite and cousin of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. In this article, we explore the life of Edith Bouvier Beale, an enigmatic figure whose struggles with mental health captivated public attention. From her affluent upbringing to her seclusion in " Grey Gardens ," we delve into the complexities of Edith Bouvier Beale's mental health journey. Edith Bouvier Beale's Mental Health: What We Know (and Don't Know) In the realm of intriguing personalities, Edith Bouvier Beale stands out as a complex figure whose life was marked by both glamour and obscurity. While her name might not ring a bell for everyone, her captivating journey, marred by mental health struggles, has left an indelible mark. Let us delve into the life of Edith Bouvier Beale, exploring her early days, her rise to stardom, her decline into isolation, and the profound impact of mental health challenges on

OCD: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment, Help, Cure

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder , more commonly known as  OCD , is a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder and is characterized by way of persistent, undesired thought processes (obsessions) and/or repeating actions (compulsions). Obsession, in this case, is highly unpleasant as the individual is compelled to repeat certain behaviors again and again. The condition, most of the time, is anxiety-related and the  thoughts are unwanted and intrusive . Sufferers often understand that these thoughts are irrational, but by performing compulsive behavior, they believe they will be cured or will be relieved. Recurring actions such as hand washing (to avoid catching germs), counting numbers, checking things over, or cleaning are frequently carried out with the anticipation of avoiding compulsive thoughts or making them disappear altogether. This is to avoid their obsession turning into reality. OCD is a common mental condition that affects 2.5 million adults or

Health Anxiety Is Ruining My Life: How to Get Over It

Do you have a fear of diseases? Have you ever thought of a simple headache to be a brain tumor, or a slight stomach ache as an intestinal blockage? Have people ever called you crazy because of your obsession with health and hygiene? Are you gripped by a constant fear of being terminally ill? Have you ever self-diagnosed yourself by checking the symptoms online? Are you aware of the symptoms of various diseases because you constantly look them up online? Do you keep getting tests done (often by different doctors)? Is no reassurance enough to prove that you are not sick? You know that but are never satisfied. Is that you? If the answer to most of these questions is yes, you probably are a hypochondriac. But if " Health anxiety is ruining my life " is something you can relate to, this article will help you overcome it. Health Anxiety Is Ruining My Life If you're constantly worried about their health and always convinced that you are sick, then you may