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How to spot sleep anxiety and beat it

Typically, the thoughts that come into your head when you lie down at night are the ones that are “unfinished business” for your mind. Photo: Pexels

(Rozalyn Frazier/ Real Simple) — For something that seems like such a natural part of life, getting adequate sleep isn’t always as easy as laying your head on your pillow, closing your eyes, and drifting off to dreamland. And there are nearly 70 million Americans who suffer from sleep disorders to prove it. Many of whom struggle specifically with sleep anxiety.

“[Sleep anxiety] is a lay term that most closely fits a diagnosis referred to as psychophysiological insomnia,” says Virginia Runko, PhD, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist and psychologist in Washington, D.C.

“It’s characterized by physical and cognitive manifestations of anxiety that are caused by and can cause trouble sleeping.” In other words, it’s characterized by common anxiety symptoms that interfere with you getting sleep, including racing thoughts, worrying specifically about sleep, and dreading going to bed, fearing it will be an unpleasant experience. (…)