What should I do if I have anxiety over sleeping?

This question was asked in Purchase, New York on 02/22/2013.
I have insomnia, but I think that I also get anxiety about going to sleep. I have anxiety over whether I will be able to fall asleep or will just lay there for hours awake. I was prescribed Ambien, but it still doesn't make me sleep, and it does not get rid of the anxious feeling I have when I am anticipating sleep.

Doctors Answers (2)

Jana P. Kaimal, MD, FCCP
Answered on: 4/5/2013 7

Try setting aside a designated 'worry time' each day. By picking 10 to 15 minutes a day, at least two hours before bed, to write down what's bothering you and ways to solve it, you can crawl into bed without these things troubling you and keeping you awake. Also, are you an obsessive clock watcher? It's 1:31 a.m., now it's 1:46 a.m. Oh no! Every time you sneak a peek at the glowing numbers on your alarm clock, the anxiety builds. Stealing glances at the clock every few minutes does nothing more than stimulate your brain and keep you focused on the time instead of falling asleep. Try placing a towel over the clock so you can't see it, or just get rid of it all together and use your cell phone's alarm as your wake-up call.

Jeannine Louise Gingras, MD
Answered on: 2/25/2013

There are good medications for this form of insomnia. I suggest you see a sleep doctor or talk to your primary care physician. The form of insomnia you describe is called Psychophysiologic Insomnia.