Anxiety & Sleep Deprivation: Why It Happens, Tips, Steps To Help & More!

Sleepless woman suffering from insomnia, sleep apnea or stress. Tired and exhausted lady. Headache or migraine. Awake in the middle of the night. Frustrated person with problem. Alarm clock with time.

Last Updated on January 2, 2023 by theworldofsleepstaff

Anxiety and sleep deprivation are two of the most common symptoms among people dealing with insomnia and/or mental health issues.

Anxiety can cause disturbed sleep, racing thoughts, and restlessness, while sleep deprivation can lead to irritability, difficulty concentrating, confusion, and cognitive decline. Therefore, it is essential to understand how these two conditions interact to treat them properly.

Below we look at the link between anxiety and sleep deprivation, causes, symptoms and steps you can take today to help. However ultimately the reasons why you are experiencing anxiety and sleep deprivation must be discussed with your doctor as it could be due to serious underlying health conditions.

Note: This content was only written as a reference, using third-party background information. It is not medical advice; As always, it is essential to do your research and speak with a healthcare provider if you have questions or before taking any new supplement or starting a new regime.


  1. Is Anxiety A Symptom Of Sleep Deprivation?
  2. How Anxiety Affects Sleep
  3. How Sleep Deprivation Affects Anxiety
  4. Symptoms Of Anxiety & Sleep Deprivation
  5. Treating Anxiety & Sleep Deprivation
  6. Top 5 Essential Oils For Anxiety & Sleep Deprivation
  7. FAQs
young man unable to sleep during night at bedroom - concept of suffering from insomnia, thoughtful and problems. S

Is Anxiety A Symptom Of Sleep Deprivation?

Yes, anxiety can be a symptom of sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is associated with the increased release of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are linked to feelings of anxiety and nervousness.

Other symptoms that may accompany sleep deprivation include difficulty concentrating, irritability, fatigue, mood swings, and depression.

Additionally, lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure you get enough sleep each night to prevent anxiety from developing due to lack of sleep.

It is also beneficial to practice relaxation techniques and engage in activities that promote good sleep hygiene. This can help to reduce anxiety symptoms and improve overall well-being.

Read our previous article on tips to help you get to sleep if suffering with anxiety.

man in bed suffering insomnia and sleep disorder thinking about his problem at night

How Anxiety Affects Sleep

Anxiety can significantly impact a person’s sleep quality and quantity. When an individual is anxious, it can cause racing thoughts and make it difficult to relax and fall asleep.

In addition, physical symptoms like muscle tension, insomnia, and restlessness often accompany anxiety. These physical symptoms can make it difficult to stay asleep for long periods or get into a deep, restful sleep.

Man sitting on bed at night looking stressed

How Sleep Deprivation Affects Anxiety

Sleep deprivation has a significant impact on overall mental health. For example, lack of sleep has been linked to increased stress, depression and anxiety.

And people who suffer from poor sleep are more likely to experience sadness or hopelessness and may even use substance abuse to cope with their symptoms.

Studies have also shown that people who experience sleep deprivation are more likely to experience anxiety. People who have difficulty sleeping often find it hard to cope with stress and everyday situations, leading them to react more strongly than usual.

The physical symptoms of anxiety can be even more pronounced in those who suffer from poor sleep. Insomnia and other forms of sleep disturbance can lead to headaches, nausea, muscle tension, rapid heartbeat and shallow breathing. These physical symptoms can be exacerbated by the psychological effects of anxiety, making it difficult to relax or feel calm.

Sleep deprivation can also have a significant impact on cognition. People who do not get enough sleep often find it hard to concentrate and make decisions. This cognitive impairment can lead to increased stress levels and a general feeling of being overwhelmed, making it harder to manage everyday tasks.

In addition, sleep deprivation can cause changes in hormones that are important for regulating mood and emotion. For example, melatonin helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm. Still, when someone is not getting enough sleep, it can become unbalanced, leading to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Finally, sleep deprivation can lead to changes in appetite, making it challenging to regulate weight. Changes in eating habits can also contribute to anxiety and depression due to the unhealthy effects on physical health.

Depressed man suffering from insomnia lying in bed

Symptoms Of Anxiety & Sleep Deprivation

1. Difficulty Concentrating

Anxiety can cause difficulty with concentration and focus, making it hard to stay on task or recall information.

If you suffer from anxiety and sleep deprivation, you may find that your attention span is shorter, and you have difficulty concentrating on tasks.

Photo via Unsplash+

2. Fatigue & Exhaustion

When a person experiences anxiety and lack of sleep, they can become exhausted throughout the day. This fatigue can be so intense that it is difficult to perform regular daily activities.

Moreover, when individuals don’t get enough restful sleep, they can quickly become exhausted and unable to complete even basic tasks.

Recommended: 30 Tips On How To Get Better Sleep Naturally

3. Irritability & Mood Changes

When a person feels anxious and overly tired due to lack of sleep, they may experience frequent mood changes. For example, they may feel irritable and frustrated more often than usual.

Anxiety can also lead to a drop in motivation, making it difficult to accomplish things that would otherwise be simple.

Sleepless woman suffering from insomnia, sleep apnea or stress. Tired and exhausted lady. Headache or migraine. Awake in the middle of the night. Frustrated person with problem. Alarm clock with time. Vesalainen

4. Physical Symptoms

When experiencing anxiety and sleep deprivation, you may experience physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, chest tightness, and stomach upset.

These physical symptoms can be very uncomfortable and make it difficult to focus on anything else.

5. Changes In Eating Habits

Anxiety and lack of sleep can also cause changes in eating habits. For example, people may not want to eat or overeat to cope with their anxious feelings.

Stress eating can then become more common as an individual attempt to cope with their anxiety and exhaustion. These changes in eating habits can hurt physical health.

These are some of the possible symptoms of anxiety and sleep deprivation. If you notice these symptoms interfering with your daily life, you must reach out to a doctor or mental health professional. They can help you understand what is happening, develop strategies to manage your anxiety, and improve your sleep. Proper treatment and support make it possible to lead a healthier life.

Assortment of unhealthy products that's bad for figure, skin, heart and teeth. Fast carbohydrates food. Space for text

Treating Anxiety & Sleep Deprivation

To effectively treat anxiety and sleep deprivation, it is essential to address each issue separately. Here are the most popular recommended treatments for anxiety and sleep deprivation:

1. Meditation

Meditation is a powerful tool for managing anxiety and creating feelings of relaxation and inner peace.

There are many different types of meditation, but all involve breathing techniques, mindfulness exercises, and intentional focus on the present moment.

This type of practice can be used to reduce stress and create a sense of inner peace, which can improve sleep quality.

When using meditation to treat anxiety and sleep deprivation, it is essential to be consistent and make time in your daily practice schedule. What matters most is finding a practice that works for you and making time to stick with it.

Photo via Unsplash+

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on changing thought and behaviour patterns around anxiety. This type of therapy can be used to identify triggers, recognize negative thought patterns, and develop healthier coping strategies.

In mainstream medicine, CBT is often used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Studies have shown that CBT is more effective at treating insomnia than sleeping pills.

3. Exercise

Regular exercise has been linked to improved sleep quality and reduced anxiety and stress levels. Even 10-20 minutes of light exercise daily can significantly reduce symptoms of both conditions.

Additionally, exercising regularly can help to ward off feelings of depression and reduce physical symptoms of anxiety.

Choosing an exercise routine that fits your lifestyle and schedule is essential. Any form of exercise, from walking to yoga, can have powerful benefits for your mental and physical health.

Make sure to get outside in the sunshine when you can and avoid exercise before bedtime, as this may interfere with your sleep.

person running on a treadmill Zupancic

4. Diet

The food you eat can significantly impact your anxiety and sleep. Eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is key to improving both conditions.

It is crucial to limit or avoid processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, and sugary snacks, which can negatively affect mental health and the quality of sleep.

Lastly, if you are feeling particularly anxious or struggling with insomnia, it can be helpful to look into nutrition-based treatments such as omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium. These supplements have been linked to improved mood and sleep quality when taken regularly over time.

5. Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene refers to all the habits and practices used to improve sleep quality. This includes avoiding caffeine close to bedtime, sticking to an adequate sleep schedule, and avoiding screen time before bed. It is essential to create a relaxing environment for sleeping, such as having blackout curtains and avoiding noise from electronics or other sources.

By sticking to a consistent sleep routine and avoiding stimulants close to bedtime, you can improve your overall quality of sleep. This can have long-term benefits for your anxiety levels and general physical health.

Girl lying in bed uses a cell phone and yawns. She is tired or insomnia or addicted to the phone

Top 5 Essential Oils For Anxiety & Sleep Deprivation

1. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil can be used to promote relaxation and reduce stress. It is widely known for its calming fragrance, which has been shown to help with insomnia and improve sleep quality. The oil’s aroma has also been found to reduce anxiety and emotional stress levels.

The effectiveness of lavender essential oil does not only depend on its smell but also on its topical application of it. Lavender oil can be rubbed onto the skin to reduce stress and anxiety. It can even be used as a massage oil or added to bathwater to promote relaxation.

Lavender oil bottle and pipette.Essential oil, natural face and body beauty remedies.

2. Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot essential oil is extracted from the peel of citrus fruit and has a distinct citrusy aroma. This oil has been used for centuries to relieve emotional stress and anxiety.

Studies have shown that its scent can help relax the body and increase positive emotions.

Bergamot essential oil can also be used to reduce symptoms of insomnia. Its aroma has been found to help people fall asleep faster, as well as improve the quality of sleep.

3. Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile essential oil is one of the most popular and effective oils used to treat anxiety and sleep problems. It has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

Chamomile essential oil also has a calming effect on the body when inhaled or applied topically. This can help reduce insomnia, restlessness, and tension headaches.

Small glass bottle with essential roman chamomile oil on the old wooden background. Chamomile flowers, close up. Aromatherapy, spa and herbal medicine ingredients.

4. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang-ylang is a sweet floral scent used for centuries to reduce stress and promote relaxation. The oil is extracted from the flowers of ylang-ylang trees native to tropical regions.

Ylang-ylang essential oil has been found to have a calming effect on the body when applied topically or inhaled through aromatherapy. This can help reduce feelings of anxiousness and improve sleep quality.

5. Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil

Sweet marjoram essential oil has been used for centuries to treat anxiety, stress, and insomnia. It’s known for its calming properties and ability to reduce feelings of restlessness and nervousness.

The oil is also believed to help improve sleep quality by inducing a peaceful and relaxed state of mind. In addition, inhaling it through aromatherapy or applying it to the skin can help reduce insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety.

Selection of essential oils with various herbs and flowers in the background


How many hours of sleep do you need for anxiety?

It is generally recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep each night because sleep deprivation can significantly impact anxiety levels, and getting enough rest can help reduce anxiety symptoms.

Are there any side effects of using essential oils?

Essential oils are generally safe when used correctly and in moderation. However, they can cause irritation or allergies if applied directly to the skin, so it is important to dilute them before use. Additionally, some essential oils can interact with certain medications, so it’s best to consult your doctor before using them.

Can you use essential oils for anxiety and sleep every night?

Using essential oils for anxiety and sleep every night is generally safe and can be beneficial for long-term results. However, it is best to start slowly and gradually increase the frequency of use as needed. If the oils are not helping or causing any side effects, stop using them and consult your doctor.

Sleeping Problem. Overhead above top view of stressed African American guy lying alone in bed touching grabbing head feeling depressed, suffering from insomnia or mental problems after breakup


It is important to note that sleep deprivation can also be a symptom of an underlying mental health condition, such as depression or an anxiety disorder. Therefore, if you feel like you are not getting enough sleep due to worries or other thoughts interfering with your ability to rest, it may be time to seek professional help.

A qualified mental health professional can help you create a holistic treatment plan to address the underlying causes of your sleep disturbance and any associated symptoms, including anxiety.