Normally we hear that stress and anxiety cause insomnia. However, a recent study suggests that insomnia itself is to blame for at least one form of anxiety.
Anticipatory anxiety is the anxiety we feel when we think about a potential threat. For example, when we get nervous at a job interview or walk down a dark alley at night fearing what may be around the next corner.
Sometimes, anticipatory anxiety is useful and helps prepare us for times of 'fight or flight'. In those with chronic anticipatory anxiety, individuals tend to be in a constant state of anxiety and worry over myriad situations.
A study found activity in the amygdala and insula areas of the brain (two areas linked with anticipatory anxiety) increased in response to sleep deprivation - leading to an increased likelihood of anticipatory anxiety.
Improving sleep therefore, may also help relieve the symptoms of anticipatory anxiety.
Last updated: March 28, 2014