Restlessness and anxiety can make it hard to sleep at night. You often find yourself shaking your legs, and sometimes, you can’t stop yourself from constantly moving around. It’s common for people to misdiagnose restlessness as ADHD, but more often than not, it’s a sign that you have anxiety.
Consuming too much caffeine, hormonal imbalances, and anxiety disorders are often the causes of feeling restless. While it’s not as frightening as other anxiety symptoms, it can make it hard to function sometimes. Here are 11 ways you can overcome restlessness and fight anxiety:
1. Medication-related problems that can make you feel restless
Certain medications can cause you to feel restless. Adjusting the doses of medicines used to treat diseases and mental illnesses like schizophrenia or Parkinson’s disease can also result in restlessness and anxiety. Stopping sedative medications like benzodiazepines will cause restlessness too.
It would be best if you talked to your doctor before you stop taking or change the dose of any medication you’re on. If any of your prescribed medications make you feel restless or worsening your anxiety symptoms, tell your doctor. There’s also a chance that your medication has a side effect that’s causing restlessness and anxiety, so it’s best to ask your doctor for advice.
2. Avoid caffeine to overcome restlessness and anxiety
Caffeine can cause twitching, nervousness, restlessness, and anxiety. The Food and Drug Administration recommends you consume less than 400 mg of caffeine daily. That’s 3 or 4 cups of coffee. If you consume more than that, you can quickly develop symptoms that mimic those of anxiety.
When you wake up in the morning, your body boosts your energy with the help of a chemical called cortisol, so there’s no reason for you to drink coffee right after you wake up. Keep track of your caffeine intake, so you don’t consume more than you need to. Since you’re already not getting enough sleep due to feeling restless, consuming caffeine will have an adverse effect on your health and make you even more restless.
3. Meditating to overcome restlessness
Anxiety triggers the fight or flight response in your body, which is why you experience restlessness and anxiety. To help you feel calm and relaxed, you should learn to meditate. Meditation has several benefits. It regulates the stress response, and it also helps you become aware of your feelings of restlessness, which allows you to separate yourself from them.
Either you can meditate alone, or you can meditate with a partner. If you suffer from anxiety, it’s better to practice meditation with a friend or someone you feel comfortable supporting you throughout the entire process. Practice meditation daily so you can get used to it.
4. Figure out what's causing you to feel restless
Sometimes restlessness and anxiety indicate that something in your life is stressing you out. Maybe you’ve been spending too much time at the office because you haven’t been able to give time to your family. Or perhaps the pandemic has been making you feel down. Whatever the reason is, you have to make sure you don’t stress yourself out too much.
Think of it as a sign that you need to change something in your life. Pay attention to what things or situations make you feel restless and anxious, and then figure out how to change or remove those things from your life.
5. Breathing exercises to overcome restlessness
Whenever you start to feel restless or anxious, step back, and take a deep breath. Deep breathing can help you feel more relaxed. Breathe in, hold your breath for four seconds, and then breathe out. Do this a couple of times, and you’ll begin to feel calm and relaxed.
You can also try the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Keep your eyes closed while doing this exercise. Breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then breathe out for eight seconds. Repeat this a few times.
You can try this technique before you go to bed if you have trouble sleeping at night. It will remind your body to relax, and you’ll be able to overcome restlessness.
6. Use essential oil scents
Aromatherapy is a great way to help make your body calm down. Ever wonder why you feel so good when something around you smells nice? It’s because your sense of smell has a significant effect on your mood and behavior. You can use essential oils to manipulate your stress response and alleviate your symptoms of restlessness and anxiety.
Some essential oils that people usually use are lavender, vanilla, rose and geranium, sandalwood, and citrus. Having essential oils can also make it easier to sleep at night.
7. Doing physical activities to overcome restlessness
Restlessness most often happens when you have nothing to do. Boredom can quickly turn into restlessness if you choose not to do anything. For this reason, you must find a physical activity to do regularly. Go to the gym and exercise daily. If going to the gym isn’t your thing, then do some light exercises at home for 15-30 minutes. You’ll be amazed at what 15 minutes of exercise can do to your body. You’ll start to notice the difference in just a few weeks!
You can try other physical activities, as well. Do anything that will relax your muscles and help you breathe properly. You’ll keep yourself busy by engaging in physical activities, which will lead to decreased feelings of restlessness and anxiety.
You can also do something to relieve mental stress and express your inner thoughts and feelings. Things like painting, writing, making music, or dancing are a great way to release all that pent-up emotional stress you have inside you.
8. Visualization and Imagination
Visualization is a great mental exercise that you can do to relieve feelings of restlessness and anxiety. It’s a simple exercise that you can do no matter where you are. Imagine yourself in a peaceful and calm environment. Transport yourself to a world where you feel safe and comfortable, and you’ll almost immediately start to feel more relaxed.
You can do this at night if you’re having trouble falling asleep. Imagine yourself in a favorable situation, such as working that job you’ve been dreaming about since you were a kid, or maybe as the main character in your favorite book, movie, or music video.
9. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Muscle tension is a response to stress and anxiety. When you feel restless or anxious, your muscles tend to become tense. Your body becomes stiff as you get more anxious, which is why you’ll sometimes notice pain in your neck and back when you’re anxious.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a technique that you can use to relax your muscles and overcome restlessness. To do this exercise, first, you have to find a quiet place. Tense a group of muscles as you take a deep breath. As you breathe out, relax those muscles. Repeat this several times, but each time you do it, pick a different group of muscles.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a great way to relieve restlessness and anxiety. If you have trouble knowing which muscle group to work on, you can use progressive muscle relaxation audio recordings. It might take some time to do it right, so don’t give up if you don’t notice any difference the first time you do it!
10. Diet that helps with feeling restless
Just like aromatherapy, what you eat also affects your mood and behavior. Magnesium is a vital mineral that relaxes your muscles and supports your joints. It also has a positive effect on your mood. Magnesium converts the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin and regulates your GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels. Studies have shown that GABA helps control anxiety. Lower levels of GABA are associated with schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.
Some foods rich in magnesium include bananas, avocados, quinoa, dark chocolate, nuts, dry beans, spinach, and whole grains. Lack of magnesium can cause fatigue and mood problems. It can also increase your anxiety, which will lead to more restlessness. So make sure you’re getting enough magnesium!
If nothing works, you can try seeing a psychotherapist. There are lots of different methods in psychotherapy that are used to treat restlessness and anxiety. One of the most popular and effective ones is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). A therapist will ask you about your symptoms and help you understand the underlying causes of your feelings of restlessness and anxiety.
They will try to make you look at your problems differently and change your thought patterns to understand yourself and your issues healthily. CBT can take 12-16 weeks to work, and you have to make sure you’re comfortable talking to your therapist. It’s common for people to look for a different therapist if they’re having a hard time connecting with their current therapist.
If left untreated, restlessness doesn’t cause serious harm, but it can make it hard to perform daily tasks. It also disrupts your sleep pattern, which can make you feel sluggish and tired. If you think your feelings of restlessness and anxiety affect your daily life, you must seek professional help!
Moving forward with Psychotherapy
Fortunately, Ahealo.com offers a global ePsychotherapy platform that allows clients to book an online anonymous private appointment with a broad skill range of psychotherapists at an affordable cost and desired schedule.
Alternatively, if you need to seek psychotherapy, be sure to check out ahealo.com. Ahealo is an online psychotherapy platform with a diverse range of psychotherapists for many different fields of mental challenges. Ahealo provides ePsychotherapy at an affordable price, confidential, convenient (through a web page 1-1 private video call), and at your comfortable schedule.
With these options, we believe your insomnia can be resolved soon.
Take care and stay well.