Many people know me as 'The Anxiety Guy' but I have to admit this new connection between sleeping on your stomach, and heightened symptoms of anxiety such as lightheadedness and fatigue was something I had to look further into. For me at least during my battle with anxiety a few years ago, it made total sense, how could I not have seen the connection?
Dizziness Due To Shallow Breathing
When your stomach pushes on your lungs it becomes harder to breathe. When it becomes harder to breath and the symptoms of anxiety such as dizziness kicks in, it's a sign that your breathing has become shallow whether you're conscious of it or not. Strangely I get at least 10 emails per day asking me 'why do I wake up in panic?'
This Could Be The Reason
When you wake up in the morning and you're a stomach sleeper, there's a good chance that you've been breathing so shallow for so long during the night that your dizziness is already there in the am. The next step in the panic cycle in the morning is when you REALIZE that it's there, and your natural reaction, which is to fight turns on.
At This Point The Morning Panic Cycle Is Now On Course
It's important that you experiment with this new idea, for a week do your best to sleep on your back. Not only is this much better for your spine and neck, you may feel like your breathing (although still slightly faster and shallow during sleep) is less restricted. This could be a massive relief for you the panic and anxiety sufferer, especially if your symptoms of anxiety are more present in the am.
Even if your anxiety is not at its worst during the early hours of the day, you should always do your best to practice good breathing through the day. Make sure you exhale all the air out when breathing, because it's in the exhale that is the most important part to combat anxiety. Steady work on your 4 seconds in, pause, and 6 seconds out breathing rhythm whenever you get the chance.
Remind yourself that when morning panic strikes and you begin getting the thoughts' of 'what if' (worst case scenario), this is only happening because your body has switched on its fight or flight response. This is simply firing up your nervous system, and increasing your respiratory rate. The worst will not happen. So tonight when you lay your head to sleep, turn over and begin sleeping on your back instead. Your mind and your body will thank you very much for this new habit.
Always Remember: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone.