The Relationship Between Anxiety and Insomnia

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Anxiety and insomnia often go hand in hand. Each can be causes of the other which can lead to a vicious cycle that may seem impossible to break. Chronic insomnia increases your odds of having anxiety disorders. So, treating chronic insomnia may be one way to alleviate feelings of anxiousness.

Although many people have suffered insomnia in certain periods of their lives, chronic insomnia is characterized by one month or more of having trouble falling asleep, waking up too early or overall poor quality of sleep. It affects 10 percent of adults in the US.

To fight chronic insomnia, first check with a doctor to ensure that certain conditions like heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy, pregnancy, menopause or arthritis aren’t the cause of the problem. Certain medications may also negatively affect healthy sleep.

Seek any psychological factors that are affecting your rest. For example, one major sign of depression is not being able to go back to sleep after waking up too early. So, in this case, treating your depression may also help with your insomnia.

One way to deter both anxiety and insomnia is to cut down on caffeine and alcohol. Coffee is the obvious culprit when it comes to too much caffeine but you also want to avoid tea, soft drinks, chocolate and certain medications. While you may fall asleep quickly after drinking alcohol, your sleep will be light and fragmented. Calcium enhances sleep, as do B vitamins and magnesium.

And then there’s smoking. . .nicotine increases blood pressure, speeds up the heart rate and stimulates brain activity. . .not what you want when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep.

Another way to kick the insomnia is by getting exercise. You don’t have to jump head-first into a gym or athletic club, though. Just a 20 minute walk every day (or even 3-4 times a week) can help. The best time to exercise is in the late afternoon. Do not exercise just before bed, that would be counter-productive as exercise stimulates your body.

The right environment and position is also conducive to sleep. Your room should be as dark as possible. Any kind of light, and especially blinking, flashing lights or lights from the TV, are disruptive to sleep. You can also try wearing a mask to block out light although some find this to be uncomfortable. A white noise maker is a way to block out bumps in the night or other sounds that could wake you up. Temperature is also important. Make sure that your thermostat is set at a comfortable position for you when you’re covered in blankets.

If you’ve tried everything and you still can’t sleep, try not to get stressed out about it. This just makes matters worse. Try to do something calming like reading or taking a warm bath and go back to bed as soon as you start feeling sleepy.

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10 Moves to Make You Feel Fit, Fast

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1. Jump rope for 2 minutes. (I time myself with my iPhone’s stopwatch.)

2. Reverse box lunge. Grab a set of 10 to 15-pound dumbbells, stand on a 6-inch step or box and step backward with your left leg into a lunge. Do 12 reps, switch legs.

3. Goblet squat. Hold a dumbbell vertically next to your chest, with both hands cupping the dumbbell head. Squat, pause, then come back up. Do 12-15 reps.

4.  Jump rope for 2 minutes.

5. Hammer curl to press. Grab a set of 8 to 12-pound dumbbells. Let them hang at arm’s length at your sides, your palms facing each other. Curl the dumbbells toward your shoulders. Press the dumbbells above your head until your arms are straight. Do 12-15 reps.

6. Tricep dips. Find a step or box and lower yourself into 12-15 tricep dips. Make it more challenging by straightening your legs instead of bending your knees.

7. Lateral raise. Grab a pair of 8 to 12-pound dumbbells. Let them hang at arm’s length at your sides. Turn your arms so that your palms are facing forward and bend your elbows slightly. Raise your arms straight out to your sides until they’re at shoulder level. Pause, lower, and repeat for 12-15 reps.

8. Jump rope for 2 minutes.

9. Repeat steps 2 through 8. 

10. Bicycle crunch. End with 20 to 30 bicycle crunches, bringing in opposite elbow to opposite knee.

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Information for Migraine Headache Sufferers

by Dr. Don Colbert
  • Alcohol, especially red wine, is one of the most potent triggers for migraines.
  • Among medications, birth control pills are common initiators of migraines.
  • Common foods that trigger migraines include: chocolate, peanuts, and foods that have been marinated, pickled, or fermented, such as pickled herring. Ripened cheeses, such as cheddar and brie, are also common causes. And processed meats, such as sausage, bologna, pepperoni, salami, and hotdogs, can also bring on a migraine.
  • Two of the most common food additives that trigger migraines include aspartame and MSG (monosodium glutamate); the latter is found in many Chinese foods.
  • Another very common trigger of migraines is withdrawal from caffeine and having low blood sugar.
  • One of the best ways to prevent migraines is to drink at least two quarts of filtered or bottled water a day, and consume adequate amounts of high fiber foods to assure that you have at least one bowel movement a day.

Four Steps to Outsmart Fat

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

Four Steps to Outsmart Fat

Build Muscle

The increased calorie burn from muscle helps you lose more fat than you would otherwise. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, even while you are sleeping! All forms of exercise help build and sustain muscle, but calisthenics, weight-lifting and resistance band-exercises target muscle building more fully.

Every year after the age of thirty people began losing muscle mass. This loss of muscle results in your body burning fewer calories year after year. Through strength training and exercise you can keep your metabolism working at youthful levels and keep your body looking and feeling great too. I recommend fifteen to thirty minutes of focused muscle-building exercises every other day.

Add High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Do not be scared away by the words high intensity. There are levels of HIIT for everyone. HIIT consists of exercising vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds to raise your heart rate, then resting for 90 seconds. You can do HIIT in the form of walking, running, biking or any exercise where you can perform intensely for up to 30 seconds, and then slow down to a restful pace for 90 seconds.

You should start your HIIT with a 3 minute warm up, repeat the training segment 8 times, then end with a two-minute cool down. The total workout lasts about 20 minutes. This trend in exercising has proven to be effective for weight loss.HIIT can be practiced twice a week. I want to caution you on making HIIT part of your daily exercise routine.

You might be tempted to use this form of training regularly in an effort to sprint to the weight-loss finish line. In my experience, those who practice moderate-intensity activity regularly tend to stay with it longer. So establish a moderate-intensity exercise routine, and then add HIIT on occasion.

Eat More Fiber.

As I have been saying for years, soluble fiber covers a multitude of dietary sins. As soluble fiber moves through the digestive track it binds with fats, sugars and toxins and escorts them out the other end, preventing them from becoming absorbed by the body. Soluble fiber also helps decrease your appetite and lower your cholesterol and blood sugar. If you want to outsmart fat, concentrate on getting at least 38 grams of fiber per day for a man and at least 25-30 grams per day for a woman.Good food sources of fiber include beans, peas, lentils, apples, citrus, oats and flaxseeds. You can also supplement with fiber. Natural fiber supplements should be taken before you eat with 16 oz. of water.
Mindful Eating and Stress Reduction
Stressful circumstances can cause cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods, especially those of the simple carb type like sweets and processed flour. Stress hormones, triggered during stressful circumstances, also increase fat storage.A study performed at the University of California proved mindful eating and stress reduction alone can result in weight loss. The women in the study were divided into two groups. The first group was taught mindful eating practices and relaxation techniques, while the second group was not. Those women who mastered the techniques reduced their levels of stress hormones and, consequently, their amount of abdominal fat.Mindful eating means being aware of what and how much you are eating. Mindful eating means sitting down to relax while eating, rather than rushing through a meal while multi-tasking. Mindful eating means savoring each bite of food so you can determine when you are satisfied. Eating out of a bag or box while watching TV is a good example of mindless eating.

http://www.lef.org/news/LefDailyNews.htm?NewsID=12002&Section=Nutrition&utm_source=DailyHealthBulletin&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Nutrition&utm_content=Body+Title&utm_campaign
=DHB_111227

Are You Guilty of This Supposedly Harmful Habit?

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

Are You Guilty of This Supposedly Harmful Habit?
When asked why they can’t lose weight, one out of every three adults say “snacking too much” is a main reason. People feel guilty snacking because they think it leads to weight gain. Sure, snacking on the wrong food, like Twinkies and Doritos, can certainly disrupt a weight loss plan. There is a method of snacking, however, that can actually promote weight loss. People who practice healthy snacking, or power snacking, in addition to eating three meals a day, increase their metabolism and control cravings.

How to Promote Weight Loss with Power Snacking
There are two main things to remember when it comes to power snacking. One is the right amount of food. Two is the right type of food. Many patients tell me they have strong cravings between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. and 11 p.m. These cravings can be overwhelming for many people, causing them to binge or give up on their weight loss goals. Carrots and celery sticks are generally what people think they must snack on to lose weight, but carrots and celery sticks won’t help you control your cravings or satisfy your hunger.

Think of your power snack as a mini-meal. Instead of a snacking on one item like chips or carrot sticks, power snacks are a strategic combination of quality foods. Your mini-meal should include healthy protein, high fiber, low-glycemic starch and good fat. This mixture is digested slowly, causing glucose to trickle into your bloodstream, controlling your hunger for hours. The mini-meal should only amount to a total of 100-150 calories for women and 150-200 calories for men.

Good power snacks are:

    • A piece of fruit, 6 ounces of plain low-fat yogurt or kefir, five to ten nuts and one scoop of protein powder.
    • Two tablespoons of hummus, one small piece of whole-grain, high-fiber pita bread and 1 to 2 ounces of sliced organic turkey or chicken.
    • Six Wheat Thin Fiber Selects crackers with 1 to 2 wedges of Laughing Cow Light cheese and 1 to 2 ounces of smoked salmon or tongol tuna.
    • A small salad with 1 to 2 ounces of sliced organic turkey, 2 tablespoons of avocado, and a salad spritzer dressing
    • A bowl of broth-based vegetable or bean soup with 1 to 2 ounces of boiled chicken

It is important to carry power snacks with you, keep them at your office, in your car, or always have them available at home. Fruit, especially high-fiber fruits like apples, pears, kiwi, grapefruit and berries is good to always have on hand. Also, nuts, seeds, Ezekial 4:9 bread, hummus, low-fat cheese, avocados, Wheat Thin Fiber Selects crackers, organic nitrite-free beef jerky and lunch meats and almond butter are other examples of items to keep on hand so you can quickly put together a power snack when you need one.

BONUS: If you want to make your snack even more powerful, add two to three PGX fiber capsules with 16 ounces of water and a cup of green or black tea. Remember, snacking can be a great weight loss tool if done properly. Find out what power snacks you enjoy and make snacking part of your daily routine.

 

Charles Stuart Platkin, The Automatic Diet (New York: Hudson Street Press, 2005), 92.

Four Easy Ways to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

Lifestyle and diet changes are critical when it comes to reducing your risk of heart disease. If you haven’t already done so, here are four important changes you should consider.

Exercise
Exercise is critical to almost every level of well being. A recent study showed that just 15 minutes of exercise per day will add three years to your lifespan, even if you already have heart disease. An additional 15 minutes further reduced mortality by an additional 4%.

Insulin resistance is an underlying factor in almost all chronic diseases that shorten life, including heart disease. Exercise is crucial to longevity because it promotes healthy insulin levels. In a culture like ours that consumes far too much sugar and other refined carbohydrates, daily exercise is crucial.

Vitamin D
Still, as important as exercise is, it only comprises about 20% of a healthy lifestyle. The other 80% involves nutrients.

Study after study continues to link heart disease with a lack of vitamin D. In other words, the less sunshine you get, the greater your risk of heart disease. Sunlight, due to the vitamin D it produces in your body, increases your body’s natural anti-inflammatory response, decreases vascular calcification and also decreases vascular smooth muscle growth. All this leads to a healthier heart.

Some recent studies are even challenging the links between the sun exposure and skin cancer. Most Americans don’t receive adequate sun exposure, especially during the winter months, and are therefore deficient in vitamin D. It is important to have your doctor check your vitamin D levels to determine if supplementation may be required.

Avoidance of High Glycemic Carbs
Several studies show a link between high consumption of simple carbohydrates and heart disease. A recent study showed that women who eat high amounts of high glycemic carbs, such as white rice and white bread, are twice as likely to develop heart disease compared to those who eat the least amounts.

A diet high in refined sugars and grains, such as bread, pizza, pasta, pancakes, bagels and rice, increases insulin resistance which is harmful to your heart.

Pomegranate
Finally, as I continue to promote prevention rather than just treatment of symptoms, it’s important to recognize the power of pomegranate in avoiding the numerous pathological changes related to heart disease. Scientists believe pomegranate has important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that fight the growth of undesirable muscle cells in blood vessel walls as well as lower LDL, or bad cholesterol. In one study, pomegranate juice outperformed numerous other antioxidants, including grape juice, blueberry juice and red wine, in reducing the damaging effects of free radicals. Other studies have suggested pomegranate may not just help prevent heart disease; it may even help reverse it.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/23/lower-your-risk-of-heart-disease-in-as-little-as-15-minutes-a-day.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/12/13/how-vitamin-d-protects-your-heart.aspx

http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/may2007_report_pomegranate_01.htm? source=search&key=pomegranate