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.

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

What Every Chocolate Lover Needs to Know

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

You might consider chocolate a guilty pleasure, but it doesn’t have to be. The type of chocolate you eat determines whether the chocolate is good or bad for you.

Many Americans have never eaten “true” chocolate. Most chocolate found in the supermarket or in specialty candy stores is processed and harmful for your body. Do not be fooled by price. I have seen many brands of expensive chocolate that are highly processed and loaded with toxic ingredients.

You can find processed chocolate in all sorts of candy, cakes and muffins, ice cream, cookies and more. When chocolate is processed with high temperatures and high pressure, it loses its health benefits. Processed chocolate is also loaded with sugar, oils and dairy that reverses any benefit the chocolate originally had and makes it highly addictive. I never recommend conventional chocolate.

The good news is there is a form of chocolate that is very good for you.

Chocolate comes from the cacao bean. The cacao bean is considered a superfood because of its rich antioxidant content. If the natural properties of the cacao bean are still intact in your chocolate, you can experience a wealth of benefits.

  • Cacao is rich in flavanols, powerful antioxidants that help protect the body from disease-causing free radicals.
  • The potent antioxidant content in cacao helps maintain healthy brain function.
  • Cacao can help lower blood pressure.
  • Cacao has been shown to help lower cholesterol.
  • Studies show cacao can improve insulin resistance.
  • A recent study shows eating an ounce and a half of cacao-rich chocolate every day for two weeks lowers stress hormone levels. Study participants placed in the “high anxiety” group also reported feeling less anxious after eating the chocolate.
  • Cacao is associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular disease.

Choosing the Right Chocolate

To ensure you are treating yourself to the right kind of chocolate, look for a cacao content of 60% or more. It will usually specify the cacao percentage on the label. The sugar content should be very low (somewhere around 4 grams). It should be organic and contain no dairy ingredients. One to three ounces per day is okay. More than that can add unwanted calories to your diet.

Like the many who eat chocolate in its natural form, I hope you find it to be decadent and satisfying.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/03/06/can-chocolate-benefit-your-brain.aspx

http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/HEALTHbeat_030309.htm#art1

http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/HEALTHbeat_030309.htm#art1

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/03/23/chocolate-part-three.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/12/Dark-Chocolate-The-New-Antianxiety-Drug.aspx

http://www.lef.org/newsletter/2010/0402_Eating-More-Chocolate-Associated-with-Fewer-Cardiovascular-Events.htm?source=search&key=chocolate

Do You Suffer from Hormone Horror?

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

Beginning at age 35 (yes, 35!), many women begin to experience symptoms of hormone imbalance. Progesterone is the first hormone that starts to decline. The first and most notable symptoms of declining progesterone are usually anxiety, mood swings, irritability and depression. These can be followed by insomnia, decreased libido, hair loss, bone loss and a decrease in HDL, or ” good” cholesterol. Between the ages of 45 and 50, the hormone estrogen begins to decline accentuating the symptoms described above and bringing more symptoms including night sweats, hot flashes, thinning skin, more wrinkles and frequent urinary tract infections.

Most women yearn for relief from this portfolio of unpleasant symptoms, so they visit their doctor and are often prescribed pharmaceutical drugs to treat the symptoms of their hormone imbalance. They are given something like Prozac for depression, sleeping pills for insomnia, or something like Xanax for anxiety. But the root cause — the hormone imbalance — is never treated, and the side effects from the toxic pharmaceutical drugs begin leading to other problems.

In other cases, the doctor might prescribe conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but many women are fearful of HRT because the media has done a good job of exposing studies showing conventional HRT can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer.

So what’s the answer?
If you listened to one of my recent radio shows (Dr. Colbert’s Health Report), you might already know the answer. The answer is bioidentical hormones.

Bioidentical hormone therapy is the natural form of hormone replacement. Unlike synthetic hormones like Premarin and Prempro, bioidentical hormones act in the body just like the hormones your body produces itself. Premarin, often prescribed for women with symptoms of low estrogen, is sourced from a pregnant mare’s (horse’s) urine. So while it may seem “natural,” it is not accepted by your body as if it were your own estrogen. Premarin has also been shown to elevate blood pressure and triglycerides, increase belly fat and cause gall stones. Bioidentical hormones, on the other hand, help restore physical and mental decline associated with hormone imbalance. They treat the root cause of the problem, thereby eliminating the symptoms. Estriol, a bioidentical hormone, has even been shown to help protect against breast cancer and is being given to breast cancer patients in Europe.

Are Bioidentical Hormones Just for Women?

Definitely not. Have you heard of “grumpy old man syndrome?” As some men age, they tend to develop a shorter fuse, hot temper and overall grumpy demeanor. This could be an indication of low testosterone. Symptoms of low testosterone include irritability, anger, loss of vitality, loss of competitiveness, decreased memory, depression, night sweats and hot flashes, increased abdominal fat and reduced muscle mass.

A decline in testosterone is usually associated with aging and occurs in both men and women. It is also interesting to note that statin drugs lower testosterone. Since one in four Americans over age 45 is on statin drugs, it is certainly not uncommon to find low levels of testosterone.

When testosterone remains imbalanced, it can lead to other problems like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and osteoporosis. It is important to find a doctor who specializes in bioidentical hormone therapy. The first thing your doctor should do is check all your current hormone levels. Women should start screening hormone levels at age 35. Men can start later unless symptoms are present.

Your doctor should also screen for cancer. Bioidentical hormones do not cause cancer. In some cases, like I said before, they actually help protect against cancer. However, if the person already has cancer, starting on bioidentical hormones might not be the best course of action.

Benefits of Living Omega 3 from Dr. Colbert

Living Omega is a totally natural source of the omega-3 essential fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), concentrated from cold water fish oil.

• Cardiovascular Health Including Blood Pressure, Lipids and Clotting
• Reducing Inflammation of Joints, Skin, Other
• Reducing Back and Neck Pain
• Support for Mental Health/Behavior
• Support for the Reduction of Allergic-type Response
Glucose and Insulin Homeostasis