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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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

No-Cook Herb Marinara Sauce

by Dr. Don Colbert
Adapted from What Would Jesus Eat? by Dr. Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

Add one can of organic low-salt tomato sauce to:

  • 2-3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

The sauce does not need to be cooked. Enjoy the benefits of raw garlic, onion and herbs. Serve over wild salmon for a heart-healthy meal, or over brown rice noodles. Organic ingredients are preferred.

Read about the benefits of marinara sauce here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/394604-is-marinara-sauce-good-for-you/