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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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.