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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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.

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