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Dealing With Anxomnia
The main issues that concern nearly 40% of Americans are their health, career and finances. Moreover, more than 43% feel that life generally becomes anxiety-provoking with constant worries about the future. People worry about their ability to afford a house, pay off debt, not earn enough to live on, and even find and keep a job. However, the biggest anxiety triggers are not the above mentioned topics, but the inability to sleep properly.
Anxiety and sleep go hand in hand. Sleep deprivation could cause anxiety and at the same time anxiety could also cause sleep deprivation. This is called anxomnia. However, there are ways to control the situation. Some of these ways are:
- Soothing the racing brain – A racing brain can be brought to rest by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness, a therapeutic technique, is the art of focusing one’s thoughts on the present situation and calmly acknowledging one’s feelings. This can be achieved through consistent practice and patience. Racing thoughts can exhaust a person by making them feel tired. Mindfulness can bring a lot of respite, calm the mind, and induce sleep.
- Use scientifically proven herbal remedies – Consumption of scientific herbal remedies, such as valerian, is also known to be helpful. Valerian contains compounds that reduce anxiety, but it doesn’t make you groggy.
- Use military precision to drop – This technique is used by the US military to fall asleep in less than two minutes in very stressful situations. In this technique, one is supposed to relax the muscles of the face, including those around the eyes, jaw, and tongue. Next, drop the shoulders, followed by the upper arm and forearm to one side. After that, one is supposed to exhale while relaxing the chest and legs going down from the hips to the thighs and then to the feet. Then one should say “Don’t think, don’t think” over and over for at least 10 seconds until the anxious thoughts stop distracting the person and they can fall asleep.
- Breathe deeper and slower – Breathing deeply and slowly can help a person fall asleep faster if they tend to wake up during the night. When we breathe shallowly, we breathe through the chest. It is therefore important to breathe deeply through the diaphragm. This can be achieved by placing one hand on the chest and the other on the stomach. Now, aim to inhale through the nose so that the stomach rises and when exhaling, the stomach should lower. The focus should be on drawing more air into the abdomen because deep breathing triggers the parasympathetic nervous system which supports the anxiety response associated with anxious feelings, inducing sleep.
- Correct mineral and amino acid deficiencies – Nocturnal awakening is often associated with magnesium deficiency. Therefore, one should do the required tests and ask the doctor to prescribe them magnesium supplements. 5-HTP is another helpful nutrient known to relieve sleep issues. It is prepared from tryptophan in the body. Once ingested, 5-HTP is converted into serotonin and melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone, inducing sleep and alleviating symptoms of anxiety.
- Become a little less mobile – Constant use of laptops, tablets and smartphones can also add an extra layer of stress. Therefore, one should refrain from using them during meals and turn off all appliances at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
Apart from this, having lighter meals in the evening, listening to soothing music, reading a book, dimming the lights and adjusting the room temperature to a comfortable degree can also help to fall asleep without feeling anxious.
Seek help for anxiety
Sometimes following all the self-help methods a person knows doesn’t help them manage their anxiety symptoms or fall asleep. In such conditions, it is important to seek professional help as it is quite possible that insomnia is caused by other underlying factors that one might not be aware of. Meeting with a licensed mental health therapist ensures that all of these causes are determined and a mental health treatment plan is designed accordingly.
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