Thoughts bouncing around like ping-pong balls in a blender when you are trying to go to sleep. Nights are fraught with strange dreams and restlessness. Mornings come way to soon since sleep has been elusive. Lather, rinse, repeat. After awhile, the combination of anxiety and sleeplessness can become a vicious cycle that will degrade your physical and mental health.
Anxiety can cause sleeplessness and sleeplessness can cause anxiety. But the results in the end are the same. Prolonged sleeplessness can lead to multiple symptoms such as irritability, headaches, aching muscles, memory loss, and confusion. Severe symptoms such as hallucinations and brain function damage have also been known to happen in extreme cases.
For those that suffer from this cycle, it can be hard to break it and get back to functioning in a healthy way. A quick review of the internet shows that many websites deal with trying to help people get enough sleep. With advice such as going to bed an hour earlier than usual or drinking a warm cup of milk, the assumption seems to be that it is easy to go to sleep under the right circumstances. However, when mental processes will not or cannot slow down, sleep is hard to come by under any circumstance.
The answer is to deal with the core problem. A visit to a primary care physician is a good place to start. A thorough examination needs to be done to eliminate any physical sources for sleeplessness such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. If no physical sources are found, then the doctor can help recommend how to deal with both the anxiety and the sleeplessness simultaneously.
Common sleep remedies range from simple home remedies to medical solutions. Drinking milk and going to bed early have already been mentioned. Other home remedies include soaking in a tub of warm water or avoiding caffeine. Homeopathic remedies include chamomile, lavender, and passion flower. Medical remedies can include sleeping pills and sleep therapy.
Anxiety can be dealt with in many ways. Non-medical methods include learning meditation and exercising regularly. There are homeopathic remedies to relieve anxiety such as kava or valerian. And there are medical remedies such as medication and therapy.
Whatever combination of therapies are recommended by your doctor, it will take time to break the cycle. Realize that you need to take care of yourself first during this time period. One of the leading causes of stress is putting others before ourselves all the time. However, taking care of yourself will help quicken your recovery.
Sources used in this article:
“The Ties that Bind: Anxiety & Sleep”, Anxiety Disorders Association of America
Christopher Hobbs, “Herbs and Natural Remedies for Insomnia”
Cathy Wong, “Natural Remedies for Anxiety”, About.com