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Coping With Insomnia And Anxiety

Serena Li -- Chronic lack of sleep is nothing to ignore, especially when compounded with anxiety. Extreme cases of insomnia and fatigue can severely affect your ability to perform in school and at work, and your quality of life.

Insomnia and anxiety go hand in hand for many people. Anxiety can lead to racing thoughts and a surge of adrenaline that make sleeping all but impossible. For others, the chronic fatigue that accompanies insomnia can lead to anxiety. Many people with insomnia long for restful, uninterrupted sleep but find it elusive. Over time, these related conditions begin to take their toll and cause the sufferer to feel groggy during the day and to have trouble focusing.

The dangers of self-medication

Many who suffer from these conditions attempt to self-medicate through the use of sleep aids. This is not an appropriate long term strategy. Many sleep aids are habit forming, meaning that your body may become dependent on them to fall asleep and stay asleep. In addition, using these medications can leave you feeling groggy during the day, which can be dangerous for those who must drive or operate machinery.

Other insomnia and anxiety sufferers try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Abusing alcohol or prescription pain killers are two of the most common forms of self-medication for those with anxiety and/or insomnia. Like sleep aids, alcohol and drugs can offer a temporary fix for the problems by calming your nerves and helping you sleep, but the long term consequences can be even more devastating to your physical and mental health than anxiety or lack of sleep.

Medical treatments

If you suffer from insomnia and/or anxiety, it is important to see a physician as soon as possible. Both of these conditions can severely affect your quality of life and your ability to function. Your physician will ask you a series of questions to try to determine the root cause of the problem. For example, if you began to feel anxious before you began to experience sleepless nights, the insomnia may just be a consequence of your anxiety. As a result, treating the anxiety with medication or therapy may alleviate the insomnia as well. Alternatively, if your anxiety stems from the insomnia, discovering and treating the cause for the insomnia, such as sleep apnea, may alleviate the anxiety. For others, the problems may have developed together or the sequence of symptoms may be unclear, in which case the physician may treat both conditions at the same time.

Home remedies

In addition to a physician's treatment for insomnia, there are several simple home remedies that you might try. Eliminating sound and sleeping in a darkened room may help some insomniacs. Others claim that trying to sleep just makes the situation worse, so they engage in a calming task such as taking a warm bath, watching tv, or reading until they feel sleepy. Drinking warm milk or chamomile tea may also help you sleep.

Anxiety can also be alleviated by some home remedies. Trying to relax is the most important thing you can do, especially if you feel that you are experiencing a panic attack. The symptoms of a panic attack include heart palpitations and difficulty breathing, which can lead to fainting if the problem is not alleviated. Laying down and listening to calming music can alleviate acute anxiety or panic attacks, as can engaging in a calming activity or hobby.

These conditions should not be taken lightly, however. Severe anxiety or insomnia that leads to problems functioning in your everyday life should be treated by a physician to ensure that you do not suffer damage to your overall health and well being.

Serena Li is a Web content contributor with Basic-Natural LLC, a socially conscious company dedicated to providing consumers with up-to-date information on the sustainability industry. For news, information, and everyday green living tips, please visit the company blog.

© 2013 Serena Li

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