August 7, 2012
Have you ever experienced tossing and turning because your mind is full of to-do lists? Or can you imagine yourself half-awake because you might have flunked your final exam? Have you spent countless nights unable to sleep because you’re business is going through a crisis? Sound familiar? These are just a few situations that describe the effect of anxiety.
A survey by the National Institute of Mental Health states that 40 million of the people who live in America suffer from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder is a an umbrella term for a variety of mental disorders in which severe anxiety is a salient symptom. Specialists say that this disorder stems from things that constantly stress us and eventually become a source of intense fear for us. Like with other illnesses, there are a lot of symptoms which we can associate with anxiety. The most common include chest pressure, discomfort in breathing, restlessness and lack of sleep.
How does it affect our sleep?
When we think of our problems and issues, especially those that we feel deeply about, our mind gets stressed out. Our body’s defense mechanism against this stress is to excrete certain chemicals. These chemicals help our mind and body cope with stress but if it is frequently occurring, we can suffer from palpitation and shortness of breath which will affect our sleep. Aside from the physical effects, our anxieties may also manifest themselves in the form of nightmares. As a result, we do not get enough sleep, we become irritable at day time and the vicious cycle of stress and anxiety will carry on to the next night.
How can you help yourself?
If you are experiencing these symptoms or maybe you simply cannot sleep at night, don’t be afraid to consult a doctor or a counselor to help you. Also, develop the self-control to park all your work, school or love problems at the door. Let your bed room be your sanctuary — relax your mind before you climb into bed. During day time, don’t overdose yourself with caffeinated drinks; instead of drinking soda or coffee, try drinking 8 glasses of water instead to rehydrate your body and flush out toxins.
Lie back, relax and have a good night’s sleep!
Reprinted with permission from the American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 4th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 1994:435–6.