Does your overactive brain keep buzzing all the time, not letting you fall asleep easily at night? Or do you find yourself constantly checking your phone, looking for a distraction while struggling to fall asleep in the wee hours past midnight? These symptoms, along with others such as panic attacks, inability to stay calm, feelings of fear or dread, and uneasiness are all clear signs of having anxiety issues. The National Mental Health Survey conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru in 2015-2016 reported many shocking mental health statistics in India. Among these was the revelation that 3.6% of the population in the country struggles with at least some form of anxiety disorders.
How is sleep related to anxiety?
Although the exact reasons behind developing an anxiety disorder are not fully understood, there are several factors that could contribute to it. These include a person’s experiences, lifestyle, environmental factors, stress, and medication. For some people anxiety is triggered because of emotional and mental stress, while for others it can be a hereditary problem. Every case of anxiety is different and is set off because of a combination of factors. But research has reported that irrespective of what causes anxiety, prolonged insomnia can exacerbate it.
Numerous studies in the past have established that anxiety causes restless sleep. Recent research, however, is attempting to establish the connection the other way around as well. Research carried out by Binghamton University suggests that frequent sleep disruptions are associated with an inability to get rid of negative thoughts. This, in turn, is believed to leave a person at risk of different types of psychological disorders, including anxiety. To understand how the duration and timing of sleep are associated with these disorders, however, further study is required. If this correlation is in fact proven to be correct, it might give psychologists and psychiatrists a way to treat anxiety by regulating the sleep pattern of their patients.
What precautions are needed to curb anxiety?
In this fast-paced world, everyone gets anxious at one point or the other. It may be difficult to diagnose anxiety disorders from a clinical point of view but if you know you are one of those who battle with anxiety every day, you should probably start taking action to control it. Lifestyle changes, among other factors, can play a major role in helping you achieve this. Listed here are some important measures that you should start inculcating in your everyday life from today itself:
- Practice sleep hygiene. 30 minutes prior to bedtime, ensure that your room is perfectly conducive to letting you fall asleep. Be it aroma or dim lights, design it your own way. Go to sleep early and stick to the same bed-time routine every day – weekdays and weekends!
- Include green vegetables and other healthy foods in your diet.
- Take out some time in the morning to meditate or exercise.
- Reduce the intake of caffeine, processed foods, and sugar.
- Avoid using your smartphone or other electronic devices in the hour before going to bed.
- If you are an introvert, start talking to those who are close to you and share with them your day-to-day activities.
- Get involved in hobbies that make you happy and content.
- Stop consuming alcohol and quit smoking.
Are there any herbal remedies for insomnia?
India has its roots in the vast knowledge of plants, right from the Vedic period. Nature around us has the solution to many health conditions that afflict us today. It is for this reason that ancient medical practices in India relied on plants and their extracts for the treatment of a wide range of diseases. But with a huge shift from herbology to allopathy, the modern-day approach to medicine and treatment has changed drastically. The change makes it seem like herbal remedies have almost been forgotten. However, many natural plant extracts have now been tested through modern scientific methods which show that they can help aid a huge variety of health problems. It is time that we are reminded of the healing power of these remedies, and that sleep problems are no exception to them.
People often struggle with how to treat insomnia, especially while refraining from allopathic medications that dominate the market. A few that have used allopathic medications in the past also believe that they tend to be too strong or habit-forming, leaving users almost dependent on them. Instead, those who struggle with sleep can now try innovative transdermal patches for restful sleep – the most suitable natural sleep supplement with no side-effects. This cost-efficient natural sleep remedy ensures a slow and smooth sustained release of its herbal ingredients through the skin, over several hours, thereby helping combat sleeplessness without making you dependent on it.
The wait for a non-habit-forming natural remedy to cure insomnia is over now! On the days you are feeling restless and anxious, this patch will give your brain the rest it deserves and helps keep your anxiety levels in check. So, if you’re struggling with sleep, you should go ahead and try this patch today.
Dr. Avani Shukla
Ph.D. in Molecular Neurobiology
International Max Planck Research School