For some people, sleep comes easily. They climb into bed, get under the covers and are out like a light within ten or twenty minutes. They sleep soundly, peacefully, and through the night. It’s not fair. You’ve tried the earplugs, the sleep mask, the sleeping pills, and even some breathing techniques but you know, you just KNOW you’re in for another sleepless night. Anxiety and insomnia are very closely linked.
Are You Afraid You Won’t Be Able to Sleep?
It’s late at night and it’s time to go to sleep. Bleary-eyed and nervous, you look at your bed as a battleground. You turn the light off, try to get comfortable, and close your eyes. Your mind starts racing and soon your heart follows suit. No matter how many deep breaths you take or how many new positions you get into, you can’t get comfortable and you feel like you’re going to have a panic attack. You know if you don’t get to sleep, you’re going to be miserable tomorrow. This anxiety only serves to keep you awake. The more you think about not being able to sleep, the worse it gets.
End Sleepless Nights – Treat Anxiety and Insomnia Naturally
The best way to end sleepless nights is to get clear about your insomnia. Instead of seeing insomnia as this horrible monster that destroys your sanity, look a little deeper. Your insomnia is actually related to anxiety.
At some point in your life, you were unable to sleep. For a couple of nights and days you felt terrible. A couple of sleepless nights lead to higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol in your body, which made falling asleep the next night that much harder. Day after day the cycle perpetuated itself until you became afraid to sleep and afraid of insomnia.
When you get into bed tonight understand you might not be able to sleep well. You’re going to be uncomfortable and nervous but there’s something you can do to regain control. Meditate. This isn’t a spiritual or religious practice, this is just a way to retrain your brain. Close your eyes, get comfortable, and take a deep breath. Imagine your entire body slowly sinking into your bed. Your limbs are getting heavier and heavier, your breathing deeper and deeper.
When you notice racing thoughts, feelings of anxiety, or a desire to toss and turn, bring your attention back to your breathing. Block out anxious thoughts with repetitive phrases like, “I am calm and relaxed. All of the muscles in my body are limp, and loose, and lazy.” Do this from head to toe. “My head is calm and relaxed. All of the muscles in my head are limp, and loose, and lazy…” etc.
Breathe deeply and allow yourself to become as relaxed as possible. Understand that deep meditation and relaxation exercises have calming effects on the mind and body. For the first few nights, you may find yourself falling asleep only to wake suddenly, feeling anxious. When this happens, go back to your breathing and repetitive phrases. Ignore the impulse to jump out of bed and “give up” at this point. This is a brain retraining process and it takes time.
Tell yourself that unless you have to use the bathroom, you will stay in bed all night, regardless of whether or not you fall asleep right away. Think of your time in bed as a rest time where you can meditate, breathe, and relax. Eventually, your anxiety and insomnia will stop triggering each other and you will find you no longer fear having a panic attack that worsens sleepless nights.
More Help for Sleepless Nights
You can also ease your anxiety by adding a few supplements to calm your nerves. Oftentimes, underlying magnesium deficiency is a cause for anxiety and insomnia. A chelated magnesium supplement can help you enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep. Valerian is a hypnotic herb that helps calm your mind and body so sleep comes more naturally. L-theanine, a constituent of green tea, is another helpful calming supplement for insomnia and anxiety.
- Sleep Brainwaves System
The sleep brainwaves system is a system I discovered that uses a combination of soothing nature sounds and special brainwave frequencies that help your brain ‘shut off’ for the night. This brainwave entrainment system literally retrains your brain and helps you fall asleep within 20 minutes and stay asleep throughout the night.
You don’t have to just live with chronic insomnia or become addicted to dangerous synthetic sleeping pills. When you treat your anxiety and retrain your brain, you’ll go back to a state of balance where sleep just comes naturally.
It seems like every week you hear a horrific story about some “maniac” picking up a weapon and murdering a group of unsuspecting people. It’s happening in movie theatres, schools, shopping malls, and everywhere where crowds of people are gathered. What’s going on? Is this just the way things are now? Why are people crazy? The answer is shocking and it’s right under your nose.
Why People are Crazy
If you go to the doctor with a mental illness, you’re told you have a “chemical imbalance” and are given prescription drugs to control the symptoms. The problem with these drugs is they do nothing to address the underlying cause of your chemical imbalance.
Here are some common causes of modern mental illness you’ll never hear about from your doctor:
If you’ve been eating the Standard American Diet of fast food, boxed food, canned food, convenience meals, and instant anything for most of your life, your entire body chemistry has been altered. I’m always telling people to kick the junk food habit but I know it’s much easier said than done. Even though I preach about waking up and kicking it out of your life for good, it’s not very healthy to go cold turkey.
Junk Food is a Drug
Quitting any type of drug cold turkey can be very damaging for your health. This includes cigarettes, alcohol, prescription drugs, illicit drugs, caffeine, and junk food. For years or even decades, your brain chemistry has been used to one set or sets of chemicals to function and get through the day.
Right now, if you eat the Standard American Diet, you’re literally hooked on a drug. Heavily processed food is loaded with neurotoxins, carcinogens, mutagens, endocrine disruptors, and excitotoxins that alter the way your brain functions and the way your body feels.
Food additives like monosodium glutamate and high fructose corn syrup interfere with your leptin levels; hormones responsible for letting you know when you’re full. When you stop eating foods containing them, you go through withdrawal and become agitated, shaky, and anxious because your blood sugar is all out of whack and your body thinks you’re starving.
Don’t Quit Junk Food Cold Turkey
Since junk food is a drug, giving it up cold turkey will most certainly cause you withdrawal symptoms. Food additives like MSG, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, food dyes, etc. are all designed to be addictive and physically painful to stop eating.
Food manufacturers have designed these food-like products this way to continue selling their product. When you quit junk food cold turkey, you’ll likely experience fatigue, headache, nausea, irritability, anxiety, shakiness, and extreme food cravings.
Not only will this withdrawal make you feel terrible, it will make you feel as if there is no way you can cut junk food out of your diet. Within a day or two you’ll “cave”, binge out on an entire cake, and feel horribly guilty afterward.
This is no way to quit eating junk food. It’s like torture.
Quit Junk Food the Right Way
Getting rid of the junk food in your diet is one of the absolute best things you can do for your health. To do it the right way, start slowly. Cut one or two processed foods out of your diet each week, trading them in for healthier alternatives. For every snack cake you get rid of, eat an apple. For every instant soup you stop eating, prepare a fresh soup from scratch at home.
When you live a lifetime eating food-like products instead of actual food, you’ll have a lot of vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. One of the primary deficiencies will be healthy fat. The reason you’re hungry all the time and can’t stop craving junk food is because of the taste. Many salty, savory-flavored snacks mimic that flavor of meat and fat; foods your body naturally craves.
To cut down on junk food withdrawal symptoms, get plenty of healthy saturated fat in your diet. Start eating organic butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, and walnuts regularly. Despite what you’ve heard, saturated fat is good for your health. It’s the trans fats in processed foods you should be avoiding.
Anyone who eats more junk food than whole food is likely to have a severe magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is a vital mineral that is responsible for proper neurological function. A magnesium deficiency often causes anxiety, irritability, muscle twitching, and insomnia. A chelated magnesium supplement can help ease these feelings and prevent junk food withdrawal symptoms.
Just because you’re giving up junk food doesn’t mean you can’t ever snack again. Start reading the food labels on all the foods you usually buy. When you see how many foreign-sounding and unpronounceable ingredients are in your food, you’ll understand why putting them into your body could harm your health.
There are healthier alternatives to the bagged and boxed snacks you like in the health food aisle. Potato chips, protein bars, chocolate, candy, and soda found in the natural and organic aisle are made with far less ingredients and the ingredients they do use are much healthier.
While your body detoxifies from all of that junk food, you’ll likely experience a withdrawal symptom here and there. You might feel more tired than usual and a bit cranky. Drink plenty of pure filtered water and de-caffeinated tea to help flush your system of synthetic chemicals. Spend quiet time reading, meditating, and sleeping. Your body is doing a lot of repair work and that kind of thing takes time.
Don’t quit junk food cold turkey. I know what I’ve said in past posts and while some people have done it and been successful, the withdrawal symptoms are no fun and can be harmful to your health. Just being aware of the difference between food and food-like products is a huge step in the right direction. Go slow and go easy on yourself. You’ll get there. One step at a time.
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- “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Benjamin Franklin
- “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” -Hippocrates
- “The greatest wealth is health.” – Unknown
- “If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?” – Unknown
- “If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.” – Common Sense
- “Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.” – Josh Billings
- “From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health.” ~ Catalan Proverb
- “Mainstream medicine would be way different if they focused on prevention even half as much as they focused on intervention…” – Anonymous
- “The best and most efficient pharmacy is within your own system.” – Robert C. Peale
- “Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. There are a great many food-like items in the supermarket your ancestors wouldn’t recognize as food.. stay away from these.” – Michael Pollan
- “The part can never be well unless the whole is well.” – Plato
- “He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors.” – Chinese Proverb
- “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” – Thomas Jefferson
- “The groundwork of all happiness is health.” – James Leigh Hunt
- “A healthy body is a guest-chamber for the soul; a sick body is a prison.” – Francis Bacon
- “Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.” – Louis Pasteur
- “I am not my body. My body is nothing without me.” – Tom Stoppard
- “It is easier to change a man’s religion than to change his diet.”- Margaret Mead
- “Eating crappy food isn’t a reward — it’s a punishment.” – Drew Carey
- “No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.” – Maimonides
- “Each patient carries his own doctor inside him.” – Norman Cousins
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