Sleep Deprivation Increases Anxiety

Feeling anxious and nervous in the daytime even when a direct cause is lacking? Then look to your sleep habits and next-day results. Sleep deprivation can cause and also can worsen daytime anxiety.

“Sleep loss activates areas of the brain that are also activated during anxiety,” says Jack B. Nitschke, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, School of Medicine.

Dr. Nitzsche’s suggestions are the standard stuff: Get eight or nine hours of sleep and avoid all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed. He also suggests jotting down your anxieties on paper, creating a checklist against reality, so to speak.

One of the natural “cures” for anxiety is also used as a sleep aid, and that’s the herb kava. In a 2013 study, taking kava for six weeks was shown to ease anxiety for 26 percent of those reporting anxiety and participating in the study. Reportedly, the kava worked for up to six months thereafter.

Kava, however, is hard on the liver, so those who drink a lot, take statins or otherwise have liver damage problems should avoid kava.

The risks of inadequate sleep extend way beyond tiredness and anxiety, moreover. Sleep deprivation, regardless of the cause, can lead to poor performance at work or school, increased risk of injury and health problems.

In addition to anxiety and mood disorders, those with sleep disorders are risk for heart disease, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.

“Yikes!” you might proclaim as you are used to shrugging off your snoring and/or sleeping issues, but the associated health risks are indeed real. Therefore, it’s important to seek an evaluation of your sleeping problems and get both advice and any necessary treatment as soon as possible. The experts at The Snoring Center stand ready to help you, as do many sleep professionals.

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