We all experience anxiety. A big event is coming up, an important essay is due soon, you’re looking for a new job; it all causes anxiety and stress. Anxiety is a natural human response and in some ways, our bodies need this reaction to react correctly in certain situations and circumstances. However, if we ignore our anxious emotions, they can become serious and cause big problems in our lives. Like any other emotion, such as anger, stress or fear, we have to learn how to control and understand how anxiety affects our quality of life including how it affects sleep.
How Anxiety Affects Our Body and Mental Health
Chronic anxiety can interfere with our everyday lives. It can change our emotions, make us feel unsatisfied and unmotivated. Changes in our behaviors and emotions are not the only consequences of anxiety. Anxiety has many unhealthy short and long-term effects on the body that we should recognize and understand before we ignore our anxious emotions in the future.
Panic attacks -Anxiety can cause serious panic attacks that can happen at any moment. These panic attacks can cause more symptoms, such as chest pain, heart palpitations, and lightheadedness. It can even cause a slight fever and make you feel warmer than usual.
Depression – This is a big effect that anxiety has on our body and brain. Anxiety increases your risk of depression and it can lead to many other mental health issues if ignored. Side effects of both anxiety and depression include feelings of guilt, hopelessness, dissatisfaction, and lethargy; social withdrawal and loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.
Breathing problems – Related to panic attacks, anxiety can cause breathing problems. It has been known to cause rapid or shallow breathing and this problem can become more serious during panic attacks.
Muscle aches and pains – Unexplained aches and pains have been known to be caused by chronic anxiety. This emotion affects our bodies in ways that we cannot even explain and it is important to control it and understand it.
Extreme fatigue – This strong emotion can cause you to feel completely wiped out various times throughout the day. It can also cause sleeping problems, which lead to more serious mental health problems.
Anxiety and Sleep Disorders
As you can see from the list above, anxiety causes many unhealthy effects to our bodies but one of the most serious side effects are sleep disorders. Sleep disturbances might seem harmless but they are incredibly dangerous and can have serious consequences to our physical and mental health. Like depression and stress, anxiety causes many sleep related problems that need to be treated as soon as any symptoms are experienced. Anxiety causes these sleep disorders:
Chronic insomnia – This sleep disorder causes difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and can cause people to not sleep at all in some cases, which can cause serious mental illnesses. A large percent of the population experience this disorder and a leading cause is anxiety. Chronic anxiety can cause insomnia in adults and teenagers alike. Fortunately, there are plenty of treatment options available to treat anxiety without medication including cognitive behavior therapy or CBT.
Nightmares – Anxiety and depression can cause repetitive nightmares that make it difficult to fall asleep or sleep soundly. Chronic anxiety has been shown to cause nightmares that can make you experience sweats, raised body temperature and panic attacks.
Overall lack of sleep – Anxiety can cause sleeping problems that can last long periods of time and can be hard to treat if ignored. It causes serious sleep deprivation that can affect the brain and body functions alike. Sleep disorders are not to be taken lightly and should be treated as soon as possible.
3 Healthy and Natural Ways to Calm Anxiety
There are countless ways to deal with anxiety but many of them can be very harmful to the body. Drugs, alcohol and other addictions are used as outlets in some cases, for anxiety, depression or stress, but they cause more bad than good. Also, if strong medications are not absolutely necessary, natural alternatives are much healthier for our bodies and are also very effective. The goal is to find something that helps with your anxiety because not everyone is the same, not all have the same solution to a problem.
Calming teas – Having a cup of tea might seem like a very simple solution to a very big problem but it is actually very effective. Many teas have calming and refreshing benefits and they are very easy to find and cheap. One of the goals of dealing with anxiety is taking it step by step. The moment you feel anxious, sit down, have a calming cup of tea and forget about what is making you anxious.
The best teas for anxiety relief are Chamomile. Matricaria recutita, compounds found in chamomile bind to the same brain receptors as strong relaxing drugs, such as valium. A cup of chamomile tea will calm your anxiety and even help with the sleeping problems anxiety causes. Green tea or L- theanine also calm anxiety due to the amino acids it contains. Having a cup of either of these teas will greatly improve your anxiety and stress.
Exercise – This super healthy remedy is good for the brain, safe and it is a powerful antidote to anxiety and depression. Exercising on a regular basis will improve your self-esteem and mood; it will even improve your sleeping patterns and allow you to sleep more soundly and for longer periods of time. It is recommended to try out various routines and types of exercises and find the one that is right for you, your schedule and your body. Exercise is one of the pillars for a healthy life and it will improve many parts of your life, including anxiety.
Lavender – These wonderfully sweet smelling flowers are not only beautiful; they have many benefits to the brain and body. The aroma of lavender has been shown to be calming and relaxing. The best way to receive the benefits of lavender is lavender essential oils. Lavender essential oils can be used topically on the skin or in a refreshing bath to calm anxiety. Put 3 to 5 drops of lavender essential oil in your bath and enjoy the relaxing sweet aroma of this amazing plant.
While looking for a solution for you anxiety, remember that you are not alone. Many people experience anxiety disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, depression and chronic stress which all can potentially prevent them from falling asleep at night. There is always a solution to a problem and you will find what is right for you to get rid of anxiety and live a happy and healthy life again.