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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Anxiety and Stress Disorders
Lack of Sleep
I am a middle aged female. I just recently moved to an apartment as a separation from my husband. I rarely get to see my son or daughter and I get hardly ANY sleep at night. I also work and wake up at around 6 o`clock. My refrigerator has 3 gallons of ice cream and mostly frozen dinners or already prepared ones. I can`t sleep at night. Is it just stress or can you give me any advice?? Also, is there any advice you have so that I can change my diet to more healthy eating???
Sounds like there is some significant stress in your life, and maybe some depression, too. I'm repeating below a previous answer I gave about some ways to deal with stress:
Certainly, when we are under stress, we suffer both emotionally and physically. While everyone will experience stress in their lives, some people do seem better equipped to handle it than others While some people seem to naturally handle stressful situations without letting it "get to them," in reality, it is a combination of both natural and learned skills that help us deal with stressful times. While we can't change the temperament we were born with, or medical problems we may have, we can all learn better ways to handle stress.
When people feel overwhelmed, they may find it difficult to sleep, they may lose their appetite (or want to eat everything in sight), find it hard to concentrate and even seem to forget things more often. When these symptoms last for many weeks, and especially if they are associated with sadness, tearfulness and a loss of interest in things, then a person might have depression, and should see a mental health counselor or primary care physician for an evaluation.
Healthy ways of dealing with stress can decrease uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms. Of course, actively working to decrease external stressors is helpful, but sometimes you have no control over a situation. Remembering and following some of the following steps may help you improve your ability to survive stressful times more successfully:
- Allow plenty of time for sleep, and practice good "sleep hygiene." That means sleeping in a comfortable place, no caffeine or alcohol before bed and getting up at a regular time each morning (regardless of how well you slept the night before).
- Get some regular exercise almost every day for at least 30 minutes. It could be a walk around the block or a work-out at the gym, but get up and move. Don't, however, exercise within 1 - 2 hours of going to bed.
- Eat healthy -- remember lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Try to avoid lots of fatty foods and sugary foods.
- Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water. Limit caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
- Avoid mood altering drugs like alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs.
- Be with people. The strongest factor that separates those who deal with stress well from those that don't is the presence of a strong social network of friends and family. Being with these people, talking to them, spending time with them, doing for others and letting others help you is the the most important thing you can do to get through stressful times.
Nancy Elder, MD
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati