What causes insomnia, anxiety, and stress?
The cause of stress, anxiety, and insomnia depends on each one of us. Sometimes you can point at an obvious trigger, but maybe you need to look through and evaluate what changes you are going through and how they are affecting you. Even so, it might be challenging to pinpoint the cause, but here is a list of causes that most of us go through at some point:
Starting a new job can be stressful, especially if you’re doing something new and it feels challenging.
Moving or starting a new phase in your life. For example, you could feel very anxious after moving away from your family to start college.
Injuries and disease. In this case, it is physical stress, but you may feel it in your emotions as well.
Chronic health issues, mainly if they cause a limitation or affect your quality of life.
Health problems in your family or a recent loss of a family member
Changes in your immediate family, such as recent marriage or having kids
Not having time to complete your schedule or being against the clock
As a result, you may start displaying stress and anxiety symptoms. They are initially emotional symptoms such as nervousness or restlessness. You could feel difficulty concentrating or become irritable. But the symptoms can be felt and measured in your body. For example, rapid breathing and a fast heartbeat, muscle tension, sweating, or a very strong headache.
Feeling nervous gives you an intense headache, and you keep having problems despite using over-the-counter painkillers. These symptoms won’t be gone if you don’t treat the root cause.
Natural treatment based on infusions and herbs can be maintained for a very long time without side effects. It does not require a prescription, either. These herbs have anxiolytic properties that stabilize your brain chemistry instead of making aggressive changes. You can try one of these or a combination:
Holy basil: Used for mood support in Ayurveda tradition and particularly helpful for depression and anxiety
Chamomile: One of the best insomnia natural remedies. It soothes the body and mind, especially in hot infusions.
Lavender: An excellent herb for stress relief, either as an essential oil or in oral administration.
Lemon Balm: Induces calmness in people under chronic stress. Thus, it is an excellent stress management tool.
Passion Flower: A powerful anxiety reliever used before surgery and in patients with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder
Withania: An alternative treatment that reduces stress hormone levels and works as a supplementary sleep aid
Ginger: A potent spice that normalizes your serotonin levels and provides sustainable mood support
Bacopa: Used in Ayurveda medicine to treat anxiety and some types of epilepsy disorders.
Nutrients do not have healing properties of their own, but they can trigger anxiety problems when they are lacking. Thus, I recommend getting your handful of these essential nutrients:
Magnesium: Particularly useful in patients with panic attacks and phobias. It has been tested in generalized anxiety disorder.
B complex: Improves cognitive performance and relieves depression symptoms in case of B vitamin deficiency.
Tryptophan: An essential nutrient that converts into the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is critical for emotional health
L-theanine: An excellent stress relief nutrient that modulates brain excitation in stressful situations
Yes. Duh. Breathing. It truly works. You can make it simple and take five or ten slow deep breaths when feeling stressed out. You can also use one of the evidence-based methods, my favorite one, called 4-7-8 breathing. To practice this:
· BREATHE IN to a count of FOUR
· HOLD your breath to a count of SEVEN
· EXHALE to a count of EIGHT
The COUNT is NOT in seconds, unless you want it to be that. The 4-7-8 COUNT is your own timing. Why does this work? Breathing in oxygen and holding it allows for increased time for gas exchange (IE oxygen goes out into the body and carbon dioxide comes in for “waste” removal). The longer exhalation allows the carbon dioxide to be released. Too much carbon dioxide in the body tells our brain we don’t have enough oxygen (called hypoxia). This activates our sympathetic nervous system and puts us into fight or flight mode, which can exacerbate and cause anxiety. Working to restore the oxygen and get rid of the carbon dioxide simply by breathing can reduce anxiety on a metabolic level. Try it.
Progressive muscle relaxation (or as I like to call it, Tense and Let Go). This can be done anywhere, anytime and lying down or sitting up. I really like it at nighttime when I’ve gotten in bed too wound up to fall asleep immediately. It’s my alternative to counting sheep.
To practice this:
Starting from the bottom, gently curl your toes and squeeze enough to cause contraction but not too much to cause a cramp; hold for a count of FIVE and deliberately RELEASE
Contract your lower and upper leg muscles; hold for a count of FIVE and deliberately RELEASE
Contract your pelvic floor, glutes and abdominal muscles for a count of FIVE and deliberately RELEASE
Curl your hands into a fist and squeeze squeeze squeeze for a count of FIVE and deliberately RELEASE
Scrunch your face up like you just ate a lemon and hold for a count of FIVE and then deliberately RELEASE
At any time you can just practice with your hands or your abdomen or your feet or all at the same time. What I love so much about this is, I am consciously and physically creating a sensation of stress in my body and I am then consciously and physically relaxing that sensation. It works. It really does.
Finally, your treatment will only be complete when you adopt a few lifestyle recommendations. They stabilize your mood and sometimes relieve mental health problems. I recommend:
Exercising regularly: Exercise is a reliable stress management method. It relieves tension while releasing endorphins in the middle of the session.
Staying clean of substances: Staying clean from tobacco, alcohol, and drugs can also help you reduce cravings and a stressful withdrawal syndrome.
Mindfulness and meditation: An essential practice to maintain your emotional health and stay in the present moment.
Yes, we do have increasing causes of stress and anxiety in our modern world. But you also have more than enough methods, nutrients, and lifestyle recommendations to counter this influence. For example, if you need to control your anxiety during the day, you have our Cya Stress Herbal tea, a blend infusion with ginger, withania, rose petals, and fennel. You can also consume Cya Stress as a herbal tonic to clear your mind and improve your cognition. It has Withania and Bacopa, but also Gotu Kola, Codonopsis, and Skullcap. A Relaxing Nights Sky is an excellent tea if you’re about to go to sleep. It contains Chamomile, Lavender, Holy Basil, Lime flowers, Lemon balm, and Passionflower.
When you’re using these natural blends, remember that herbs and nutrients are safer but require constant use to experience for yourself their true potential.
Contact your provider if these suggestions do not help and your negative emotions are persistent and becoming too frequent or strong to cope with, especially if you:
Have a history of depression or anxiety needing prescription medication
Are having trouble functioning
Are eating or sleeping too much or too little
Have frightening thoughts
Experience severe oscillation of moods between wild elation and despair
Feel at risk for harming yourself or others
Such severe symptoms require psychiatric evaluation and often medication to prevent or treat a more serious illness.
Do not take any herb or medication before discussing it with your provider. Do not take any prescription anti-anxiety or anti-depressant drug unless you are closely supervised by your psychiatrist.