Stress and anxiety can interfere with our ability to sleep well.
And so can nutritional deficiencies. Here are 4 that may help:
1. Calcium: This mineral has a calming effect on the nervous
system. It helps the body convert tryptophan-an
essential amino acid found in foods such as eggs
and turkey-into the neurotransmitter serotonin,
which modulates mood and sleep. Serotinin is
converted into melatonin, a hormone that helps
regulate the sleep cycle. It is also a good idea to
take calcium with magnesium since magnesium is
a muscle relaxant and the two minerals work
synergistically with each other.
2. Iron: Many people wake up from sleep with restless leg
syndrome. Often it is due to an iron deficiency
which is not uncommon among those on vegetarian
diets. If you suspect this may be the case for you,
get your iron levels checked. If they are low your
doctor will recommend the correct dosage of iron
3. Turkey: A 3 ounce serving of turkey has enough tryptophan
to help the body produce serotonin and melatonin.
4. Bananas: One banana has a good dose of Vitamin B6, which
helps to produce serotonin.
Helping Our Anxious Pets
Our canine and feline family members may also be prone to
anxiety and phobias. Storms and thunder, loud noises in the
home that are not common ( e.g. construction), strange
new people in the home, and conflict and violence among
family members are common stressors. Like humans, chronic
stress can also impair the pet’s immune system and overall
health. Here are a few ideas to help your anxious pet:
– The Safe Place: Have a dark, quiet and easy to run to place
for your pet to retreat to when he/she feels scared. Put a
soft blanket or favorite toy in this area. You can also turn on
a radio or the tv to help drown out the noise.
– Desensitize: During calm times play a CD of the offending
noise at a low volume so the animal can hear it but not so
it provokes anxiety. With time, slowly increase the volume.
At the same time give the pet a treat, so it associates the
noise with something positive.
– Medication: For severe anxiety or phobias the vet can prescribe
anxiety reducing medications such as xanax and valium.
Medication plus desensitization are often used together.
– Snuggies: Just as wrapping infants firmly in a blanket has a
calming effect, so the Anxiety Wrap, made of a fitted, lightweight
fabric is designed to provide calming pressure for dogs. A study
of its effectiveness is currently being conducted.
Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety by Robert Gerzon is a book I
have had on my shelf for over a decade and am now in the process
of reading it and I’m very glad I finally got to it. He divides anxiety into
3 types – toxic, natural, and sacred. Toxic is the destructive anxiety
that propels people into therapy. Natural anxiety is related to the
concerns and fears that most people have about getting through life
and achieving goals. Sacred anxiety is related to the deeper unknowns
in life and death, and the meaning and purpose of our lives. He discusses
the purpose of each of these types of anxiety and how to turn them into
opportunities for greater fulfillment and growth. I highly recommend it.
Carl Jung: The inner life, unexplored, will show up as fate.