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Non-Medication Approaches for Managing Anxiety and Sleep Disorders

— July 25, 2023

Even if these approaches are very simplistic, they can still deliver big results and big changes to a suffering individual.

We all experience episodes where we feel anxious or cannot fall asleep. Anxiety and sleep disorders are some of the most common mental health problems. While there are medications like ketamine services that can ease them, sometimes the simplest remedies are worth trying. Methods that improve the mind but don’t need medication can also benefit you a lot.

In this article, we’ll explore the non-medication approaches for dealing with sleep problems and anxiety.

Anxiety and Sleep Disorders: An Overview

Before we head to the non-medication approaches to dealing with sleep disorders and anxiety, let’s cover these two first. First up is anxiety. Sufferers of anxiety experience sensations or feelings of fear, dread, and uneasiness. People with anxiety are also restless and tense and tend to have fast heartbeats.

In comparison, sleep disorder is a collective term used for various sleeping problems. They can range from apnea and narcolepsy to insomnia. Sleep disorders are also linked to both physical and emotional issues in an individual.

Non-Medication Approaches for Sleep Disorders

If ever your appointment at a TMS Massachusetts clinic didn’t feel enough to address the sleep issues you’re having, you can try these methods instead. These are some of the most-used non-medication approaches to solve sleep problems. 

Here are some of the non-medication approaches, as listed:

1. Meditation

The mindful practice of meditation uses slow and steady breathing while you’re usually sitting in a quiet area. It’s revealed that meditation is an excellent answer to dealing with insomnia and bad sleeping patterns. This makes meditation an attractive alternative to biotherapies.

The best way to use meditation is through conducting short sessions either in the morning or evening – usually up to 15 minutes long. That duration of meditation should be enough to clear your mind and make it prepared for rest.

2. Routine Exercises

Exercises are also a proven non-medication solution to solving sleep issues. Even a simple aerobic or strength routine exercise can improve your sleep quality. On top of that, exercise also improves your mood, gives you more energy, and promotes weight loss. If you intend to add exercises to your daily routine, it’s recommended that dedicate 20 minutes of exercise.

Even that 20 minutes used for exercise can go a long way in improving your sleep quality.

3. A Relaxing Massage

Massages are another good alternative to biotherapies if you’re looking for non-medication sleep disorder solutions. Studies reveal that massages can improve the quality of your sleep as it targets parts of the body that are tensed up. By using massages on those areas, it sends signals to the brain that tells it to calm down and relax.

As a result, every end of a massage session has the person feeling all relaxed and ready for another round of rest.

4. Lavender

Lavender has a history of being used as a herbal remedy for sleep disorders and pain. Usually, it’s effective when ingested in the form of lavender oil capsules or tea. However, other methods such as aromatherapy may also work in promoting better sleep quality. You can either smell the lavender essential oils, place them in a diffuser, or spray the oils on your bed.

If lavender isn’t available to you, the closely-related mint plants can act as a suitable substitute. But, they have a different aroma though they bring the same benefits.

Non-Pharmacological Methods for Anxieties

Now that we’ve covered what non-medication methods can address sleep problems; let’s move on to the ones that can deal with anxiety. Some of the methods employed in alleviating anxiety without medication have been covered earlier – which are exercises and meditation. What we’ll cover here are the ones meant exclusively to solve anxiety.

With that said, here are some of the non-pharmacological methods to remedy anxiety:

1. Dietary Changes

Components of a healthy diet; image by Justinegal3191, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Components of a healthy diet; image by Justinegal3191, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Magnesium is a mineral present in our body that’s responsible for our capability to relax. A deficiency in this mineral can result in anxiety, depression, and also sleep disorders. A lack of vitamin B and calcium may also contribute to aggravating anxiety problems. Diets that are rich in these nutrients and minerals are cereals, leafy green vegetables, and dairy products. Make sure to consume them to lower your anxiety. 

2. Cognitive & Behavioral Therapies

Cognitive and behavioral therapies may require you the help of a psychologist to make this successful. What you’ll need to do here is that you’ll restructure your way of thinking. In Cognitive therapy, you try to be more positive towards yourself. You also practice positive self-talk and self-affirmations to remedy anxiety.

Whereas in behavioral therapy, you will have to confront what makes you anxious through exposure until you’re desensitized to them.

3. Acceptance & Commitment Therapies

Another therapy that’s a great non-medication alternative to ketamine treatments is acceptance and commitment therapy. Just like the previous method covered earlier, it will need the help of a psychologist to ensure success. As the name implies, it uses acceptance and mindfulness to help the patient cope with anxiety and other unwanted thoughts or feelings.

For example, an anxious patient is insecure about their flaws and quirks. The psychologist will give them mental exercises to help them accept that those quirks are a part of them. This therapy has shown a degree of success wherein patients who underwent A & C Therapy improved. The results were comparable to that of traditional cognitive therapies.

4. Self-Hypnosis

Another form of non-medication remedy for anxiety that’s showing success is self-hypnosis. This method of treatment is also similar to guided imagery under cognitive therapy. The twist is that self-hypnosis also derives elements from positive affirmations and meditation.

The anxious patient must place themselves in a quiet and relaxed place. They’ll then need to breathe deeply and picture themselves in a quiet and peaceful place. The next step is that the patient needs to engage with the pictured environment. For example, imagining themselves on a calm and serene coastline. The last step in self-hypnosis is repeating a positive affirmation to themselves, similar to a mantra.

Bottomline on Non-Medication Approaches

Non-pharmacological methods in treating sleep problems and anxiety are an excellent alternative to medications. They become an option if the previous treatment or therapy didn’t work for you. The methods can be as simple as exercises at home or meditation up to psychotherapy where you’re given guidance to remedy these problems.

Even if these approaches are very simplistic, they can still deliver big results and big changes to a suffering individual.

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