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Social Phobia: What is it exactly?     Sleep problems related to anxiety?   

Anxiety Begins in Childhood

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21 Things to Expect When Being Treated for Anxiety   

Anxiety: A Disorder or Normal Reaction to Life?   

Social Phobia for Beginners  

What Can Cause PTSD?  

Eight Helpful Tips in Dealing with Anxiety   

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Are We Looking at Anxiety Disorders the Wrong Way?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Cognitive and   Behavioral      Components     

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 Sleep problems related to anxiety?

 

anxiety disordersSleep problems may be related to anxiety according to a new study reported in Science Daily (November 2, 2007).  The study reported that sleep problems may be experienced by individuals for a period at least six months after stressful life situations that result in feelings of anxiety.   

The study focused on a population sample of 16,627 men and women without problems sleeping and 2,572 with sleep problems who participated in a five-year longitudinal observational cohort study.  The study was authored by Jussi Vahtera MD of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, Finland. 

 

At the onset of the study, measurements were taken of an individual's liability to anxiety, which was determined by a general feeling of stressfulness or hyperactivity.  Measurement of sleep problems was measured at follow-up five years later in relation to the occurrence of post-onset life events such as the death or illness of family members, divorce, financial difficulty and violence. 

The study found that liability to anxiety and exposure to negative life experiences were strongly associated with sleep problems among samples of men who seemed to have a liability to anxiety. The odds of sleep problems were 3.11 times higher for those who experienced a severe life experience as opposed to those who did not.  Among the group of men who were not liable to anxiety, only 1.13 experienced sleep problems.  For both men and women who were liable to anxiety, the odds for sleep problems for a period of zero to six months after divorce was 2.05 with a corresponding ratio of 1.47 for those who were not liable to anxiety. 

Dr. Vahtera stated that "This five-year follow-up showed that exposure to severe stressful events can trigger sleep disturbances in people with undisturbed sleep before the event.  Those liable to anxiety before the event seemed be at higher risk of post-event sleep disturbances compared with those not liable to anxiety.  The strength of this study is a study design that allowed the timing of pre-event predisposing traits and the occurrence of specific stressful events precipitating the onset of sleep disturbances.  Control for a large number of potential comfounding factors suggest that the observed associations were not explained by socioeconomic position, obesity, high alcohol intake or chronic medical conditions at study entry". 

The conclusion recommend by experts is that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep each night for good health and optimum performance.  They also recommend that adolescents sleep about nine hours a night, school-age children between 10-11 hours night and children in preschool between 11-13 hours. Individuals who believe they may have a sleep problem should probably consult their primary care physician or a sleep specialist. 

Adapted from Anxiety Linked to Sleep Disturbances-Science Daily (November 2-2007) by Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D Candidate

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