Anxiety & Sleep Disorders in the Trump Era

Anxiety & Sleep Disorders in the Trump Era

Anxiety is on the rise in America. According to a poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association (2018), almost 40% of Americans are more anxious this year than they were last year. Americans reported their sources of anxiety were largely due to safety, health, and finance concerns. This is not surprising given the result of the 2016 presidential election. Under the Trump Administration, it is understandable why anxiety might be on the rise. His policies reducing gun control pose threats of increased domestic gun violence and/ mass shootings. His tweeting of insults directed toward other powerful leaders and discussions of nuclear weapons pose a threat to national security. His immigration policies and anti-immigrant rhetoric have caused a surge in hate crimes and pose a threat to the ability for legal and illegal immigrants to continue living in America safely. Further, his efforts to repeal Obamacare, increase concerns regarding affordable healthcare options. During this uncertain time period, it is understandable that people are exhibiting not only anxiety symptoms, but also symptoms of sleep disorders.

Sleeping Disorders

Sleep disorders are comorbid with anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders can cause sleep disorders, and new research suggests that chronic sleep disorders, such as chronic insomnia, can also lead to anxiety disorders (Anxiety and Depression Association of America, n.d.).

Most Common Sleep Disorders

  • Insomnia
    • Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by having poor sleep quality due to one or more of the following: difficulty falling asleep at night, difficulty falling asleep again after waking in the middle of the night, and waking earlier than planned.
  • Sleep apnea
    • Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by a partial blockage in the upper respiratory system that results in snoring and an inability to experience deep phases of sleep during the night necessary to avoid tiredness during the day.
  • Restless leg syndrome
    • Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by a persistent need to move one's legs which can keep someone from acquiring sufficient sleep.
  • Narcolepsy
    • Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by the brain's inability to control its sleep/wakefulness cycle. Symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), sleep paralysis, cataplexy, hallucinations, and disturbed nocturnal sleep

Seeking Help for Problematic Sleep Patterns and Anxiety Symptoms

If you, or a loved one, is an immigrant experiencing sleep problems and/or underlying anxiety it is important to seek help to treat sleep disordered symptoms. Treating sleeping problems can improve quality of life and reduce anxiety symptoms significantly. Working to treat problematic sleeping patterns can help boost energy, work performance, and focus, while decreasing irritability, forgetfulness, aggression, impulsive behaviors, and depression (Phillips, 2015). Additionally, treating problematic sleeping patterns can improve your physical health. Maintaining a proper sleep schedule with little-to-no sleep disruptions throughout the night decreases risk for the following conditions: heart disease, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and obesity (Anxiety and Depression Association of America, n.d.). Dr. Joseph Giardino is a bilingual psychologist with advanced experience working with immigrant populations. The cognitive-behavioral techniques he utilizes to help clients improve sleep quality have strong empirical support.

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