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Are worries keeping you from sleeping?

Bookmark and Share When you go to bed at night, you may be exhausted. But, if you often lie awake worrying about work, family, bills, you may have anxiety. "This type of anxiety is common, affecting 10% of the population. It may be caused by the death of a loved one, divorce, career change or stress," says Kathleen Ryan, MD, Virtua Health sleep specialist. "Often, these concerns wake you in the middle or the night or leave you lying in bed for hours without actually falling asleep." While some people use prescription and over-the-counter medication to turn the anxiety off and go to sleep, this is only a temporary fix. Dr. Ryan recommends getting to the root of the problem. Prescription medications such as Ambien, Sonata and Rozerem are short-acting agents that help those who have trouble falling asleep. Sonata can be helpful especially if you tend to wake up in the middle of the night and find you cannot get back to sleep. Two other medications, Lunesta and Ambien CR, help you fall asleep and stay asleep. However, Dr. Ryan states: "It's best to treat or manage what's causing your anxiety since these sleep medications are for short-term sleep problems and are not meant to be taken every night." Some people benefit from relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga or hypnosis, while others may need to seek out treatment for anxiety or depression. Also exercise can improve your ability to sleep, but should be done earlier in the day, not immediately before bed time. If you would like more information on sleep, Virtua's state-of-the-art SleepCenters in Marlton, Cherry Hill and Mt. Holly provide comprehensive services for diagnosing and treating sleep disorders. For information, call 1-888-Virtua-3.