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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When my mother underwent chemotherapy, we spent a lot of time visiting the phlebotomy lab for blood testing. I was always impressed by how easily the phlebotomist was able to find and puncture a vein to draw blood on the first try. I knew there had to be a method to it, and was astounded by how effortless and painless they made the process. It led me to research a lot about blood tests, from drawing to the actual screening. I've created this site to share what I've learned in the hopes of teaching others. The more you understand, the more control you can have over your own health care.

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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

Supplemental Treatments For When Your Anti-Anxiety And Sleep Meds Just Aren't Covering It

by Francisco Arnold

When you suffer from anxiety that keeps you awake at night, prescription medications can be very helpful. However, they are not always a miracle cure. There may still be times when you feel overly anxious or have trouble "turning your brain off" to fall asleep at night. At times like this, these supplemental treatments can help, and although you will want to check with your doctor to be sure, they should be safe to combine with the medications you are currently taking.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea has long been used for its sleep-inducing effects. A cup will make you feel cozy, calm, and relaxed, so you can have an easier time drifting off. This is a remedy your grandparents may have relied on before prescription sleep aids were so widespread. You can buy chamomile tea almost anywhere, but do yourself a favor and opt for a high-quality, loose-leaf variety rather than a brand that comes in little baggies. Loose-leaf chamomile teas taste better and are usually more potent, so you don't have to drink quite as much tea to notice an effect. Steep your tea for a full 10 minutes to ensure you get as many relaxing components into the cup as possible.

Rain Noises

Do you notice that on rainy nights, you have an easier time falling asleep? For some reason, the sound of rain falling in nature is soothing to the senses in a very primal way. While having someone stand on your garden roof is one option, a much safer choice is to find a website that plays rain noises on a loop. RainyMood.com is one example. As you lie in bed, just take deep breaths and listen to the sound of rain. Imagine you are walking through a rain forest or looking out across a field in a thunderstorm -- whatever makes you feel soothed and calm.

Exercise

When you struggle with anxiety, exercise can help promote sleep in several ways. First of all, exercise causes your body to release endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel good. Second of all, exercise makes you physically tired, which may make it easier to sleep. When you struggle with sleep, the best time to exercise is midday or early afternoon so that there are several hours between your workout and bedtime. (Exercise to close to bedtime, and you may still feel too energized from the workout to fall asleep.) Don't let yourself dawdle during the workout, either. Aim for intensity, and keep it going for at least 45 minutes.

Acupressure

Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but instead of placing needles in certain parts of the body, you just apply pressure to those points. You can perform acupressure on yourself, and there are several pressure points that can help you feel sleepy and less anxious.

One of these points in at the base of your wrist. Known as the inner gate, it is the depression between your wrist and the rest of your hand. Another is known as the shimen, which is located at the base of the foot right in front of your heel. A third is the anmien, located at the base of the skull just behind your ear. Apply pressure to these points, one at a time, using your finger. Count to 10, and release the pressure. You should start to feel calmer and ready to sleep.

If you are having trouble sleeping in spite of using prescription medications, try adding the remedies above to your routine. Consider talking to your doctor about your current meds and other options for anxiety sleep disorder treatments, too. There may be others you can try that are more effective for you, personally.

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