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Sleep specialist Janet Kennedy, Ph.D. tells you how to beat insomnia -- and how to get your kids to sleep better, too -- in these Howcast videos.
Hi, I'm Janet Kennedy. I'm a licensed clinical psychologist and sleep specialist in New York City. You can find out more about me and my work on my website, nycsleepdoctor.com. Sleep is really responsive to what's going on in your daily life and your mood is a big factor. Depression causes sleep problems. It can cause insomnia, it can cause frequent night waking, it can cause nightmares and it can also cause early morning waking. Some forms of depression also cause you to sleep too much. If you're feeling depressed, talk to a therapist or talk to your physician about getting some medication to improve your mood. Anxiety and stress also takes a toll on your sleep. Anxiety causes your body to release adrenaline which is a stimulant that keeps you awake at night because adrenaline is designed to keep you awake. Anxiety also causes your mind to race, and those racing thoughts not only make the adrenaline process worse, but they distract you to the point that it's very hard to relax. Worrying about sleep itself is a huge problem. Once people start having difficulty sleeping, the tend to get what we call performance anxiety and in the hours leading up to bedtime they become increasingly stressed and anxious about whether they're going to be able to sleep. These days, people have a really hard time unplugging, and creating a boundary between work and home. Creating that boundary gives you a chance to unwind and relax, to release all of the stress of the day and quiet your mind.