Brand SpotlightYour Healthy Family


Your Healthy Family: How sleep, diet & exercise play a role in anxiety

Posted at 8:28 AM, May 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-31 08:28:10-04

NAPLES, Fla. — The David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health in Naples says sleep, diet and exercise can play a role in anxiety.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health challenges in our country.

“But a lot of individuals think, 'Oh, it's not a big deal. Everybody feels this. I can deal with it on my own,' and just move on," Jessica Liria, the Community Outreach Specialist for the Centers, said.

But the truth is, anxiety can snowball and impact other parts of our lives: our jobs, relationships, sense of self.

Liria said there are things we can do to manage, or even prevent, anxiety.

“Sleep, eat, and exercise are like the three most important preventative things that we can do," she said.

She said if we don't get enough sleep, we set ourselves up for failure the next day.

"We don't manage stress as well. We don't manage emotions as well. We don't respond to others as well," Liria said.

Most of us set an alarm to wake up in the morning, but Liria said to also set one at night at least an hour before you want to go to sleep so you know when it's time to wind down.

“Turn off the TV, go lay in bed, read a book. Working yourself down from having all those sensations that you felt through the day and giving that time to make sure you're getting a good amount of sleep," she said.

Liria also said it's important to have a balanced nutritious diet.

“Things like caffeine, sugar, fats and oils, those really take away from our body's ability to, again, manage emotions, because it's things that our body is not looking for. Our body needs healthy nutrition, it needs vitamins, it needs minerals, it needs things like protein, and fruits and vegetables," she said.

She said if we feed our bodies what they need, they'll treat us well in return. She also said exercise for our minds and bodies is helpful in improving anxiety. Especially activities that get us thinking critically.

"Looking for what intrigues me, what interests me, and keeping our mind very active and going in a healthy way,” Liria said.

She said physical exercise is a great way to relieve stress and manage your emotions.

"Even if it's just taking a 10 minute walk. But if we can incorporate those things into our daily lives, morning, afternoon, evening, whatever that looks like. Then overall, it really helps our brain and our body function properly together," she said.