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Health & Balance

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Your 9-Point Health Bailout Package

Stressed by the Economy? Don't Let It Wreck Your Health

4. Your sleep is suffering.

Stress is a well-known sleep wrecker, and Michael Breus, PhD, ABSM, WebMD's sleep expert, is already hearing from patients who link their sleep problems to financial stress. That doesn't just include his patients.

"Some friends have made some recent comments to me that they have never had sleep problems before and now they are," Breus says in an email.

Breus offers these tips for getting your sleep back on track:

  • Keep a worry journal. "Take a blank piece of paper and write your concerns on one side and then one solution on the other," says Breus.
  • Relax before bedtime. Breus suggests a "hot bath, relaxing music, yoga, sex, exercise, whatever works for you."
  • If you wake up in the middle of the night, consider counting backwards from 300 by threes. "I know it sounds a bit weird, but you cannot think of anything else and it is so boring you should fall back asleep. If you get to zero, get up and go into another room until you're tired," says Breus.

5. You've been snappish lately.

Basic self-care -- sleep, healthy food, and exercise -- should help your mood. Beyond that, tweaking your routine might help, notes Ruge.

Ruge recommends simple rituals when you get home, like changing out of your work clothes into casual clothes and taking a few minutes on your own before interacting with others. He also suggests communicating with your partner throughout the day, "so there's no blindsiding" with bad news at the end of the day.

"It's a good relationship that manages stress well," agrees Charles Raison, MD, clinical director of the Mind-Body Institute at Emory University's medical school. "Couples that can talk are the ones that are going to make it," Raison says.

6. You just want to go home and shut the door.

Don't get too isolated.

"If your business life is overwhelmed by interpersonal contact and you know by experience that an hour or two alone at the end of the day makes you feel a ton better than whatever your social options are, then you should honor that and do that and not be compulsively social," Raison says.

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