We all know how lousy we feel after a terrible night's sleep. But did you know that sleep deprivation increases anxiety? Chances are, if you are a busy individual in today's world of packed schedules, you are not getting enough sleep. In Canada, one in three aged 35 to 64 report not getting enough sleep. How much sleep is enough? For adults aged 18 to 64, 7 to 9 hours is ideal. We should also note that sleep problems affect more than 50 percent of adults with generalized anxiety disorder.
In fact, it's a vicious cycle; lack of sleep leads to anxiety, and anxiety leads to lack of sleep.
But how does lack of sleep affect anxiety? When we sleep, our brains go through processes to "clean up the junk." These processes happen through the brain's glymphatic system. This system can be thought of as garbage disposal for our brain and nervous system. By clearing out the toxins that accumulate in the brain during the day at night, our brains can function clearly the next day. Our brains are responsible for many day-to-day functions such as learning, problem-solving skills, decision making, focus, and more. If our brains are not functioning optimally, you can see how anxiety can exist. For example, a disruption in our brain's ability to make a clear decision is enough to have us feeling anxious. A poor night's sleep will affect how the brain functions in all areas it is responsible for.
So, what can you do? Sleep better! Easier said than done, I know. I will now share the sleep hygiene tips that I use with my clients and some herbs and supplements that work well.
Tips for Better Sleep
Sleep Hygiene 101, aka sleep like a baby again!
- Keep regular sleep hours. Go to bed and rise at the same time every day, including weekends.
- Sleep in complete darkness. Use a sleep mask if you must.
- Sleep in a quiet room; use a white noise machine or earplugs if this is impossible.
- When getting up in the night to use the washroom, use a nightlight. Meaning do not turn on the washroom light; this light signals to the brain that it is time to wake up, causing falling back asleep to be complicated.
- No screens at least 2 hrs before bed. If you must, invest in blue light blocking glasses.
- Keep your room slightly cool.
- Avoid stimulants, preferably after lunch and onward. These include coffee, or any caffeine, smoking, and more!
- If you have pets that wake you, have them sleep in another room as hard as it is.
- Keep the bedroom for sleeping and "sexy time." This means no TV, no reading, no work, no anything other than sleep and sex! This helps the brain associate your bed with sleep.
- When you go to bed, if you cannot fall asleep in the first 20 mins, get up and do something; this also helps the brain associate your bed with sleep.
- Don't eat at least 3 hrs before bed; this helps us sleep as digestion takes a lot of energy and is a significant process on the body. Not to mention, this can cause indigestion and more, which can interrupt sleep.
- But if you regularly wake around 3 am, try a small snack of protein or fat or both before bed. Waking at this hour could be blood sugar levels dropping and awakening you.
- No intense exercise at least a few hours before bed. Exercise is energizing! Try yoga, stretching, or meditation instead.
- When first waking, get natural light in your eyes within the first half an hour. This helps reset the circadian clock, leading to better sleep, weight loss, increased energy, balanced hormones, etc.
- Create a bedtime routine; this allows the body to know, hey, it's time for bed! It can be a warm Epson salt bath, a cup of tea, your fave self-care, meditation, gratitude journaling, anything you find relaxing.
Supplements for Sleep
To sleep well, both your body and brain must be relaxed; these suggestions assist in doing this. Start with one and find what works best for you.
- lemon balm, valerian, chamomile are all amazing herbs that promote relaxation and can be drunk in tea form before bed
- Herbaland's Sleep Plus gummies contain three of my favorite sleep "helpers." Melatonin, your body's natural sleep hormone. L-theanine, an amino acid that calms the mind. Lemon balm, as mentioned above, is a herb that promotes relaxation.
- Herbaland's Calm Naturally contains L-Theanine as well! As well as magnesium, it works by activating neurotransmitters that calm the body and mind. And GABA, which inhibits neural activity, aka helps your mind to relax.
A good night's sleep is vital for more than anxiety control. Still, many of us are affected by anxiety, and knowing something as simple as working towards getting enough sleep can help and eliminate anxiety is reason enough to chat about it. Do you suffer from poor sleep and anxiety? Try the tips above to be on your way to a good night's sleep. Or maybe a loved one or friend you know does; if so, please share this information with them.
Sweet dreams, everyone!
Featured Blogger: Michelle Vysohlid, Holistic Nutritionist
I'm Michelle, the founder of Eat Well with Michelle & Find Wellness. I am a Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for holistic health & living and sharing how easy this lifestyle can be. I love educating my clients and audience on valuable and practical ways to find wellness in their lives. I will show you how you can heal and thrive one meal at a time! My main focus in practice is gut health, hormones, and metabolic syndrome. Learn more here.
Please reach out to me on social media as I love meeting new friends worldwide that share the same love for living with intention. Hope to hear from you friends!