November 30, 2020 5 min read

We’ve all been there. You get out of bed feeling like your eyelids are made of lead and that you may have inadvertently stepped into the path of oncoming traffic at some point during the night. You tossed and turned, lay wide-awake in your bed, longingly begging your body to JUST GO TO SLEEP.

Insomnia or even just poor sleeping patterns can wreak havoc on your mental health. Not only do you feel irritable and lousy when you don’t get enough sleep, but you could also set yourself up for depression and anxiety.

That seems backwards, doesn’t it?

While it’s true depression and anxiety can often lead to poor sleeping habits, when you consistently lose out on a solid night’s rest due to poor choices throughout the day or insomnia, research suggests it’s also vice versa. According to one researchstudy, insomnia quite often leads to depression.

Depression often goes hand-in-hand with anxiety. Anxiety can lead to poor sleeping patterns. Poor sleeping patterns can lead to stress. Stress leads to poor sleeping habits.

See where we’re going with this?

Round and round we go, in a horrible, never-ending, exhausting cycle.

That’s depressing to think about. What’s even worse - according to the Sleep Foundation, somestudies reveal that up to 60% of adults have chronic insomnia.

But don’t lose sleep over it.

We’ve put together some ideas and tips to get better sleep, beat insomnia, and reduce anxiety and your risk for depression naturally.

Beat Insomnia with Tip #1: Step Away From the Screens

It’s no secret screens surround us. Think about how many more electronic devices with screens you’re exposed to than you would have been just 40 years ago! Or even ten years ago.

Laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, oh my! So why are screens the enemy to sleeping better?

It’s not the screens themselves. It’s the harmful blue light emanating from the endless scrolling of social media, Netflix binges, and hours in front of your computer at work.

Photo of a laptop, tablet, and smartphone on a table.

While it’s not practical to ask you to spend less time working (although you may welcome it), it’s wise to limit screen usage, especially in the nighttime hours. Basically, blue light is a trickster, making your body believe it’s still daytime.

Just like natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm in check, exposing yourself to dim light when it’s dark out suppresses the very hormone that influences that lovely rhythm.

What’s that hormone? Why it’s the all-important melatonin.

And less melatonin means less sleep for you.


 

Circadian rhythm: Your body’s natural 24-hour rhythm that occurs even in the absence of light.


Can’t bring yourself to limit screen exposure? Try some of these tips to reduce your blue light exposure:

  • Invest in some stylish blue light glasses. You can add blue light blocking technology to your prescription,, or you can pick up a pair without any prescription at your local pharmacy. Bonus: If you don’t usually wear glasses, people will tell you that you look smarter! (Thanks a lot.)
  • Install an app on your computer or phone that blocks blue light.
  • If you can’t resist the screens, try using “nighttime mode”.
  • Make your bedroom a screen-free zone.

Sleep Better With Tip #2: Take a Closer Look at What You’re Putting In Your Body

Caffeine

The obvious I-use-it-to-get-me-through-the-day fuel source is, you guessed, caffeine. Whether you fill your tank with a good ‘ol cup of joe (or six), have a love affair with the soda vending machine, love yourself some dark chocolate, or enjoy the ever-so-popular energy drink, be careful. While caffeine can give you a great pick-me-up, too much can be damaging to your sleep cycle.

Give yourself a caffeine curfew. You can test the waters and start by cutting yourself off at a given time in the afternoon. If you still find yourself lying awake in a fit of insomnia, back up the time you have your last caffeine fix by an hour to see if it helps.

Alcohol

Sure, a glass of wine or two can help you relax and feel sleepy for bed. You’d think this would be an excellent insomnia treatment, but the opposite is actually true. Because alcohol suppresses melatonin production during your sleep cycle, your circadian rhythm is disrupted. (There’s that science-y word again.)

Melatonin isn’t the only hormone affected by alcohol, though. When consumed at night, alcohol has been shown to decrease the natural production of human growth hormone (HGH), which also plays a major role in, you guessed it, your circadian rhythm.

Supplements

You don’t have to ingest a pharmaceutical cocktail before bed to sleep better. There are excellent natural supplements that might just be part of the insomnia treatment you’re looking for.

  • Melatonin - But of course! Melatonin is our body’s “sleepy hormone”. With today’s stressful schedules and inundation of blue light, you might not be getting enough. Just 2 mg of melatonin has been shown to help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.
  • Magnesium - Insomnia is often the cause of low magnesium. Because this important nutrient increases Gamma Aminobuttyric Acid (GABA) in your body, when you don’t have enough of it, a difficult night’s sleep, as well as increased anxiety and stress, is in your future.

GABA: An amino acid that naturally occurs in your body. It acts as a neuotransmitter to your brain promoting relaxation and sleep.

More magnesium = more GABA = better sleep


  • Lavender:This pleasant-smelling herb has been touted as offering several health benefits, including better sleep. Taking 80-160 mcg before bed can improve your sleep quality and has also been said to reduce anxiety as uch as a low dose of Ativan.
  • L-Theanine:More about GABAs! L-Theanine is another supplement that promotes relaxation and helps boost levels of GABAs in your body, leading to better sleep.
Photo of lavendar growing in a field

Wake Up Feeling Rested with Sleep Tip #3: Use a Weighted Blanket for Anxiety & Insomnia

Last, but certainly not least in our toolbox sleep tips is the use of a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets have been proven to help improve sleep quality by increasing serotonin and melatonin and reducing cortisol levels in your body.

In uncomplicated terms, sleeping with a weighted blanket helps your body create happy and sleepy hormones and reduce stress hormones, resulting in better sleep. Weighted blankets have been used for years as an effective insomnia treatment thanks to their delivery of Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS).

DPS is simply a gentle, light pressure on your body. It’s like a welcoming hug. The DPS you receive from a high-quality weighted blanket helps reduce anxiety and keeps you from tossing and turning. The evenly-distributed weight encourages you to stay still longer, minimizing nighttime disruptions during sleep. Use a weighted blanket for anxiety and insomnia as an all-natural way to increase sleep and decrease stress and anxiety.

The Fact Is, You Need to Sleep Well

Maybe you’re a go-getter who looks at sleep as a waste of precious time. Or perhaps you don’t think it has a big impact on your everyday life. Or, like many adults around the world, you’re just too preoccupied with the stresses of life that you find a good night’s sleep darn near impossible.

No matter where you lie in your relationship with sleep, there are countless studies on how critical good sleep habits are to your mental health. And with so many natural remedies out there to beat insomnia, why not test them out and try to improve your sleep and your mental health?

Implement a few of these sleep tips into your everyday routine and see what works for you. Now, put down your coffee, say no to that brewski before bed, pop some melatonin, and snuggle up under your weighted blanket this evening and drift off into la-la land.

Don’t have a weighted blanket? Try out the best one on the market for 100 nights, risk-free. We guarantee you won’t regret it.


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