Are you struggling to sleep recently? Whether you're struggling to fall asleep, suffering from broken sleep or anxiety, sleep issues can be common for many, but also treatable if managed with the right methods.
In this week's article, we want to highlight the many reasons why you might be struggling to sleep and the simple steps you can take to finally tackle the root causes.
Anxiety, stress & Covid
There's no denying the fact that most of us have just been through one of the most bizarre, testing and extremely stressful year of our lives. In a survey of 6,305 people by BACP and YouGov, it was found that of the 67% who said they have experienced any kind of mental health issue in the last fives years, 85% said their mental health had been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. And among the people who hasn't previously experienced mental health issues in the past 5 years, 48% said the same.
Along with stress, anxiety often comes too. When cortisol (that's your stress hormone) disrupts your usual hormonal production and balance, your two main components from the nervous system, the sympathetic and parasympathetic, becomes disrupted. For women in particular, high levels of stress can be identified by taking a closer look at their monthly cycles. Longer, shorter or even missing cycles can be all be a sign of stress. Why does this happen to women? It's their bodies way of telling them that something isn't right and ultimately, it's trying to protect the body from falling pregnant.
Once your hormones become unbalanced, an array of issues can develop - anxiety being one of them. Both anxiety and stress can cause havoc on the nervous system and in turn, becomes sympathetic dominant. This is one of the main reasons why sleep quality will also take a hit.
Happy Days has been formulated as a Multivitamin to not only provide your body with the essential vitamins and minerals it needs daily, but to also help stabilise your mood and help support anxiety, nerves & day-to-day stress. It also contains 3 vitamins (D, B6 and B12) which are known for the regulation of normal hormonal activity and reduction in tiredness and fatigue too.
There's no denying the fact that our bodies are cyclical being. Women in particular. In fact, women can really harness the power of how their bodies work throughout the month.
Our bodies are amazing pieces of machinery. So much so that when one major process in the body stops working correctly, so does another. It almost has a domino effect. For example, too much stress can disrupt hormonal levels and too much sugar & junk food (especially before bed) can disrupt sleep.
Poor sleep quality, insomnia, increased anxiety and sleep disturbance (often waking up between 2-3am) can be a tell tale sign of imbalanced hormones.
Hormonal changes like these however, are not to be confused for regular hormonal changes.
You see, during a woman's period her progesterone levels will drop dramatically and in turn, can make it harder to sleep because it has a mild sedative effect. This is why many women often complain about poor sleep just before their period or during.
As for men, a drop in testosterone levels can also disrupt sleep patterns too.
Hot flushes are one of the most common causes of sleep disturbance for menopausal women. It's caused by reduced levels of oestrogen. The secret to controlling menopause symptoms is to stimulate the natural process (this is where the body shift hormone production from the ovaries to the adrenals) which allows the adrenals to take over production of the necessary hormones.
Our MenoSupport is formulated with menopausal women in mind to help support their hormonal, mental and physical changes. Our Menosupport supplement focuses a little more heavily on supporting possible hormonal imbalances some women may experience after going through the menopause (750% Vitamin B6), as well as normal psychological function (1000% Vitamin B1) and normal mental performance (500% Vitamin B5).
In 2012 The National Institutes of Health conducted a study that found people with arthritis were much more likely to suffer from insomnia. In fact, 23% of arthritis sufferers have trouble sleeping and 34% of osteoarthritis sufferers were unable to sleep.
There are many reasons why joint pain increases at night, but most commonly because lying in one position for a long amount of time can cause stiffness in the joints and in turn, increased pain.
Many studies suggest that turmeric, the wonderful Indian spice, may help relieve joint pain and in fact, so do our reviews!
More recently, experts say that there is increasingly clear evidence that the active ingredient in turmeric may have health benefits.
The randomized trial gave 139 patients with knee pain either a 500-milligram (mg) capsule of curcumin three times a day or a 50-mg diclofenac pill twice daily. Scientists found that both groups experienced significant pain relief.
Our unique formula contains patented BioPerine® which enhances absorption up to 20 times faster than the competition. While Turmeric in curries carries benefits, to deliver Curcumin (the active ingredient of turmeric) to the areas where the magic happens and truly see benefits, it's best consumed with black pepper.
Using your phone before bed
Allowing yourself (both physically and mentally) to slow down an hour or two before bed is extremely important for your mind. Most people often think a few minutes scrolling through their phone just before bed won't affect their ability to nod off, but you'd be surprised...
You see, the blue light emitted by your phone screen restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that control your sleep-wake cycle (aka circadian rhythm). This leads to neurophysiologic arousals that increase feelings of alertness - the exact opposite of what you need just before bed.
But that's not just it, engaging in social media just before bed can also trigger your mind into overdrive and can seriously impact your thoughts which will ultimately keep you from falling asleep.
We recommend scheduling an hour of 'downtime' just before bed which includes a 'phone free' period. This time should be used to help you ease into a bedtime routine. Try dimming the lights, lighting a lavender candle, getting into some comfy clothes, reading a book or practising some mediation/headspace - both of which have been known to help support sleep quality too.
Lack of exercise
Believe it or not, sleep and exercise go hand in hand. Working out regularly helps you to sleep better, and sleeping better makes it easier to get up in the morning and workout. Right?
If you're not already aiming for at least 10K steps a day, then consider making a few healthy changes to the way in which you move. This could be getting outside on your lunch breaks and going for a walk, or it could be trying something new like yoga, pilates or even weight training.
Struggling to sleep, or even not feeling sleep, may simply be the case that you're not burning off enough energy during the day.
Lack of daylight
Light is one of the most important external factor affecting sleep. How? Light plays a central role in regulating the circadian rhythm (the body's internal clock that signals when to be alert and when to rest) and also affects the production of melatonin (sleep promoting hormone).
Many studies suggest that natural light, particularly in the morning, can significantly improve sleep quality. Daylight exposure can also help those who suffer from depression, stress and anxiety too.
If you can, expose yourself to natural daylight as soon as you get up in the morning and also at some point throughout the day. If you work in an office, either getting outside during your lunch break is always a great idea, or simply standing by a window while you enjoy your morning tea break.
Finding the root cause of your sleep issues might be tricky to start with, but we suggest trying each method one at a time. For some, it may now be quite obvious why you're struggling to sleep, but for others, it may not.
And finally, if you've tried all of the above methods with no success, we suggest reaching out to your local GP and also considering our Sleep Naturally tablets and Sleep Spray. Both of which are designed to enhance your sleep naturally, using plant extracts, cherry powder and chamomile instead of chemical filled sleeping pills you might find elsewhere.