You’ve taken a relaxing bath, switched on your lavender aromatherapy diffuser and donned your silk eye-mask. But instead of drifting off into a sound slumber, you toss and turn for what seems like hours, struggling to fall asleep. In utter frustration, you lay in bed wide awake agonizing about why sleep evades you. Take heart, you are not alone. About 70 million U.S. adults suffer from chronic sleep problems according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Sleep deprivation and anxiety are becoming highly prevalent in our society today especially as a large number of us are constantly connected to an array of devices such as cell phones and laptops. The inability to “unplug” combined with growing pressures in school and work life is creating a population plagued by anxiety issues which then lead to sleep problems. If you’re experiencing stress in your life, then it is likely that you could be struggling to fall or stay asleep at night. Continuous worrying about life problems makes it difficult for your brain to settle down and rest, which in turn, disrupts your sleep. From here, it is an unfortunate downward spiral as sleep deprivation can further worsen anxiety and ultimately develops into a negative cycle of insomnia and anxiety disorders.
Are lack of sleep and anxiety connected?
Direct connections have been found between anxiety disorders and a person’s sleep cycles. According to research, there is evidence that anxiety and worries prior to bed may affect rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which plays an important role in dreaming, memory, emotional processing and overall healthy brain development.
“Lack of sleep and anxiety are highly connected. Those who suffer from sleep problems often have issues with anxiety,” says Dr. Julia Kogan, a health psychologist specializing in sleep and stress from Miami, Florida. “Those who have anxiety often struggle with sleep issues.”
How to break the cycle and improve sleep
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce anxiety and sleep more soundly.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment
A cool, dark, and quiet room is known to be conducive to a better sleep. Controlling light, sound, and temperature can help you get a good night’s rest so try using a fan or sound machine to drown out any noise.
- Have a regular bedtime routine
This means waking up and going to bed at the same time every day. Taking a shower or bath shortly before bed can lower your body temperature and help you fall asleep more quickly.
- Get regular exercise
Daily exercise helps release endorphins and is beneficial to your mental health. You can try yoga, which has been known to decrease anxiety and stress. Make sure to exercise either in the morning or afternoon.
- Limit caffeine
Drinking too much caffeine or consuming it late in the day can increase anxiety and hinder sleep. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, but not too close to bedtime.
- Limit screen time
Your phone, tablet, and TV emit light that keeps your brain awake, so try to limit them to an hour before bedtime. Checking emails before bed can also make it difficult to calm your brain. Reading a book instead of scrolling will relax you further and help wind down your mind.
Can CBD improve sleep?
CBD is the most abundant compound in the hemp plant and many studies suggest that it may benefit sleep. Although derived from the hemp plant, CBD is non-intoxicating and does not cause the “high” associated with THC, which is found in the cannabis plant. When CBD is extracted and used in oils, it can potentially help a person relax by easing anxiety and pain which leads to better sleep.
Our ACTIVE RELEAF Wellness line offers several remedies including a tincture, capsule or spray format. Each one is formulated with the highest concentration of broad-spectrum cannabinoid-rich hemp plant extract to assist in alleviating anxious feelings and promoting better sleep.
In the end, sleep disruption is a common feature of mental health problems and anxiety is usually one of the first to manifest. Adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day to maintain optimal health. If you are experiencing sleep problems, it is time to break the cycle of anxiety and sleep deprivation.