While many people experience short-term insomnia, now more than ever, with hightened levels of anxiety around everything having to do with Covid-19 and the effect it's having on our daily lives, you may be one of the many experiencing difficultty falling asleep and staying asleep like never before. Our conscious and subconscious thoughts, changes in human contact, changes in routines, exercise and so much more are making even the most grounded of us feel anxious.
Not getting proper sleep impedes our ability to creatively solve problems, our immune sytem weakens, weight gain can be experienced, brain fog ensues, pain in our bodies, hearts and souls can increase, there is potential for increased inflammation and so much more.
What to do? Read on...
Although the amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, most adults need seven-nine hours of sleep a night.(children and teens need more) Not getting enough sleep can seriously affect your quality of life. Fortunately, there are many simple home remedies that can help. That said, if you feel your sleeplessness is related to an uncontrollable level of anxiety or depression, are experiencing suicidal or harmful thoughts of any kind or experiencing addition symptoms seek medical help immediately.
Mindfulness and meditation practices have too many health benefits to count in general but go seriously hand-in-hand with a healthy lifestyle for promoting good sleep. They can reduce stress, improve concentration and productivity, stimulate creativity and boost immunity.
In a 2011 study it was found that meditation significantly improved insomnia and overall sleep patterns. Participants attended a weekly meditation class, a daylong retreat, and practiced at home over the course of a few months.
You can meditate and practice mindfulness anywhere and as often as you like. Even if you only meditate 15 minutes in the morning or evening you can see powerful results.
We will be hosting a Facebook Live Guided Meditation Every Monday and Friday at 10:30am and Wednesday at 9pm Monday 3/30.
This will be FREE and go until we all get through this . Each session will be about 30 minutes. No experience necessary, and even those who have tried before, who could not "clear their heads" should join. And you don't even need to be able to sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Anywhere will do :)
In addition, searching YouTube for sleep "meditation" or "sleep hypnosis" will find you many videos you can simply set up to play as you go to sleep (but from across the room to be safer)
Magnesium is a much needed naturally occurring mineral. It can help muscles relax and relieve stress. This can in turn encourage healthy sleep patterns. A magnesium deficiency can result in difficulty sleeping, constipation, muscle tremors or cramps, anxiety, irritability, and pain.
Participants in a 2012 study took 500 milligrams (mg) of magnesium daily for 2 months. During this time, researchers found that participants experienced fewer symptoms of insomnia and improved sleep patterns.
I take 500-800mg split between am and pm daily for optimal benefits. You can take your dose orally with this supplement, by rubbing this magnesium oil into your skin or adding 1 cup of these magnesium flakes or several cups of these epsom salts to your evening bath, allowing the magnesium to give you it's full benefit for sleep purposes. When soaked in or applie it can readily be absorbed through your skin.
Magnesium-Rich Foods: 10 Foods rich in magnesium are legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, brewer's yeast, and whole grains. In addition to including these whole foods in your diet, you can also try juicing dark leafy green vegetables.
Side effects include stomach and intestinal issues. Basically speaking, for most, if you take too much, you will have loose bowel movements. You may wish to start with a lower dose and gradually increase to see how your body reacts. Taking it with food may reduce any abdominal discomfort. Check with your doctor if you take any medications to determine potential interactions.
You shouldn’t take magnesium supplements constantly. Take a break for a few days every two weeks.
3. Lavender Oil
Lavender is used to improve mood, reduce pain, calm skin, heal burns, promote sleep, reduce pain and more. Taking it orally is thought to be even more effective. Have you ever tried in in a shortbread cookie or yellow cake? Yum...though we don't recommend eating too much of either of those foods ;)
Results of a 2014 study showed that lavender oil capsules were beneficial in improving sleep patterns in people with depression when taken with an antidepressant. People also showed lowered levels of anxiety, which would seemingly allow for better sleep. and it smel divine!
CLICK HERE for the safe, edible, lavender we recommend and the vegetable capsules for taking internally if you'd rather not drink it as a tea or eat it in your foods.
Take 20 to 80 mg of lavender orally each day, or use as directed. You may wish to add lavender essential oil to a diffuser or spray it onto your pillow. Lavender tea is also an option.
Lavender is usually safe to use. Taking lavender orally may cause headache, constipation, or nausea, though we have thankfully not had that experience with ourselves or clients in all the years we've been recommending it.
Melatonin has been shown to help you fall asleep quickly and enhance the quality of your sleep.
Researchers in a 2016 study found melatonin to significantly improve sleep patterns in people with cancer and insomnia. Sleep quality was improved even more between seven and 14 days.
Taking 1 to 5 mg 30 minutes to two hours before going to sleep. Always use the lowest effective dose possible since higher doses may cause side effects such as bad dreams, dizziness, irritability, etc. Again this is something we have been recommending for several decades and has been overwhelmingly safe for most. That said, we have found that getting it in it's most natural form provides better absorption and less potential issues.
We all here at MWB, take THIS ONE not only for the enhanced deep sleep benefits but also, increased absorbability and a major bonus benefit of an ORAC value of over 7000, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It's basically a lab test that quantifies the "total antioxidant capacity" -sooo important for anti-aging, fighting daily oxidative stress that comes from so many sources but especially now with our heightened stress levels. And as a bonus, it's really tasty to take. I like to take a tablespoon with water or sparking water mixed and sip it from my wine glass about an hour before bed.
ORDER HERE (be sure to enter the CODE: MYBESTME for up to $50 OFF you purchase) or call us for porch pick or delivery of this product during the Codivd-19 crisis
Take a picture of yourself enjoying your Apothe-chery like I do at night, post it on social media and tag us to be entered to win your next bottle for FREE!
Ok, we all know, exercise boosts overall health, enhances your mood, gives you more energy, aids in weight loss, and promote better sleep many don't realize that it doesn't have to be a pounding session of aerobic exercise or tripling your lifting weight(never do that!). A simple 30 minute walk each day or dancing in your kitchen can have powerful positive effects.
Participants in a 2015 study exercised for at least 150 minutes per week for six months. During this time, researchers found that the participants experienced significantly fewer symptoms of insomnia. They also showed reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The time of day that you exercise can have the opposite effect on your sleep that you may be looking for. Too close to bed time can be stimulating. We recommend getting outside for a walk and soaking up some beneficial vitamin D, mind-clearing fresh air and basic sanity-control. Be careful not to push yourself beyond your current condition too much. You should be winded but able to carry out a conversation. This will also have a positive effect to your immunity! Extra important these days.
Just be sure to maintain your proper social distance until we get through this Covid-19 crisis.
Even though many of the state and county parks are closed, there are still lots of great smaller township parks and trails to try if you neighborhood gets a little boring.
Yoga has been found to have a positive effect on sleep quality. Yoga may also alleviate stress, improve physical functioning, reduce pain and stiffness, and boost mental focus.
ANYONE CAN DO YOGA!!! No matter your physical ability or limitations, YOU CAN DO YOGA!
Choose a style that focuses more on moving meditation or breath work as opposed to difficult physical movements. Slow, controlled movements allow you to stay present and focused. Yin and restorative yoga are serious favorites of ourds and if they are still too much you can try chair yoga. There are great videos free on YouTube. CLICK HERE for a list of some additional great online yoga resources.
Strive to do a few longer sessions each week, and at least 20 minutes of daily self-practice. Performing the postures before bed can help you to relax and unwind.
If a pose doesn’t feel right for you, don’t force it. Forcing it may result in injury. It’s important to do what feels good for you and your body, and that varies from person to person.
7. Food and Nutrition
OK, we all kn0w what we eat realy does matter but here are a few tips on making sure your diet isn't contibuting to your sleepless nights.
- Eat Foods That Help You Sleep: Tryptophan is a naturally-occurring amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin. Research shows mixed evidence for the effectiveness of L-tryptophan. Eat carbohydrate snacks such as whole grain crackers before bedtime. Also include foods rich in vitamin B6, found in wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and bananas, which enhances the body's conversion of tryptophan.
- Make sure you are flooding your body with as much healthy nutrition through the day as possible. Not calories or quantity necessarily but actually nutritient dense foods like vegetables, fruits, fats(yes fats! Your brain and body need good fats to keep going), organic free-range meats, limited but quality carbohydrate sources and so on. Can't get them very easily or don't like them? CLICK HERE for the greens powder we recommend for a nutrition punch and HERE or the biofruits. (again, enter CODE: MYBESTME for up to $50 OFF your order)
- Don't eat too late. This alone can provide a level of digestive upset that can keep you from a good night's sleep. Stop eating at least 2-3 hrs. before heading to bed.
- Limit sugar and all carbohydrates that turn quickly to sugar in your system. They can be stimulating as well as challenging in your digestive system and even to your immunity.
- Cut or reduce caffeine. Listen, having coffee isn't necessarily bad for you. In fact, it's loaded with antioxidents and can be very healthy for you. That said, make sure you are consuming organic coffee since coffee is one of the highest sprayed pesticide things we can consume. Limit it to about 2 cups a day for the benefits. It can reduce the absorption of supplements, so we don't recommend you take you supplements at the same time. And in reference to sleep, keep your coffee limited and in the earlier hours of the day.
- Eliminate convenience and processed foods. So many of the chemicals used in these can be disturbing to the nervous system, upsetting to the digestive system, damaging to the immune system and contribute to things such as diabetes, cancer and more.
- Avoid sugar alcohols and foods that cause bloating. For some, foods like onions, raw broccoli, beans etc. and are difficult for the body to diges, especially at night. A digestive enzyme can help with every meal. This is the one we use. Again, use code MYBEST ME for up to $50 OFF
Researchers in a 2015 study found massage therapy to benefit people with insomnia by improving sleep quality and daytime dysfunction. It may also reduce feelings of pain, anxiety, and depression.
Ok... we know, you can't come in right now for your professional massage but you can do self-massage. Quarantined with someone else? Massage each other. Just a 5 minute neck rub can provide much needed relief and also contribute to a better night's sleep.
Even just applying some lavender and peppermint oil to your fingertips before massaging your scalp and neck are yourself can have a powerfully positive effect in how you feel. Allow your mind to focus on the feelings and sensations of touch as your mind wanders. There are many online tips and techniques. You can order essential oils HERE and some warmed coconut oil in your hands works great for the "slip".
Of course, while massage is generally safe, check with your doctor if you are pregnant or have any specific health concerns that may impede the benefits. If your skin is sensitive to creams or oils, be sure to do a skin patch test before use.
9. Turn Off Tech
Three ways gadgets are keeping you awake
Our cell phones, tablets, computers, even new TVs with blue light behind the screens and other electronic gadgets have become such an enourmous part of our daily lives. It’s often hard to put them down—even at bedtime and keeping your phone on your nightstand may not seem like a big deal, but technology affects your sleep in more ways than you realize. Whether you're surfing the web, playing a video game, or using your phone as an alarm clock in the late evening, you're probably keeping yourself from a restful night. Here's how...
They Suppress Melatonin.
The blue light emitted by screens on cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions reduce the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that controls your sleeping/waking cycle otherwise know as your circadian rhythm. When melatonin is reduced, it's harder to fall and stay asleep. Most Americans admit to using electronics at least a few nights a week within an hour before bedtime. But to make sure technology isn’t harming your slumber, we recommend you give yourself at least 30-60min. minutes of gadget-free transition time before hitting the hay. Even better: Make your bedroom a technology-free zone—keep your electronics outside the room (that includes a TV!).
They Keep Your Brain on High-Alert.
Yes, it seems harmless and nice and productive to knock out a few emails before bed or unwind with a favorite movie, but by keeping your mind engaged, technology can trick your brain into thinking that it needs to stay awake. If you’re surfing the web, seeing something exciting on Facebook, or reading a negative email, those experiences make it harder to relax and settle into sleep. After spending an entire day surrounded by technology, your mind needs time to unwind.
They Wake You Up.
OK, just because you’re not using your cell phone immediately before bed doesn’t mean that it can’t harm your sleep: Keeping a mobile device within reach can still disturb slumber, thanks to the sounds of late night texts, emails, calls, or calendar reminders and electromagnetic waves that have been shown to contribute to brain cancer. Have you ever really rea your users manual? It will tell you to keep your device at least 6 feet away at all times. Who does that?
About 72 percent of children ages six to 17 sleep with at least one electronic device in their bedroom, which leads to getting less sleep on school nights compared with other kids, according to their parents. The difference adds up to almost an hour per night, and the quality of their sleep is negatively affected too. To get a better night’s sleep we should all place limits on technology use in the bedroom.
Some people can’t sleep without reading, but for others, the bedtime story was left behind in their childhood. Here are some great reasons to bring your nightly reading back...
Bedtime reading reduces stress
Reading before you sleep can significantly relax you. It has been shown that in as little a 6 minutes, your stress level can be reduced! Cognitive Neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis found that ‘reading worked best, reducing stress levels by 68 per cent’. It was better than listening to music (61%), drinking tea or coffee (54%) and taking a walk (42%). It only took 6 minutes for participants’ stress levels to be reduced.
When reading a good book, your mind is distracted from daily stresses and worries that causes tension. (without the same type of brain stimulation that would result from seeing the same story on a screen) Stories give your mind the option to be somewhere else, allowing you to leave your own troubles behind for a bit. Reading also allows your muscles to relax and slows down your breathing, leaving you feeling calmer.
The Sleep Council says ‘39% of people who are in the habit of reading before they go to sleep, sleep very well’. Makes perfect sense to us that an activity that reduces stress is beneficial before bed.
Reading before bed can also boost your brainpower. As well as opening your eyes to a million other worlds, reading can boost your brainpower. Your brain is a muscle too, and just like the rest of the body, it needs a work out to keep it healthy. Reading is more neurologically challenging than speaking or processing images. Parts of the brain that have evolved for other functions—such as vision, language, and associative learning—connect in a specific neural circuit for reading. This is a great challenge for the brain and means that reading is a great way to work out your brain all while doing something enjoyable. Worried about Alzheimer's disease? Reading can reduce the risk of developing degenerative disease, Alzheimer’s. One study found that people engaging their brains in an activity such as reading, solving puzzles or playing chess are 2.5 times less likely to develop the illness. This is likely due to the fact that Alzheimer’s disease is often linked to patients who have limited brain activity. Reading could not only improve your well-being now but could also have a lasting effect on your health in years to come.
It’s no surprise that reading from a creative stimulus increases your own creativity. By reading books you are able to see things from different perspectives which broadens your mind. Data demonstrates time and again that print exposure is associated with vocabulary, general knowledge, and verbal skills, just by reading books. Reading to children is extremely important also, so the benefits of bedtime stories can impact them hugely. Children are exposed to 50% more words from books than they would be from TV. Reading to your child is the perfect way to enhance their vocabulary without it feeling like a lesson.
Reading can also make you a more empathetic person. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Reading not only boosts our intelligence but also makes us more understanding of other people.
Reading can actually help you fall asleep.
If you're like me, reading at night actually puts me to sleep most nights. I get so relaxed so quickly and poof! I'm asleep.
Do you read before bed? What are your favorite bedtime stories? Let us know in the comments!
11. Make Lists or Journal
Many of you have reading this have heard me say this. Journaling and list making is powerful on so many levels. We can cover it more in a later post but for now, let's talk about sleep. So often the problem with getting good sleep is about not being able to quiet the mind. Maybe you didn't get to all the things you wanted to do in the day, your worried about the kids, the bills, work, Covid-19 now and so on. With all of that and then some, how are we truly expected to calm our minds and sleep well? Well, besides all of the other suggestions here, making your list of what you need to do the next day BEFORE going to sleep or taking a half hour to journal about your worries can be a powerful step in a great night's sleep. Putting what's on your mind onto paper, feeling your hand do that, seeing it in print, allows you to release it more efficiently rather than thinking about it over and over lying in bed.
12. Use Aromatherapy
Here are the 7 best essential oils and some custom blends, to diffuse through your home and in your bedroom to ensure the most restful night's sleep: (They are always on my night table)
Transform your bedroom to a traquil haven by diffusing these nightly. Lavender essential oil
Lavender essential oil is calming, and can help with headaches and discomforts. It
- Try Lavender essential oil applied to the bottom of your feet before bed, or mix the oil in a spray bottle with distilled water and spritz it on your pillow. The aroma stself is a great cue to your mind and body that it’s time to settle down.
- Diffuse the Dream Blend 30 minutes before bedtime to help you unwind and relax.
5 drops Lavender essential oil
4 drops Cedarwood essential oil
1 drop Vetiver essential oil
Frankincense essential oil
Complex and woodsy, Frankincense is one of the best essential oils available for creating a peaceful and meditative space. When used topically, your beauty routine becomes more intentional, and you are able to give your skin the love and care it deserves.
- Highlight your natural beauty by creating a custom moisturizer when you add Frankincense essential oil to your night cream.
- Create calm and focus as you clear your head before rest by diffusing Frankincense essential oil during bedtime meditation practice.
Vetiver essential oil
An often intimidating EO, with a complex aroma and a thicker texture, you’ll soon realize that it’s one of the best oils you can integrate into your nighttime routine.
- If you put on lotion before bed, add something new to the process. Combine a few drops of Vetiver oil with V-6™ Vegetable Oil Complex and massage into your feet for a deeply calming moisturizing moment.
- Create the perfect ambiance for relaxation by using the Serenity Diffuser Blend while you read before dozing off.
Serenity Diffuser Blend
3 drops Vetiver essential oil
5 drops Lavender essential oil
2 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil
Deep Relief Roll-On
Going to bed with tense muscles leads to tossing and turning. It’s a near guarantee for a cranky morning. If you’re like everyone right now and sitting too much or watching a few too many episodes of your favorite show on your laptop, your neck and shoulders are likely in need of a mini massage. Keeping Deep Relief® Roll-On non your night table makes it an easy reach to calm those aching muscles.
- The cooling sensation of the Deep Relief essential oil blend, combined with the roll-on applicator, pinpoint muscles that need extra attention. The base of the skull, neck, and shoulders can always use a little extra love.
Eucalyptus essential oil Eucalyptus oil can help you prepare for rest and relaxation.
- Breathe fresh! Like sleeping under the stars, a breath of clear air makes for a peaceful rest. Enjoy this uplifting experience by inhaling Eucalyptus Globulus essential oil directly or rubbing it on your chest.
- Help your muscles wind down by adding Eucalyptus Globulus essential oil to V-6™ Vegetable Oil Complex and using it in a relaxing foot massage. Try using a foot roller for added bliss.
- Keep you sinuses free and clear while you sleep by diffusing this essential oil
Sweet and woodsy, Cedarwood essential oil is ideal for making bedtime your favorite time of the day. Use it for its gentle aroma or for its many topical benefits.
- Pamper yourself with an at-home scalp massage. Cedarwood is one of the best essential oils to use for hair treatments. Warm a few drops between your hands and rub into your scalp for healthy-looking hair.
- Relax before bedtime with this earthy blend!
5 drops Cedarwood essential oil
5 drops Lavender essential oil
Which essential oils are your bedside favorites? Let us know in the comments!
13. Avoid These...
Yes, it seems as though that glass of wine, that beer or that last long puff of a cigarette is oh-s-relaxing but STOP! It's really not.
A recent U.S. study on evening use of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine found that drinking and smoking within four hours of bedtime were associated with “increased sleep fragmentation.” This includes negative effects on sleep duration, sleep efficiency and wake after sleep onset.
14. Drink these...
While we don't recommend drinking too much too close to the bed or you may have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, here is a list of great bedtime herbs to drink in your tea. Herbs for to aid in a good night's sleep:
For years, chamomile tea has been used as a natural remedy to reduce inflammation and anxiety and treat insomnia.
In fact, chamomile is commonly regarded as a mild tranquilizer or sleep inducer.
Its calming effects may be attributed to an antioxidant called apigenin, which is found in abundance in chamomile tea. Apigenin binds to specific receptors in your brain that may decrease anxiety and initiate sleep .
A study in 60 nursing home residents found that those who received 400 mg of chamomile extract daily had significantly better sleep quality than those who did not receive the extract.
Lemon Balm belongs to the mint family and is found all over the world.
While frequently sold in extract form for use in aromatherapy, lemon balm leaves are also dried to make tea.
This citrus-scented, aromatic herb has been used for reducing stress and improving sleep since the Middle Ages.
Evidence shows that lemon balm increases GABA levels in mice, indicating that lemon balm may act as a sedative.
Furthermore, one, small human study showed a 42% reduction in insomnia symptoms after participants received 600 mg of lemon balm extract per day for 15 days. However, the study didn’t include a control group, calling the results into question.
If you chronically experience sleep problems, sipping lemon balm tea before bed may help.
An herbal home remedy, brewed as a tea or taken as a supplement, that is commonly used to reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and act as a sedative. It has been used for centuries to treat problems like insomnia, nervousness, and headaches. Historically, it was used in England during World War II to relieve stress and anxiety caused by air raids.
Is thought to affect levels of one of the calming neurotransmitters in the body, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It also relieves muscle spasms and is thought to help alleviate menstrual period pain. Valerian is typically taken an hour before bed. A standard dose is 450 mg. If taken during the day, valerian may result in drowsiness—it is often taken in two to three 300 mg doses with meals. I've even given this to our last retreiver to calm her anxiety for road trips.
Is an herb often touted for its aromatic and soothing scent.
In ancient times, Greeks and Romans would often add lavender to their drawn baths and breathe in the calming fragrance.
Lavender tea is ma
de from the small purple buds of the flowering plant.
Originally native to the Mediterranean region, it’s now grown worldwide
Many people drink lavender tea to relax, settle their nerves, and aid sleep.
In fact, there is research to support these purported benefits.
A study in 80 Taiwanese postnatal women showed that those who took time to smell the aroma of lavender tea and drink it daily for 2 weeks reported less fatigue, compared to those who did not drink lavender tea. However, it didn’t have any effects on sleep quality.
Another study in 67 women with insomnia found reductions in heart rate and heart rate variability, as well as improvements in sleep after 20 minutes of lavender inhalation twice weekly for 12 weeks
Passionflower tea is made from the dried leaves, flowers, and stems of the Passiflora plant.
Traditionally, it has been used to alleviate anxiety and improve sleep.
More recently, studies have examined the ability of passionflower tea to improve insomnia and sleep quality.
For example, one study in 40 healthy adults found that those who drank passionflower tea daily for 1 week reported significantly better sleep quality, compared to participants who did not drink the tea.
Another study compared a combination of passionflower and valerian root and hops with Ambien, a medication commonly prescribed to treat insomnia.
Results showed that the passionflower combination was as effective as Ambien at improving sleep quality
15. Resolve the conflict
It's been shown that going to bed "mad" not only make it hard to sleep but also harder to forgive, forget, and move on from whatever the initial conflict was. Advice...resolve the conflict before bed, say your sorry and more importantly mean it. Can't do that? Come together, agree to disagree and call a "time out" of peace at the very least until you can both sleep on things and come back fresh.
Hope these tips help give you some peacful rest. We look forward seeing you all when this Civid-19 is all gone!
Love to you all!,
*As with all of our education, information and inspiration, we recommend that you research any suggestions you choose to implement. You do so strickly by your choice. When in doubt, consult a physician or appropriate professional. Your health and well-being are in your hands. Thank you for letting us be a part of your journey.