From Turmeric to a Smile – Effective Natural Ways to Enjoy a Better Sleep
If you’re looking for better sleep and less anxiety, you are not alone. More people are searching Google than ever before, seeking ways to sleep better. About 1 in 3 adults fail to get adequate sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep is not just about beauty rest; a lack of sleep escalates the risk of some chronic diseases. Yet, few note how insufficient sleep will amplify their level of anxiety. Better sleep and less anxiety go hand in hand. Here are 5 tips from researchers to help you enjoy better sleep and less anxiety.
How Much Sleep do I Need?
Sleep experts have found that when a person’s duration of sleep drops below 7 hours, a number of disorders begin to increase in prevalence. There’s a sort of sweet spot: researchers suggest adults sleep for ideally 7 to 7 ½ hours of sleep. To promote optimal health and wellbeing, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommends adults (18 – 60 years old) need a minimum of 7 hours each night.
Does a Lack of Sleep Affect You?
Sleep is not an optional activity. The human body needs to sleep, at some point. You’ve probably experienced how sleep helps you regulate emotions – irritability is not just experienced by under-slept toddlers, but by tired adults too. But, did you know a lack of sleep affects other aspects of your life? Researchers have found that people are unaware of how their accumulating sleep deficits reduce their performance, working memory, cognitive speed and accuracy. In a world where better sleep and less anxiety are top searches on the internet, most concerning is how inadequate sleep takes a toll on psychological well-being. A lack of sleep can make it harder to navigate social interactions and exacerbate stress levels. Better sleep is important in helping you enjoy less anxiety.
5 Tips to Better Sleep and Less Anxiety
Ready to get a good night’s sleep? It’s worth it. Studies link a lack of sleep with an increased risk of an impaired immune system, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, dementia, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Here are 5 natural ways you can enjoy better sleep and less anxiety.
1. Consistency Can Lead to Better Sleep
Just as kids do, adults perform better when they stick to a regular bedtime. After tracking the sleep patterns of 100 students, researchers noted that consistency plays a major role in mental performance. Stick to a schedule when it comes to your bedtime, and wake times. Sleep isn’t optional – schedule it in! Make time for sleep, you’ll feel better for it tomorrow.
2. Exercise for Better Sleep and Less Anxiety
Want to sleep better tonight? Exercising 30 minutes today could help you sleep better, says John Hopkin’s experts. Enjoying a half-hour of moderate aerobic exercise (breathing heavy, but can still maintain a conversation) increases the amount of slow-wave sleep at night. Slow-wave sleep is deep sleep; it’s when the brain and body rejuvenate. Ever noticed that aerobic exercise feels good? That’s because aerobic exercise causes the body to release endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that keep the brain awake. As such, exercising during the day amplifies the brain’s awareness of which hours are daytime. Of note, exercising close to bedtime stimulates your brain, and may prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Working out may also help reduce anxiety. Researchers have found that deep sleep, the kind that results from doing moderate aerobic exercise, is most apt to calm and reset an anxious brain. While a full night of sleep can stabilize emotions, a sleepless night can trigger up to a 30% rise in anxiety levels, according to research from the University of California, Berkeley.
3. Be Optimistic for a Better Sleep
Being optimistic might help you sleep better, according to University of Illinois researchers. Looking at the sleep of 3,500 young and middle-aged adults, in four regions in the United States, researchers found those who were optimistic were 78% more likely to have had a good sleep. Journaling, turning off the news, and being conscious of the company you keep can be simple ways to become more optimistic.
4. Make Your Bedroom Better for Sleep
Simple changes in your sleep space can help you sleep better. Darken the room you sleep in. Adjust the temperature so it is cool. Use essential oils that elicit a calming effect. Install a fan to help eliminate noises that might disrupt your sleep, or install an app on a device that creates soothing, consistent noise, such as a waterfall. Avoid reading your phone or watching television in your sleep space – blue light from screens prior to bedtime can artificially fool your brain into thinking it is daytime.
5. Eat Good Food for a Better Sleep and Less Anxiety
Eating melatonin-rich food assists sleep, says sleep researchers. Sleep seekers have looked to Tart Cherries or Rainier Cherries, but it might surprise you to know melatonin can be found in ginger too. Melatonin is also present in long-grain rice, barley, oats, mushrooms, strawberries, salmon and some nuts. Eating certain foods can help lessen anxiety, too. Omega-3 fatty acid, magnesium, and zinc-rich foods help a person feel calmer, notes experts from Harvard Health. Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, are great sources of omega-3s. Nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains are sources of magnesium. Zinc-rich foods include cashews, egg yolks and oysters.
What Can You Do if You Can’t Sleep?
You can’t make yourself sleep. You will need healthy strategies to help you perform after a sleepless night, leaving you with a brain that’s not fully recharged. Curcumin, found in Turmeric, has been studied for its ability to restore memory and other cognitive impairments that come with a lack of sleep. Curcumin appears to help protect structures in the brain that can become damaged by the impact of a lack of proper sleep. How can you add more Turmeric into your day? Turmeric can conveniently fit into a cup: hug a mug full of Turmeric Latte Mix, or enjoy a glass of Turmeric Juice.
It’s called beauty sleep for a reason – a good night’s sleep looks good on you. Make sleep a priority in your schedule. A better sleep will help you enjoy a more stable mood, less anxiety and improve your overall health. Get a better sleep tonight. You’re worth it!
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Allison Tannis MSc RHN: Known for her deliciously geeky words, Allison’s books and articles are read around the world by those curious where are the most nutritious (and delicious) places to stick their forks. More at allisontannis.com. Follow @deliciouslygeeky.