How to Sleep Better with Anxiety using the best sleep supplements

How to Sleep Better with Anxiety using the best sleep supplements | Ethos

How to Sleep Better with Anxiety using the best sleep supplements

Sleep difficulties plague a vast majority of adults.  In fact, 10%-30% of adults struggle with chronic insomnia and roughly 40 million adults in the United States are affected by some form of anxiety disorder. Sleep deprivation can worsen anxiety creating a negative cycle for people with anxiety disorders.

Trying to sleep with anxiety sometimes feels impossible and is always a bad night of sleep. Especially when other methods like meditation, long warm bath, or turning off your screens don't always work. All you want to do is go to sleep, but feelings of anxiety make it so much harder than it should be.  A few hours of sleep would feel like a miracle when a person is facing sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep can drastically impact mental health and physical health including heart disease.

Man and moon illustration

Here are simple some Do's and Don'ts before bedtime.  

Do's

  • Try taking a hot bath before bed
  • Perform a relaxation exercise like deep breathing
  • Proper sleep hygiene
  • Quality bedtime routine
  • Set room temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit to help reach a body temperature that promotes better sleep quality
  • Get regular exercise during the day. Preferably 30-60 minutes
  • Identify anything in your sleep environment that may cause sleep disturbances
  • Adhere to a regular sleep schedule

 

Don'ts

  • Avoid engaging in any stressful activities several hours before bed
  • Avoid bright lights and blue light at least an hour before bed.  Bright lights and blue light can affect melatonin levels
  • No electronic devices a few hours before bedtime
  • No soft drinks or any caffeinated drinks within 3-4 hours of bedtime

On that note, maybe it's time to try natural sleep supplements, like melatonin, l-theanine, or herbal supplements like chamomile and valerian root. We've researched how to sleep through the night with anxiety, and here are some of the best sleep dietary supplements for 2021 that we found. Don't worry: none of these natural sleep aids are habit-forming or carry any health risks.

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Melatonin

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As a sleep aid, melatonin is a common ingredient and among the best known. You'll see large displays of melatonin supplements at pharmacies and drugstores. It's a hormone that helps with your wake-sleep cycle, which people often use to reduce jet lag or fall asleep faster due to its sedative effects. Melatonin's effects are usually mild and don't have a huge hangover effect the day after taking it. The best sleep aid products sedate you just enough to sleep through the night but not feel hungover the next day.  Melatonin is especially helpful for people working on achieving a better sleep routine. For best results, make sure you take a standard dose of melatonin at least 30 minutes before bedtime.  Everyone's sensitivity to melatonin is different but a standard dose is typically around 5 milligrams of melatonin.

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Lavender

Lavender field

You sometimes hear about people putting lavender oil on their skin as a form of aromatherapy. Much anecdotal evidence about lavender goes back to how it helps people relax. They do so by putting the oil on their skin, or sometimes on their pillow before bedtime. 

Many studies have shown that smelling lavender for a prolonged period can induce relaxation. That includes a slower heart rate and less heart rate variability. Drinking lavender in tea has demonstrated similar results.

You can easily purchase lavender oil online and at specialty stores. Besides smelling lavender oil, you can drink it in tea. However, we do not suggest ingesting too much lavender, as large amounts produce nausea and stomach pain in some people. 

L-Theanine

If you drink green or black tea, you probably already consume more l-theanine than you think. It's an amino acid that research has shown reduces anxiety and stress levels. It might also improve restfulness and reduce anxiety because you can drink it as a warm beverage, making you feel cozy and safe.

Although some studies have found that it might not necessarily make you tired, it at least helps you relax. Similarly, other studies have suggested that consuming l-theanine can lower blood pressure after stressful situations.

Research has paid particular attention to l-theanine's effects on people with ADHD and schizophrenia. Some studies have suggested that consuming 400 mg of l-theanine a day can help increase quality sleep in people with ADHD.

As a sleep aid, l-theanine's benefits on stress and anxiety are still largely unknown to researchers. Scientists need to do more studies to confirm their findings, although the results have proved promising.

CBD

CBD is proving to be a great natural remedy for poor sleep, pain, and anxiety. The endocannabinoid system has been show to help regulate certain body functions like mood, sleep, and regulating circadian rhythms. Research indicates the CBD affects the sleep/wake cycle, as well as, reducing anxiety at night.  In a study with 72 adults that suffered from anxiety and poor sleep, improvement in anxiety by 79% and sleep improved 66% after taking 25mg of CBD for 1 month.  CBD is in its infancy with regards to research, but the most recent clinical trials are promising.

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Chamomile

Cup of chamomile tea

Unlike lavender, which you usually only smell to get its effects, you can brew chamomile in a soothing tea before bedtime. People have used chamomile for centuries to reduce bodily inflammation, calm anxiety, and sleep better. That might be because of apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to receptors in your brain, thereby reducing stress and making you sleepier.

One study looked at adults who consumed 270 mg of chamomile extract twice a day for 28 days. While there was no significant change between the variable and control groups, participants who drank chamomile did fall asleep faster than those who did not drink the extract.

Researchers have also looked at chamomile's supposed ability to ease symptoms of depression, which includes insomnia and poor sleep quality. A group of postnatal Taiwanese women drank chamomile tea for two weeks, while the control group only received postnatal care. The experimental group saw fewer symptoms of postnatal depression than the control group.

We should note that with this experiment, all 80 participants in this experiment showed similar depression symptoms after four weeks. Such a number indicates that chamomile tea effects only last for a short time.

Passionflower

While not as big a name in relaxation as chamomile, passionflower has been gaining traction as a means of alleviating anxiety and insomnia. Passionflower comes from the dried leaves, stems, and petals of the passiflora plant. Like chamomile, it also has a lot of apigenin.

One study found that healthy adults that drank passionflower tea for a week had better sleep quality than participants that did not drink it.

Another study tested the effects of combining passionflower of Valerian root, another herb used to treat insomnia and anxiety. The results showed that combining the two herbs had powerful effects.

Some research has indicated that passionflower helps the brain produce more GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, which inhibits the brain's capacity to produce stress hormones.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 assists your body with serotonin and melatonin production which allows for more restful nights. Serotonin is a natural hormone that is responsible for stabilizing our mood.  Deficiencies in vitamin B6 can sometimes be responsible for low levels of serotonin. Why does that matter? Low levels of serotonin could potentially lead to disturbed sleep and insomnia. There have never been any reported adverse effects from too much Vitamin B6 when it comes from food sources. Sensory neuropathy can occur if over 1,000mg of Vitamin B6 dietary supplement is consumed in a day.

Valerian Root

As far as herbal extracts go, Valerian root has been used to reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and sleep better. Oddly enough, researchers are not entirely sure how Valerian root helps promote sleepiness. People have used it throughout history to treat anxiety and sleeplessness, perhaps through its ability to create GABA. GABA, you'll remember, helps inhibit the creation of stress hormones.

Evidence as to Valerian's root's effectiveness is anecdotal at best, but several studies have reported positive results for increasing sleepiness. One study found that people who took a Valerian root extract before going to sleep reported falling asleep faster than those who did not take the extract.

Even better, Valerian root does not reportedly show many side effects after consumption. In one study, where the participants had sleep problems, most of them reported better quality of sleep after taking Valerian root extract.

Lemon Balm

Another great herbal supplement for anxiety and sleep is lemon balm extract.  Lemon balm is known for its calming effect and is great when a stressful event or everyday life is disrupting your sleep. It is often combined with valerian root or chamomile in teas and encapsulated supplements and taken an hour before bedtime.  Lemon balm extract has been used as far back as the Middle Ages.

Things to Keep in Mind

While natural sleep aids usually help you fall asleep faster, they are not an end-all-be-all cure to sleeping problems like sleep apnea and chronic insomnia. As with any sleep disorder, it is important to meet with a doctor to determine whether or not there is an underlying condition that is causing your sleep problems. You might need to combine other elements to produce a consistent sleep cycle, such as behavioral therapy or prescription sleep aids that only a doctor can prescribe.

As with any medication, it's a good idea to talk to a doctor, especially if you're already taking other medicines that might have negative drug interactions. 

The longer you take sleeping aids, the more tolerance you'll develop toward them thus making them better for short-term use. That may mean taking more and more of them to feel the desired effect. While natural sleep aids do not usually have severe potential side effects, taking more than the average amount is not how to sleep better.

As you utilize natural sleep aids to achieve more restful sleep, pay attention to the active ingredient list. Be on the lookout for quality ingredients and blend of ingredients. 

Try to pair your natural sleep aid with a healthy sleep schedule for better sleep patterns, a relaxing nightly routine, deep breathing exercises, and limit bright light.

Conclusion

Lack of sleep can take a severe toll on your mental health and cause other physical health issues. There is no one magical cure for how to sleep better with anxiety.  Taking more than the recommended amount can produce adverse side effects and ruin your chances of a good night's sleep.

That's why we crafted this list: so you can try some sleep supplements that actually work. The best part is that they all taste good and are easily ingestible as either food, drinks, or tablets.

 

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