December might be one of the worst months for anxiety and sleeplessness. This December? Well…maybe you don’t have the usual anxieties over entertaining family and friends, but you may have even bigger worries.
And here’s the thing. Sleeplessness and anxiety create a vicious cycle. With too much on your mind, it’s hard to sleep. Without sleep, it’s hard to feel calm and together.
There was even a recent study about this exact thing. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Masssachusetts General Hospital evaluated 150 healthy young adults with sleep studies. Here was their first finding:
😊 ⅓ of participants had normal sleep
😕 ⅓ of participants had only a half-night’s sleep
☹️ ⅓ of participants didn’t sleep at all
👉 Getting only a half-night’s sleep hijacked the brain’s ability to unlearn fear-related memories 👉
When these healthy young adults were exposed to various fear-conditioning exercises and brain imaging, you know what they found?
👉 Getting only a half-night’s sleep hijacked the brain’s ability to unlearn fear-related memories 👈
What does that mean? It means that fears and anxieties are more challenging to overcome without a solid night’s sleep.
So let’s talk about some tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
😴 Cut off caffeine in the afternoon and evening
😴 Eat a healthy dinner but no late-night snacks
😴 Shut down the electronics an hour before bed
😴 Incorporate a relaxing routine (like a bath or reading a book) before bed
😴 Consider some calming supplements, like magnesium or melatonin, to support better sleep
These recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg. Sleep problems can be extremely frustrating for a lot of people. If you need help getting a better sleep and calming anxiety, please reach out. These are challenging times, and we all need a little more support than usual. We are here to help!
Tips for easing anxiety naturally:
- Vitamin B6 helps produce important mood and sleep hormones
- Thiamine is known as the anti-stress vitamin
- Folate may help ward off depression and cognitive decline
- Chamomile has an effect on the neurotransmitter GABA which is your calming neurotransmitter
- Ashwaganda is an adaptogenic herb which can help balance the stress response, lowering cortisol levels and get your body to a more relaxed state
- L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. Research shows that L -Theanine has the ability to reduce stress and promote a calm relaxation
Have questions? Email us!
Seo J, Pace-Schott EF, Milad MH, et al. Partial and Total Sleep Deprivation Interferes with Neural Correlates of Consolidation of Fear Extinction Memory. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. 2020.