Have you noticed yourself particularly anxious, alert and unable to switch off since COVID19 – a finding reported by 50% of Aussies?
Has this subsequently meant you’re feeling unable to sleep that evening, and you’ve felt even more anxious the next day?
If so – this article is for you.
As a sleep expert with over 9 years of academics, I am here to let you know – this is completely normal.
First and foremost, as a direct result of inadequate sleep, clinical trials show stress hormone cortisol rises – by a significant 37%.
As a stimulating hormone, cortisol signals to the brain and body to be extra alert – exactly why you feel more anxious.
As you’re probably familiar, it’s a vicious cycle: less sleep leads to greater anxiety, which then leads to less sleep.
And if you are caught in this downwards spiral, rather than suffer endlessly, here are my top three anti-anxiety and pro-sleep tips for you – all backed by science
Reduce light exposure in the evening
Research shows light encourages the release of serotonin – an awakening hormone.
Similarly, the evidence also shows light suppresses melatonin – which otherwise induces sleepiness and relaxation.
Obviously in the evening, you want less to feel less awake and more relaxed – so subbing out bright lights for candles, switching off tech and closing the blinds are all recommended.
Further to that, during the night, a sleep eye mask like Dreamlight is a must-have: with facial mapping technology, the clever mask cushions your face where you need it most and blocks out 100% of light.
And remember – that helps you sleep better, and feel less anxious the next day.
Eat magnesium rich foods
Clinical trials show magnesium can reduce anxiety by 31% – which as you now know, can also mean you’ll sleep easier too.
As a nutrient to calm the nervous system, magnesium can support muscle and mind relaxation – exactly why it is recommended for sleep, post workout recovery and for stress alike.
Top sources of magnesium? Fatty fish like salmon and tuna, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, bananas and avocado.
Drink chamomile tea
Activating the parasympathetic nervous system, evidence shows chamomile contains a compound called apigenoin.
As a mild sedative, this helps you feel more relaxed, and can ease mental tension.
Particularly if you’re wound up throughout the day, swapping out caffeine for chamomile is ideal: caffeine will enhance feelings of stress, whereas chamomile can reduce it.
Now, take a deep breath and sleep well tonight.
Olivia Arezzolo is a Sleep Expert.
Her qualifications include: Bachelor of Social Science – Psychology; Cert Sleep Psychology; Diploma of Health Science – Nutritional Medicine; Cert 3+4 Fitness; giving her underpinnings of psychology, fitness and nutrition; which are then integrated into sleep.