The levels of stress, anxiety and sleep deprivation in our country have been recognized as epidemic, leaving in their wake a long trail of physical and mental health complications that are impossible to ignore.
Your immune system, heart and circulation, blood sugar and brain rely on your body’s ability to fight inflammation and maintain optimal function—all of which are affected by the accumulation of stress and lack of sleep.
And when you find yourself consumed with worry, you know that a bout of sleeplessness and restlessness will soon follow. Because stress and sleep are deeply connected.
Stress and sleep: the vicious cycle
The human body is wonderfully complex with a multitude of checks and balances in place to preserve life, order and wellness. Nighttime is the time when cells repair and rid themselves of the impurities and dead tissue that can be harmful if left to accumulate. But this repair process can only occur when you’re asleep and digestion is at rest.
Life’s worries and frustrations can affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. An anxious mind, a partner snoring, pre-existing medical issues—they all threaten to disrupt key neurotransmitters, including melatonin and GABA, that help regulate your circadian rhythm and metabolism.
And as you know, chronic sleep deprivation is all-consuming, creating a vicious cycle of restlessness and stress that moves you further away from the restorative sleep you need.
This, in turn, causes a buildup of toxins and cellular waste that trigger a wave of harmful inflammation in your body. Like a car being driven into the ground without the benefit of regular tune-ups and maintenance, your body starts to break down—from the engine to the wheels.
Do common sleep aids work?
Most adults have experienced sleep disturbances and extended periods of stress in their lives. According to the American Institute of Sleep, 77% of adults experience stress that impacts their physical health. Another 48% lose sleep due to stress.
Desperate to shut down your racing mind and get a good night’s sleep, you may have tried one or more common sleep aids only to experience the frustration of being able to fall asleep but not stay asleep or getting “knocked out” and waking up feeling drowsy and groggy.
Thankfully, modern nutritional research has ushered in a healthier, more natural class of stress and sleep ingredients that deliver the restful sleep you want without side effects.
The scientifically-backed ingredients that work
When you think about natural ingredients that promote a sense of calm and help induce sleep, melatonin is probably first to come to mind. Studies do support that it can be incredibly effective—if you take the right form.
Melatonin is a natural hormone you need to promote a balanced sleep/wake cycle which can be easily disrupted by daytime stress and evening blue light from electronic devices like TVs, phones and tablets.
While melatonin supplements have been shown to help you fall asleep, many don’t help you stay asleep.
Here’s a look at a variety of safe and effective natural solutions which work in combination with regular melatonin to calm your racing mind, support your metabolism and help you get a full night’s rest:
- Delayed-release melatonin – The same melatonin ingredient which is widely available in supplement form is also available in extended-release form that allows this neurotransmitter-like hormone to be released both immediately and gradually to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
- GABA – This natural neurotransmitter helps you ease into sleep by calming feelings of anxiety and reducing the effects of mental and physical stress. In supplement form, it can work wonders to quiet your overactive mind.
- Ashwagandha – This time-tested Ayurvedic healer is known to help reduce stress and promote calmness. But its most amazing quality is that it can actually help keep stress-related hormones from flooding your mind.
- Rhodiola rosea – Another centuries-old herbal remedy, this plant extract has been the focus of research on stress and anxiety, and has revealed itself to be a potent mood balancer.
- Holy basil – As a powerful adaptogen, this extract has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that support a healthy brain while also helping to reduce stress, boost memory, fight fatigue and improve sleep.
- L-theanine – If you find your mind and body get restless when you want nothing more than to rest, this relaxation amino acid is what you need. As an anxiolytic, its natural sedative effect helps to calm anxiety.
- Magnesium – This known relaxation mineral can reduce feelings of stress and help you sleep longer by calming the central nervous system, promoting muscle relaxation and supporting nerve function.
My bedtime ritual
If unwinding from a stressful day starts the moment you turn off your light, you’re already too late. Here’s my ritual for getting the sleep I need even after my toughest day:
- Late afternoon – Take a few minutes to center yourself with a soothing breathing exercise or calming walk. And cut the caffeine after 4 pm…it can stay in your system for up to 6 hours!
- Early evening – Digestion can interfere with production of melatonin, the natural hormone that regulates your body’s circadian cycle. Give your gut plenty of time to wrap-up activities for the night by avoiding any late evening snacking.
- Before bed – Put away your devices to limit melatonin-disrupting blue light that emanates from digital screens. Try a soothing activity instead such as reading a book. And take a combination of regular melatonin and delayed-release melatonin 30-minutes before bed to easily drift into sleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
- Bedtime – Feel your stress melt away with the soothing scent of lavender oil or by taking a supplement containing one or more of the calming nutrients listed above.
For a natural melatonin formula that is safe to take on a nightly basis, try NAOMI SleepAdapt featuring a unique combination of traditional melatonin and delayed-release melatonin, plus proprietary GABA to help you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
And if stress and worry are making your metabolism and mood sluggish, NAOMI SpiceFruit™ Gloslim + StressAdapt™ is a powerful formula that activates your metabolism and tames feelings of stress with the combination of ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, holy basil and spicefruit extract.