Natural Remedies for Sleep and Anxiety
It’s starting to feel like fall. This is my absolute favorite time of the year. However, I notice in my practice that this is a time when patients start to struggle with mood problems and sleep. With less sunlight, cooler temperatures requiring more indoor activities and possibly more to do now that school has started and vacations are done, sleep can suffer as well as your mood.
There are some natural remedies that I love incorporating this time of year to keep you feeling calm with less anxiety and depression AND that helps you get better sleep. As you’ve heard me say before, sleep is one of the most important activities in our lives. It is during sleep that our bodies heal and regenerate. Many hormones such as growth hormone, which is responsible for youthening, body composition, and wonderful skin, gets secreted during deep REM sleep. If you are not getting quality sleep, then you are missing out on very important hormone-boosting and mood elevating effects.
Here are a few things to try:
- Vitamin D- I can’t stress the importance of this hormone. Yes, even though we call it a vitamin, it functions as a hormone in our bodies, sending signals for almost every important pathway. Besides helping with depression and anxiety, it also helps with pain relief. It also helps to lower your blood pressure, and may also help in cancer prevention. Almost all major diseases have low Vitamin D as a common feature. It truly is “sunshine in a bottle” as it naturally boosts your mood, just like being outside in the sunshine does. I tell my patients that you can’t ask your body to be happy unless you have normal levels of Vitamin D. Have your health care provider check your levels and aim for levels between 50 and 70. Most people require about 2000iu-5000iu per day as a liquid as liquid is more easily absorbed for most people.
- Lavender- This is one of my favorite essential oils and a must have in your home. Lavender has so many uses but its most well known benefit is its calming and relaxing effect. I love using lavender essential oils in my bath or a home diffuser. You can also put a drop on your pillow if you are having trouble sleeping. This is an easy one to add today to immediately feel more calm and relaxed.
- Ashwagandha and Rhodiola- I put these together because they are the two most popular adaptogenic herbs that I use. What adaptogenic means is that they help your body “adapt” to stress. They tone the adrenal glands, our stress glands, and help to regulate the output of cortisol which is our stress hormone.
- Melatonin- Everyone has probably heard of melatonin but are not quite sure what it does. This is our “sleepy” hormone. It helps to regulate our circadian rhythm, which is VERY important for the secretion of our hormones, balancing our brain chemistries, AND prevention of cancer. Most people resort to melatonin when having difficulty sleeping, but you must be careful not to overdo it. If melatonin isn’t working to get you sleeping within 20 minutes after taking a small dose, then likely there are other imbalances that need to be healed. This might include decreasing your cortisol (see #3) or increasing the amount of other neurotransmitters that may be responsible for mood and sleep, such as GABA and Serotonin. All in all, it’s a great hormone, and is safe to use and try.
- Chamomile- This is a great herb that for centuries has been used for sleep and relaxation. Most of you have probably tried chamomile tea and noticed its soothing effect on your whole being. I always have chamomile tea available when I just want to feel calm and soothed and enveloped in an energy of relaxation.
Now, I love having solutions that make it easy for my patients, family, and friends, without having to do all of the research and testing yourself. I offer a product, called Insomnitol, that includes many of these beneficial herbs that are responsible for healthy sleep and mood. Many patients taking this supplement not only sleep well, but report an improved sense of well-being and uplifted spirits.
Check it out on my health store HERE and use the coupon code promo10 for 10% off to try. Let me know how you like it!