Sleep is an enormous foundation to our lives, our health, and our well-being— whether it’s getting good quality sleep or simply getting enough of it. Sleep is just as important as good nutrition, exercise, mental health, staying away from sugar and junk food, and all the other things out there that could do our wellness and energy some good.
A big killer for good sleep can include mental health struggles like stress or depression. Above all else, anxiety— which can be caused by stress or other mental health issues— may be one of the worst things of all for sleep. What stress can do to your body, as well as what anxiety can do to your body as well, can both have a lot to do with how irregular sleep or sleep deprivation ultimately affect your health, too— and the two can be very closely connected.
Do you experience too much anxiety to sleep? What about stress or other issues? Read on to learn more about anxiety, what causes it, plus self-care and natural remedies that work according to science and traditional knowledge.
What is anxiety?
Everyone deals with anxiety. For some, however, it can be greater anxiety than usual, depending on the circumstances. For others, anxiety can be part of a mental health condition.
Anxiety vs stress – is anxiety the same thing as experiencing stress? According to the American Psychology Association, stress and anxiety both have similar signs, though experiences of stress are only based on triggers that eventually subside. Anxiety, however, doesn’t always have a trigger, though it can be caused by stress.
But anxiety can also involve worrying about something that has already passed or hasn’t happened yet. It can feel a little like stress that is “out of control,” and it can really wreck your quality sleep and sleeping habits.
These signs of anxiety and stress include:
- Irritability or anger
- Mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscular pains
- Digestive imbalance
- Nervousness and worry
- Intense tight feeling in stomach or chest
- Brain fog
- Panic attack or anxiety attack (sometimes)
Anxiety vs fear – how do you know if you are just dealing with fear, or dealing with anxiety? Like with anxiety vs stress, fear is a natural response to something threatening. Anxiety, however, is ongoing and can be a form of hard-to-control worry or fear, even when a trigger or event is over or not there anymore.
Causes of anxiety
What leads to anxiety, a form of almost uncontrolled fear or stress? Here are some leading causes:
- Stressful situations that are unmanageable (such as work or school-related)
- Stressful situations that seem to have no solution (could be relational or other situation)
- Traumatic situation or event
- An anxiety disorder
- An underlying medical condition (like hyperthyroidism)
- Substance use (drugs and alcohol)
- …and possibly more
Sometimes, a little bit of anxiety surrounding or following situations like these (or any stressful situation)— and losing a bit of sleep from it— is normal. But, if you’re having trouble with anxiety while going to sleep, or deal with powerful anxiety upon waking— or even more extreme symptoms, like panic attacks— it may be a sign that stress effects on the body are taking their toll on health and your sleep. It’s time to take care of your anxiety and seek support!
How to relieve anxiety at home with self-care
If you’re learning how to deal with anxiety, and only face some of the milder signs and causes, you’re in luck: sometimes a little bit of self-care, nutrition, and natural healing can help your anxiety and sleep get back on track.
If, on the other hand, you’re dealing with more extreme issues— like chronic insomnia, panic attacks, and significant impairment in your personal life, work life, or relationships— then it’s better to talk to your doctor, therapist, or other health professional about the issues you’re dealing with.
For those experiencing only the former, here are some simple and holistic ways to relieve anxiety at home or with self-care:
- Learn better methods for stress management
- Avoid substances to soothe (alcohol, cigarettes, drugs)
- Cut down on caffeine
- Learn deep breathing, mindfulness, and meditation exercises
- Keep up on a routine
- Exercise regularly and stay physically active
- Don’t isolate – talk to a close and trusted friend
- Stay on top of good eating and nutrition
- Talk to a therapist or psychologist
Keep in mind: these things won’t quickly cure or eliminate anxiety, they will help you manage anxiety over the long term which can help reduce the severity and issues you deal with. Keep up on them, and they can make a difference, in addition to holistic or natural remedies.
Natural remedies for anxiety
If you want to add a little extra self-care to managing your own anxiety, some natural remedies like herbs and supplements are shown to help. Healing plants and fungi can approach anxiety from many angles: either by helping soothe the nervous system, helping tonify and strengthen the nerves, soothe an unsettled digestive system, or even protect against inflammation-causing free radicals brought on by stress, which can make anxiety worse in the long run.
Natural remedies for anxiety and depression don’t work just like pharmaceutical medications or anti-anxiety pills. Think of some of these herbal remedies as “vitamins” that give you the nutrition and phytochemicals your body needs to handle anxiety— and thus sleep—better. That said, many of these herbs can have a soothing, calming effect not too long after you take them: whether as a piping tea, supplement, or drinkable powder blend!
- Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). This daisy-like, fragrant flower tea has always been associated with calm. Taken during anxiety or for the long term, studies show that chamomile can help with mild symptoms of anxiety and improve sleep.
- Hops (Humulus lupulus). The citrusy, bitter flavor found in many beers, hops also has an ability to soothe digestion, anxiety, and depression in a mild manner. Studies show these benefits could ultimately help most people with sleep, too.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Who wouldn’t feel soothed by the fresh aroma of lavender flowers? Studies show there is something real to both smelling the fragrance of lavender or taking supplement or tea of the flower for anxiety and improving sleep.
- Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). This lemony-mint flavored herb has almost immediate nerve-soothing effects on anxiety or a nervous stomach, and shows great benefit to mild depression when used over a long period of time, according to research.
- Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). Tropical flowering vine passionflower has been shown in studies to have powerful effects on anxiety and promoting sleep, even in severe instances.
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Rosemary is rich in powerful antioxidants that protect against free radicals, including those that may contribute to inflammation-caused anxiety, depression, or stress from other lifestyle factors, studies show.
- Lion’s mane (Hericeum erinaceus). This white puffy mushroom is the ultimate healing medicinal fungi for the nervous system: for mild anxiety and depression, as well as overall nerve health when used as a tonic over a long period of time, studies show.
- Melatonin. This compound is a naturally-occurring neurotransmitter in the body that helps promote sleep. Taking extra from a natural source can help restore the body’s own stores, and help restore sleep even while dealing with anxiety that interferes with sleep.
Find many of these anxiety- and sleep-supporting natural ingredients all together in McPeak Sleep Defense, tasty drinkable supplement powder!