Why Can't I Sleep?
4 Reasons Your Sleep Schedule is a Mess and Natural Remedies That Can Help
How much sleep do I need?
Unfortunately for too many of us, the answer is “Not nearly as much sleep as I get.”
While the CDC recommends 7 hours each night as a minimum for adults, according to Gallup, Americans are getting an average of 6.8 hours and some are getting even less. Sleep researchers believe that humans need at least 8 hours each night, if not more.
It goes without saying, the pandemic has had a significant impact on many Americans’ sleep habits. According to a new survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), more than one in five Americans say they are sleeping worse than they did pre-pandemic.
The most common barriers to sleep:
Stress is irrefutably a part of life—but modern existence makes stress extra difficult for our minds and bodies. Our innate fight-or-flight response is still triggered by external threats like disease or joblessness. But where our ancient cave-dwelling forebears could kill an animal that was pursuing them and release the buildup of stress, today’s ongoing, persistent problems don’t offer us the catharsis of resolution. There are scant opportunities for us to actually resolve and discharge accumulated stress—we’re more prone to doom-scroll in a 24-hour news cycle, which our primitive brains still interpret as being chased by a predator.
Stress and anxiety have similar symptoms but are actually very different things. Stress is usually a response to an external cause, such as a wildfire or a pandemic. Anxiety often refers to persistent, excessive fear or worries in situations that are not visibly threatening. Anxiety is usually more detrimental and frightening than stress because free-floating fear of unseen outcomes, invisible threats, or the future can be more unnerving than the stress caused by losing a job or experiencing an illness.
Doom-scrolling didn’t exist 30 years ago or even in caveman days. As recently as the 1990s, work had to stop at the end of the workday because we simply didn’t have the technology to connect people outside of offices and businesses. Between the internet, cell phones, and social media, many people feel the pressure to be “always-on” and to keep producing on evenings, weekends, and holidays. The sheer speed and quantity of new information coming at us overwhelm and overstimulates our brains, which did not evolve to process material at this scale. Even the blue light of our now-ubiquitous computer screens and phones interferes with our sleep-wake cycle. Technology has done many wonderful things for humanity, but helping us get adequate rest is not one of them.
Diet and lifestyle
Do you drink more caffeine than you did before the pandemic hit? Because stress and anxiety contribute to poor sleep, many people rely on more coffee and more sugar.
Healthy living, regular movement, and a quality diet are all very connected to good sleep—but lack of sleep also makes it exponentially harder to resist that extra latte, skip extra helpings of dessert, or get to your Zoom yoga class on time. More stimulants, less exercise, poor diet, and constant screen time are all part of the vicious circle of insomnia.
Thankfully, there are natural methods to help us with our poor sleep cycles. As with any medication, different types of herbs and supplements can be more effective/less effective for different people. This is why we always recommend checking with your doctor about plant-based supplements, especially if you take other medication!
- Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the brain with levels rising in the evening and falling in the morning. It is closely involved in the natural sleep cycle. Because inefficient sleep can affect your energy and your mood, melatonin is a terrific choice if you experience occasional sleeplessness or jet lag, or if you want to improve your quality of rest. Melatonin’s main job in the body is to regulate night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles.*
- Chamomile is a flower in the daisy family and is a dietary supplement popular for a variety of uses including sleep problems and anxiety. It has a gentle floral aroma that is very relaxing, which is why it’s so popular in herbal teas and aromatherapy. It is well-known for its calming effects which makes it a great herb to use before bedtime. Chamomile is also a natural skin-soother when applied topically. Fun Fact: Chamomile is called “alles zutraut” in German, which means “capable of anything,” and has been used as an herbal remedy in Europe for thousands of years.*
- Ashwagandha is a plant whose roots and berries have been used for over 3,000 years in Ayurveda, a form of alternative medicine based on Indian principles of natural healing. Classified as an adaptogen; meaning it supports the ability of an organism, like the human body to cope with daily stress. Ashwagandha is a plant that has been used for medicinal purposes for at least three thousand years. It is an adaptogen herb known, in ancient Chinese literature, to calm the heart and quiet the spirit and mind. It operates as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, meaning that it increases the availability of dopamine (a neurotransmitter) in the body. It can also embody the properties of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid, “GABA”, by relaxing the body.*
- CBD Hemp Extract is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that is associated with a wide range of health and wellness benefits. CBD interacts with the body’s Endocannabinoid System, which is responsible for regulating a variety of functions. Whatever your reason is behind buying hemp, know that with Simple Leaf you are getting one of the best CBD formulas on the market. We take pride in our work and are constantly improving our formula so that you will get a pure CBD product that is affordable and more importantly, works.*
Sleep is foundational to good health, but in 2021, it’s very understandable that a ton of Americans have fallen off the healthy sleep wagon. Remember, quality sleep enables you to live a healthier, better life. Start by drinking less coffee, getting more exercise, or resisting sugar and screens. Stop putting sleep on the back burner and stop managing fatigue by overriding it with caffeine, try having some empathy for yourself if sleep has been a struggle—you’re not alone with your insomnia! When asking yourself “How much sleep do I need?” try evaluating the quality of your sleep as well as the duration, and consider plant-based, natural remedies such as Simple Leaf’s CBD Sleep Support which contains Melatonin, CBD, Chamomile, and Ashwagandha to help get your sleep back on the correct track.