Latest Issue

Let’s Get Some Sleep!

Let me start by saying that I am not a medical professional. You should not take medical advice from me as I am wholly unqualified. Please consult with a wholly qualified medical professional before doing or changing anything regarding your health, especially taking any supplements.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way let’s talk about sleep.

I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I am in a perpetual state of anxious, with or without reason. I have noticed over the years that my anxiety and my sleep patterns are very much intertwined. The more poorly I sleep, the more anxious I get; the more anxious I get, the more poorly I sleep, thus beginning a nasty cycle.

To prevent this, I try to maintain a pretty regimented sleep habit. I get up around the same time every day (including weekends) and attempt to get to bed around the same time each night (including weekends). Things like this help me stay on track, and while I will never be ‘not anxious,’ keeping a good sleep schedule helps to keep the anxiety in a better, more manageable place.

So, what can we do to ensure we get the best night’s sleep possible? Let’s discuss.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), here are some habits that can improve your sleep health:

As I mentioned, be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.

Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and turn the heat down! When you sleep in a cool room, your core body temperature drops, which signals your brain that it’s time to sleep. This makes it easier to fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night. According to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, lowering the core temperature can help improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.

Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom. If you remove the stimulation, you can train your body that hitting the bed means it’s time to go to sleep.

Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime. No one will sleep well if you have a belly full of food. Alcohol can make you sleep too deeply, but not a good, healthy sleep. And caffeine is going to be no bueno for good sleep. Also, I learned this lesson the hard way a few years ago — caffeine stays in your system for much longer than you think. If you are having problems getting to sleep at night, consider cutting caffeine off around noon, as caffeine can stay in your system for six or more hours.

Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night. Not only does working out make you physically tired, but it also gets serotonin, dopamine, and all those feel-good brain hormones working, making it easier to fall asleep.

What happens if you do all this and still can’t sleep?

Practicing good sleep habits is important, but if your sleep problems continue or interfere with how you feel or function during the day, you should talk to your doctor. The CDC suggests that before visiting your doctor, keep a diary of your sleep habits for about ten days to discuss at the visit.

Also, remember to mention if you are taking any medications (over-the-counter or prescription) or supplements. They may make it harder for you to sleep.

I also have another suggestion to help with both sleep and anxiety. But, fair warning, this is where my disclaimer at the start comes in.

I recently came across a ‘Sleepy Girl Mocktail’; full disclosure: I did find this on TikTok, but bear with me.

It’s a concoction of tart cherry juice and magnesium. And is purported to help aid with both sleep and anxiety. Let’s talk about why.

First up, the tart cherry juice. Tart cherries naturally contain both melatonin and tryptophan. And while all cherries contain melatonin, the tart variety contains more than others. According to the National Library of Medicine, “Tart cherries, in particular, also have high levels of anti-inflammatory substances at a level comparable to a number of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory products.”

Next up, magnesium. According to Gregory Scott Brown, a psychiatrist and an affiliate faculty member at the University of Texas Dell Medical School in Austin. “We definitely need more and bigger studies, but there is some evidence that magnesium can help with mild anxiety and even mild forms of depression. If someone’s feeling wired and kind of wound up, and they want to try something ‘natural’ or take a supplement, magnesium wouldn’t be a bad place to start.”

University Hospitals, some benefits of magnesium include heart, bone, and metabolic health, sleep, and stress management.

So, how do we make our ‘Sleepy Person Mocktail’? It’s pretty simple. I mix half a glass of 100 % tart cherry juice and a teaspoon of magnesium powder (I use Natural Vitality Calm plus Calcium), and then top with a bit of seltzer water. The seltzer isn’t necessary; if it’s not your jam, I just like to cut the sweetness a bit.

Since I’ve started drinking this, I’ve found that I am sleeping really well — and through the night, which is almost unheard of for me. I’m waking up more well-rested, and I have a lot more energy at the end of the day, making me more productive after work. And, of course, better sleep leads to less anxiety.

So, if you are having trouble sleeping or are having mild anxiety (especially at bedtime), maybe give this a shot — but be sure to talk to your doctor(s) first. Again, I’m an editor, not a doctor.

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m not Jimmy. He’ll be back next week; I’m a little wordy this week, and he was nice enough to give me the extra legroom. He did want to mention something real quick though. Today (the 24th) is ‘Little’ Jimmy’s birthday! He may be 28 and over 6 feet tall, but he’ll always be Little Jimmy to us! So Happy Birthday, JW3! We all hope you have a very Happy Birthday!!