We’re living through stressful times and now, more than ever, it is important to take care of our physical and mental wellbeing. Stress can trigger a cascade of physiological responses in our bodies; it makes our heart pound and muscles tense. Our breathing quickens and beads of sweat appear. These reactions to stress are commonly referred to as our body’s "fight-or-flight" response because, in the past, they enabled us to react quickly to life-threatening situations.
When feelings of stress become chronic, they start to affect other parts of our lives, for example, our sleep. We’ve all experienced nights lying in bed, eyes wide open, thoughts racing, and our heart pounding a mile a minute. And of course, we know sleep is important, but did you know that a lack of sleep can affect your health?
Sufficient sleep strengthens our immune system. On the other hand, not getting enough sleep weakens our body’s defense system and can make us more vulnerable to infections. So, let’s take a look at some things that can help you get those much-needed zzzzs.
What You Can Do to Sleep Better Today
Physical activity does not only improve our physical health and well-being, but it is also shown to have an impact on our quality of sleep. Research suggests that the effects of exercise on mental well-being make it a suitable treatment for anxiety and stress-related disorders. Another study in adults with sleeping problems showed that exercising regularly has positive effects on sleep and should be considered an alternative or complementary approach to existing therapies for sleep problems.
Have trouble getting started? Join our 21 Day Self Care Challenge with certified fitness coach and personal trainer Tatiana Britton.
Meditation is a relaxation technique that helps you feel more aware of the present moment. The goal is to acknowledge all thoughts, feelings, and sensations that occur within and outside the body without reacting to them. Research has shown that meditation can significantly improve feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. Take 5-10 minutes every night to meditate, for example with Headspace, a meditation app our Marketing Director Anna uses every day.
"Headspace has changed my life. Meditating daily provides me with the necessary tools and techniques to keep calm in stressful situations." - Anna Turner
3. Check Your Magnesium Levels
In addition to muscle relaxation, low magnesium levels are associated with a low level of the sleep hormone, melatonin, which disrupts circadian rhythms and makes your body feel like it’s not time to go to sleep. A study of older adults, in which half reported difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, showed that supplementation with magnesium had a significant positive impact on sleep time, sleep quality, and melatonin concentration.
But not every magnesium supplement works the same. One factor that should always be considered when choosing a magnesium supplement is that, by their nature, minerals are not particularly well absorbed by the human body. But there are barriers to absorption that can be overcome, e.g. by optimizing the form the mineral comes in.
Magnesium in the forms of magnesium bis-glycinate, magnesium malate, and magnesium citrate are better absorbed than magnesium oxide. In one unpublished study (see graph below), blood levels of magnesium over eight hours were highest for magnesium bis-glycinate, closely followed by magnesium malate; much less well absorbed was magnesium oxide.
Although magnesium citrate was not included in the above study, another study comparing the absorption of magnesium citrate with magnesium oxide found significantly more magnesium is absorbed from the citrate form compared to the oxide form.
Get Better Rest With Our Sleep Bundle
Our Thorne Sleep Bundle contains three supplements that support restful sleep and help balance circadian rhythms – Melaton-3, PharmaGABA-250, and Magnesium Bisglycinate.
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