Why Can’t I Sleep?

Sleep. In these challenging times, it can sometimes seem like one of the few saving graces we’ve got going for us. The idea is simple: we sleep, our bodies recharge, and we wake to fight (or dance) another day.

We need to sleep seven to nine hours a night on average. Without it, we’re at a higher risk of death from anything. We're also more likely to battle heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cognitive decline, weight gain, stress, and be an all-around a–hole. But sometimes we doze off only to awaken moments later, mind racing with checklists, worries, what-ifs and general monkey brain. So why can't we sleep and what can we do about it? Read on for some fascinating answers. And if we put you to sleep just this once, maybe that’s okay too.

Anxiety, Stress, and Depression

These are the holy trinity of mental health struggles plaguing us as a society. But thankfully, we've got a chance at salvation. Meditation, mindfulness, and exercise have all been proven to ward off these ailments, and in some studies, exercise has been shown to be just as effective as medication. In the mushroom kingdom, the anti-inflammatory properties of Lion’s Mane have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in mice as well as improve the functioning of the hippocampus (the area of the brain which processes emotions and memories,) so you can relax, let go, and get to sleep.

Diet

A diet high in sugar, fat and complex carbohydrates puts a strain on our digestive system, causing fluctuating blood sugar levels, acid reflux, and bloating, all of which can hijack our sleep and leave us feeling even worse than we did after the French fry binge. And while it’s common (and sometimes fun) to knock back a nightcap before bed (it’s literally CALLED a nightcap) it’s a misconception that alcohol ushers in the zzz’s. While it might help us initially drift off, booze is a big roadblock to deep, restorative sleep.

Menopause

Much like lightning before a storm, hot flashes and night sweats can signal menopause is on its way. Combine sweat-soaked sheets with a miserable night's sleep, and anyone would be irritable, with or without the change in hormones. Enter Reishi mushrooms, used by women going through "the change" for centuries in the East. A natural adaptogen, Reishi can balance hormones and reduce hot flashes, and has led to significantly increased total sleep time in rats.

Poor Sleep Habits

We know you don’t need to be told to turn off your phone, but TURN OFF YOUR PHONE! That phantom blue light has wreaked more havoc on sleep hygiene than all the monsters under all the beds. Better yet, ban all screens from the bedroom an hour before bed. It’s also a good idea to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, and, if you can swing it, stick to your circadian rhythms. That means falling asleep a couple of hours after sundown and waking a couple of hours after sunrise. Everyone's rhythms are unique, but consistency is king!

SUPPLEMENTS TO HELP

In addition to Reishi and Lion’s Mane mushrooms, many other supplements can help get more shut-eye. Magnesium Glycinate, which helps regulate the production of melatonin, has been found to improve sleep quality and is often lacking in individuals suffering from sleep disorders. And then there's always good old lavender, a favorite of spas across the land. Studies have shown that simply smelling lavender oil for 30 minutes before sleep can significantly improve sleep quality.

As Benjamin Franklin so wisely said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so don’t wait until 3 AM to find a fix for your insomnia, try implementing some ideas now and see what works. And check out our oat milk lattes for an easy way to bring the restful properties of some calming mushrooms into your diet.
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