A new study shows that disruption of a normal day/night rhythm takes an enormous toll on your mental health.
Do you have a circadian rhythm disturbance?
You might if you are restless or active during the night, or are inactive for long periods during the day.
That’s all it took to significantly increase odds of mood disorders, cognition issues, and decreased over all wellness.
If you feel this might be an issue for you, read on.
- Published May 15, 2018 in Lancet Psychiatry, researchers analyzed data from over 91,000 people wearing wristbands to record activity for 7 days straight, around the clock.
- Periods of rest and periods of activity were recorded, and examined against rates of mood disorders, cognition and general wellness of the participants.
What the researchers found:
- Disruption of day/night circadian rhythm (increased activity during the night and decreased activity during the day) resulted in:
increased risk of major depression
increased risk of bipolar disorder
greater mood instability
higher levels of neuroticism
higher feelings of loneliness
lower feelings of happiness
lower health satisfaction
slower cognitive function
- This connection between circadian rhythm might be one reason why sleep actually helps increase your recovery from depression, as I blogged about for you last year.
- I also blogged for you here about how sleep affects your heart health.
- And here about how sleep affects your anxiety levels.
- And here about how sleep affects your risk of an asthma flare.
- And here about how sleep affects your ADHD risk.
- And here about how sleep can even affect your weight… dramatically!
Because mood disorders have a common onset during adolescence, it’s a little bit scary that in this digital era most teenagers have a significant disruption of circadian rhythm due to staying up late at night on computers, smart phones, reading from tablets, and watching TV.
Is this circadian rhythm disturbance, that is basically mainstream at this point, increasing our society’s risk of bipolar, depression, feelings of loneliness, neuroticism, cognitive decline and more?
This study suggests that the answer to that is yes.
So… double check your circadian rhythm and shore up your sleep hygiene to decrease your own risk.
Whether you are a teenager or not… and whether you are the parent of a teenager or not… it’s worth double checking your circadian rhythm to proactively decrease your risk of subsequent depression, mood disorders, feelings of loneliness, dissatisfaction with health, and cognitive decline.
So to that end, here is a list of my Top 10 favorite holistic ways to support your brain function, to help you get a better night’s sleep and get back into a health sleep/wake cycle:
1. Melatonin â€” the hormone that signals it is time to sleep for our body, our melatonin levels naturally decline with age. If you find it hard to naturally fall asleep, try boosting your own melatonin levels with a low dose melatonin supplement.
2. GABA/L-Theanine â€” GABA is very soothing to the brain and if you are have trouble with anxiety or racing thoughts at bedtime, you might feel the calming benefits of supplementing with a product containing L-Theanine, which crosses the blood brain barrier and converts to GABA to help relax over active thoughts.
3. Probiotics â€” the mind/gut connection is completely underrated. Decreased gut flora has been linked with anxiety and probiotics are now shown to be a very effective treatment for both anxiety and depression, and as a bonus, they boost immunity.
4. Zinc â€” low levels of zinc are linked to depression. If your multivitamin doesn’t have zinc in it, consider supplementing your zinc levels with a supplement.
5. Magnesium â€” Magnesium is very relaxing and because it helps your muscles relax and release, it is a wonderful nighttime drink. On nights when I am feeling tense (especially helpful for anyone who grinds their teeth at night or has restless legs!) I enjoy a hot cup of water with a teaspoon of Natural Vitality’s Calm magnesium drink, found in my online dispensary here!
6. Other supplements that protect your brain â€” if dementia runs in your family, I highly recommend these two supplements. Omega 3 fatty acids, which preserve brain volume, and Resveratrol supplements, which stop plaques from growing in Alzheimers disease. Blueberries have also recently been shown to give memory a boost in mild cognitive impairment… if you don’t get enough berries on a daily basis, you could supplement with blueberry supplements to help boost your memory function as well.
7. Decrease EMF exposures in the bedroom. Decreasing the disruption to your health at night by decreasing your EMF exposures — removing those you can remove, decreasing those you can decrease, and shielding from those you can’t do anything about — will help your body truly restore it’s health during sleep.
Hop over here for a blog post I wrote that gives you a free printable checklist on decreasing your body’s EMF exposures… especially crucial if you suspect you are EMF sensitive.
8. Use A Light Box to correct your circadian rhythm naturally! Effective to not only boost your daytime energy levels (making you more active during the day) but a light box will also help you sleep better that night… naturally, without taking any mediations or supplements at all.
Perfect for those who don’t want to risk any untoward side effects from taking pills, a light box does more than just correct your circadian rhythm, light boxes have been shown to directly treat depression as good as a Rx medication and even boost libido.
9. Block Blue Light from reaching your eyes. Ok I’m a mother of two teenagers (oh my how the time has flown) and it’s just completely unrealistic for me to expect them not to use their computers at night to complete homework assignments, or use their phone at night to arrange plans with friends, or to use their televisions at night to catch up on their favorite TV shows or (in my son’s case) watch their favorite sports teams play. That said, you can make the glow from these screens less disruptive to circadian rhythm simply by the compromise of wearing blue light filtering glasses, like these.
10. Sleep Grounded â€” To take your sleep resonance to the next level, you can combine your brain’s healing alpha sleep state with the Earth’s energy directly by grounding the body when sleeping with in indoor grounding product. Increased time spent in alpha brain wave patterns equals greater time in the restorative healing phases of sleep and the healing processing time of sleep, which is when dreams occur. This is why dreams often increase in intensity when we sleep grounded. While we sleep, we cycle through alpha sleep states and REM sleep states and each time we do we are held in beautiful resonance with the Earth’s healing energy.
This is one of the reasons why getting a good night’s sleep impacts our entire body from head to toe… because high quality sleep does everything from preserve our brain volume and function to enhancing weight loss! I have invested a great deal of time and research creating the highest quality, most reliable, washable, and ethically respectful (crafted by hand right here in the USA!) grounding healing tools.
Tools like my eco-friendly Grounding Mattress Panels â€” the ultimate in grounding all night long using the highest quality eco friendly fabrics (like organic cotton and hemp along with medical grade stainless steel to ground you for years and years and years without fail!). Wash as often as you like with no loss of conductivity!
Upgrade your nighttime grounding experience with the world’s best medical grade grounding products right here.
I hope this information helps you positively impact your circadian rhythm, helps you boost your central nervous system, boosts your mood, your sleep, even decreases your feelings of loneliness long term.
A good night’s sleep is absolutely crucial to maintaining wellness â€” one thing is for sure, your body needs good sleep to function!
P.S. Want some more sleep support?
Watch this video on additional holistic ways to help your sleep that I made a couple of years ago for you below!