Since the start of the pandemic, an increasing number of people have reported sleep struggles, here, we investigate why and how to combat insomnia
By Lewis Rixon, We Are Kynd
If you’ve had trouble sleeping recently, then you’re certainly not alone. With the massive disruption to daily life from the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are finding it challenging to maintain normal routines. And, now, more people than ever are seeing an occasional restless night turn into sleep problems and insomnia.
Fortunately, there is a range of natural and healthy ways to improve your sleep patterns, allowing you to recharge and earn a few well-deserved Zzzz’s without resorting to pills and medication. As a family business based around sustainable wellbeing, we’ve seen a significant increase in We are Kynd customers asking if CBD will help with insomnia. And from our experience, it can certainly play a part in maintaining a healthy routine.
It’s important to remember that everyone has the occasional night of broken sleep once in a while. Sleeplessness may result in a day of brain fog, bad moods and reaching for those sugary snacks, but typically you’ll be able to catch up on your rest and return to a regular sleep pattern reasonably quickly.
But suppose you’re starting to experience recurring sleep problems. In that case, it’s much easier to tackle them early on – before they begin to impact your daily life and those around you. Especially as long-term insomnia can increase your risks of health issues, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Why has COVID-19 led to a rise in insomnia?
As adults, we know that we should typically be aiming for between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to remain healthy and for optimum brain function. But even before the global pandemic, as many as 67 per cent of UK adults said they suffered from sleepless nights, and 31 per cent had insomnia (aviva.com).
Juggling family and work commitments can be a struggle at the best of times. But add the challenges of COVID-19 and, understandably, the University of Southampton (Southampton.ac.uk) found the number of people experiencing insomnia in the UK had gone from one in six to one in four during the first national lockdown.
Described as ‘Coronasomnia’ by some experts, this chronic sleeplessness is a perfect storm for increased energy and health problems, not only from the risk of COVID-19, but also the impact of the measures introduced to tackle it.
Most of us will have experienced more stress, anxiety and depression since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which are all common causes of insomnia. And many of the ways we might try to cope, like binge-watching TV into the night with a glass of wine or beer, can make things worse. Especially if you then start napping during the day to try and catch up on sleep.
Unfortunately, while national lockdowns have helped slow the spread of COVID-19, they’ve also contributed to the rise in insomnia. Our everyday routines are typically governed by alarms waking us up for the school run or commute to work. And scheduled lunch breaks or clocking off at 5:00 pm signal the end of the day.
Working from home, particularly if you’re worried about risks to your job, can lead to longer and irregular hours with no clear boundaries to separate professional and home life, especially if you’ve also been dealing with home schooling and other commitments. This, in turn, contributes to a lack of motivation to start work and means it’s more challenging to switch off at the end of the day, increasing feelings of burnout.
It may be tempting to turn up to the occasional Zoom meeting in your pyjamas (we’ve all been there!). But if you have insomnia, there’s a real risk that spending all day working from your bed can worsen the situation. If you start associating your bedroom with work-mode, it will be even harder to sleep at the end of the day. And even more so if you watch videos on your laptop or smartphone, as the blue light will change the production of melatonin, the hormone produced by your body to trigger sleep.
All of this impacts your internal circadian rhythm and body clock, especially if you aren’t getting outside in sunlight for your Vitamin D fix regularly.
What are natural ways to tackle insomnia and sleep problems?
If you’re looking for ways to improve your sleep, there are a variety of steps you can take, along with a selection of natural remedies which can improve your slumber.
Starting by setting a regular time to wake up, getting regular exercise and dragging yourself out into fresh air and sunlight can help a lot, especially if you can get out into nature. This is one reason we support the One Tree Planted initiative, with a percentage of our profits going towards reforestation.
A new bedtime routine can also help your body understand when it’s time for sleep. Make sure to switch off your electronic devices and avoid caffeine and other stimulants in the hours before bed. And to ensure your bedroom’s more favourable for a good night’s sleep, keep it comfortable, quiet, dark and not too warm.
Natural remedies to promote rest include chamomile tea, the scent of lavender, and eating cherries, which are a great source of melatonin. And there’s growing research into Cannabidiol (CBD) as a natural plant product that can potentially reduce insomnia, stress and anxiety.
Studies in 2018 and 2019 (ncbi.nlm.gov) have shown a reduction in insomnia, stress and anxiety in adults given CBD, and studies of animals as far back as 2012 (pubmed. (ncbi.nlm.gov) have suggested this may be due to an improvement in the quality of sleep.
The endocannabinoid system within your body comprises transmitters and receptors, which help regulate mental and physical functions. These essential functions include sleep, appetite, memory, the immune system, and stress responses. Positive responses can be triggered by exercise and potentially by taking CBD, which is produced naturally by hemp and cannabis plants.
And you don’t need to worry about being high or stoned after taking CBD products sold legally in the UK. The chemical responsible, THC, is only included in tiny trace amounts in broad or full spectrum oils to encourage a more beneficial halo effect, and isn’t anywhere near enough to have an influence on you.
While more potential benefits are suggested by new research, the existing evidence has led organisations, including the WHO (who.int), to conclude CBD doesn’t have abuse potential or cause harm.
As a food supplement, our certified organic vegan CBD products comply with all regulations. Everything goes through government accredited lab testing, with the results provided for all the products we offer. As a company focused on sustainability and customer service, we ensure all our We Are Kynd bottles and packaging are recyclable and compostable (where possible), with vegetable ink printing.
Which means you can sleep easy knowing you can try CBD in confidence that it’s provided legally from a reputable retailer and you’re simultaneously helping the environment. Sweet dreams!
By Lewis Rixon, We Are Kynd