If it weren’t for the funny memes on social media and connecting with our loved ones to express our frustration and anxiety about the crazy reality we find ourselves in, we wouldn’t be able to hold onto the glimpse of hope for something better. Saying that, every person I know is experiencing some level of anxiety, depression, or fear of the unknown.
Everything seems out of our control, so focusing on what we CAN control will give us a sense of relief. If we focus on the news, the uncertainty of our children and their education, the virus and what if we get sick, we will ultimately spiral downwards into a vortex of fear and anxiety.
I tell my family to focus on what you can control and put one foot in front of the other. Use this time to do something different, pivot in your focus on the typical routine and mundane things that you would typically find yourself doing and see how you can grow as an individual. We are all in the state of uncertainty and when the physical body is experiencing that, it is in the sympathetic or “fight and flight” state.
What Happens to Our Physical Health When We are Chronically Anxious?
If you are going to bed anxious, having a hard time sleeping, and waking up anxious, then you are stuck in the “sympathetic” state, or state of “fight or flight”, where your body is chronically stressed and can’t get relief. As a result, your adrenals are in overdrive, producing cortisol to make sure you can “run away from that tiger” and you are on high alert. One sure sign you are experiencing Adrenal Fatigue is you’re not able to focus on one task and you get distracted easily.
As exhausted as you might be, it’s difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. You reach for sugar and carbs for quick energy because of your exhaustion and they don’t help any. Your kidneys suffer, as they hold up the adrenals and they may become inflamed. As a result, you may be retaining water and increasing your odds of a kidney or bladder infection. Your immune system is put on the back burner as you are focused on the threat you are facing (whether it is quarantine or the unknown or the feeling of being out of control). Your body doesn’t know you are not being chased by a tiger, and it is stressed because of the situation we are all facing.
How Does CBD Help with Anxiety and Sleep?
Let’s start with sleep. There’s no question that sleep is crucial to our physical and mental functioning. Sleep is essential to all of the body’s repair and restore functions. When we are asleep, the body learns what is out of balance and how to fix the complexities and stressors of everyday life. It’s been proven to improve memory recall, regulate metabolism, and reduce mental fatigue. During sleep, the brain reorganizes and recharges itself and the body removes waste products that have accumulated throughout the day so, when people are sleep deprived, they suffer. Your cognitive abilities decline, you become impatient and erratic, and you lose control of your judgment. Fatigue makes us more emotional, strung out and anxious.
Now let’s throw in the situation we are all in where uncertainty and stress is at an all-time high. This stress is making us anxious which is causing us to lose sleep which has been perpetuating the anxiety and it gets worse and worse.
Anxiety, stress, and chronic sleep deprivation all inhibit gaba, a naturally occurring brain chemical that directs the neurons to slow down or stop firing. This neurotransmitter also helps induce sleep, relax muscles and calm down. Cannabis modulates gaba and helps the body return to its normal function. It helps stop the racing thoughts that cause disruptive sleep and anxiety. The Cannabis molecules produced by your own body make you resistant to stress, similar to the way endorphins provide natural pain relief. By integrating CBD you can help bring back the body into a state of balance.
To further the case for CBD and Anxiety, it is believed that CBD helps with gut health. The gut is where all of the “happy hormones” are produced including serotonin, dopamine, and gaba. The immune system resides in the gut. If you have Leaky Gut from toxins, sugar, carbs, pesticides, and medications, holes are created in the intestinal lining. As a result, the body is unable to manufacture the normal amount of hormones needed.
Many have reported anecdotally that CBD can help with stomach pain, bloating, nausea, and appetite. Whether CBD is directly healing the gut or indirectly allowing for healing from better restorative sleep, reduced inflammation or alleviating stress that causes gut issues, the reality is that it is helping gut health. The gut-brain connection is extremely strong to the point where the gut is referred to as the second brain. Therefore when your gut is healthy, your brain is functioning at a more optimal level.
Furthermore, there are two competing components to your nervous system: the sympathetic and parasympathetic system. The sympathetic system is the fight or flight response. It kicks into gear when you have to do something quickly, you are exercising, or you are under stress. When you are in this state, your ability to digest food, sleep and relax are shut off. You may notice that you lose your appetite when you’re stressed and you also have a difficult time sleeping. Stress also causes digestive issues such as bloating, irregular bowel movements, acid reflux, and rapid weight gain or loss. It may cause a decrease in the blood flow and oxygen to the stomach, which can lead to cramping, inflammation or an in balance of the gut bacteria. The endocannabinoid system modulates and interacts with all of the other systems in the body. It regulates functions such as movement, pain, immune responses, and cognitive function like perception, mood and memory. These receptors are in the brain, muscles, and fat tissue. There are also many cannabinoid receptors in the digestive system.
Personally I take CBD every night before bed and regardless of what my day was like and what my morning will be like the next day, and I get a great night sleep. There are so many more benefits to CBD that I haven’t even mentioned here.
What More Can You Do to Kick the Anxiety?
Take CBD in the morning and before bedtime
This will help increase your gaba, relax your muscles and your mind and help you feel more yourself. It will also lead to deeper and more restorative sleep.
Kick the Sugar and Carbs and Start the Adrenal Reset Diet
If you need a jump start to get rid of the cravings for carbs and alcohol, use Accelerated Keto™ to switch your body’s fuel system away from sugar. If your body is craving sugar or alcohol, it is proof that you are insulin resistant, and the blood sugar spikes and dips are going to worsen your anxiety and sleep problems.
Heal Your Gut with ION*Gut Health and Probiotics
These supplements will heal the leaky gut that is the result of sugar, carbs, medication, and other toxins that you’ve ingested over your lifetime. As you heal your gut, the hormones related to anxiety I put back into balance.
If you are able to abstain from eating for at least 16 hours, usually from after dinner to the late morning the next day, you are giving your digestive system time to heal, reduce systemic inflammation.
If you believe you are experiencing adrenal burnout, Adrenosen will provide your adrenals with extra support.
Wake Up and Look at the Sunrise
It sets your circadian rhythm and gives you a sense of calm. Our circadian rhythm sets a cascade of natural mechanisms and hormonal chain reactions that can create health or disrupt health quickly.
Block Blue Light
Do not look at your cell phone or computer in the middle of the night or at least 1 hour before bedtime. Even if you look at your phone for less than a minute in the middle of the night, it triggers a disruption in the natural melatonin production and makes it difficult to fall back asleep.
Take 10 minutes in the morning and write down 5 things you’re grateful for and focus on what you envision your day like.
Move your Body
Whether it is getting your heart rate up and exercising or taking the dog for a walk, it will help switch you out of the Sympathetic or Stressed State into the parasympathetic state.
Whether you believe in God or the ways of the universe, trust in good and let go of those things that are out of your control. If you live your life with pure love, I truly believe you will be rewarded.
Reach Out to Me
I know sometimes it’s hard to know where to start and what to do and I’m here to help you.
Sara Banta is a Stanford University Graduate with a Degree in Economics and Psychology, and a certified Natural Supplement Expert & Graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sara is the Founder of Accelerated Health Products and host of the health & wellness podcast, Accelerated Health Radio.