I’m aware the headline above is perhaps predictably blog-bait-ish. But it’s actually the truth.

I’ve been insomniac since I was seven years old I’ve experimented with all kinds of salves. But, after many trials and errors, I’ve found a handful of (almost)  silver-bullets.

Like most of you, I also have multiple lifestyle things I do, and various products that are part of my routine. Nourished Life asked if they could assemble a pack of such things and they’re currently promoting it on their site. The details are below. Or click on the image below.

But to the…

The Big Clinchers That Changed My Sleep Forever.

I’ll flag that I tried each of these for three months each, independent of the other two and other aids, so I could determine if they worked.

They did. And my life has changed – my anxiety, my health, my muscle bulk. I’ve become more tolerant, less irascible…gosh, the list goes on. Anyway, figured I should share…

1. A Gravity Blanket

Weighted or gravity blankets are, well, heavy blankets. They are constructed with dozens of pockets filled with glass beads that amount to about 10 per cent of your body weight. The snug heaviness is said to relax the nervous system by simulating the feeling of being held or hugged. The hug effect increases serotonin and melatonin levels and decreases cortisol levels. Ergo, you sleep.

Initially they were used by therapists and psychiatry clinics, but have taken off with insomniacs, OCD patients and children with autism. A randomized clinical trial is tricky with a device like this, and so the science on how they work is not solid gold. But this Harvard University article gives a decent picture. Ditto this link here.

I decided to give one a go based on recommendations from mates with anxious kids who’d benefited from one. I chose a Neptune Blanket which has the smallest pocket squares on the market (ensures even weight distributio) and is TGA-approved as a medical device. They’re also a local husband and wife team and donate blankets to charity each month. But there are many others on the market.

How did it go? Well. It was pretty immediate. I get restless legs and the blanket dampens this completely. It provides a feeling reminiscent of being “tucked in by your grandmother when you’re a kid” that sees me calm down a lot as I try to settle in to sleep. I also use it for napping on weekends if my inflammation is bad. I should stress, I have never been able to nap. With a weighted blanket, I’m able to. I put mine on top of a sheet in hot weather, on top of my doona in winter. You might want to check out the online forums on the subject…every question you have will be answered there.

2. The Skenar

This is a weird-ass thing I’ve been using for years. The SCENAR is a hand-held device, the size of an old-school mobile, that you apply to your body to reduce pain and inflammation. It was created by the Soviets to heal injuries or pain cosmonauts suffered in space. There’s a fair whack of science to show how it works. It sends an electric current through your body that stimulates your body’s own healing capabilities via whatever hormones, peptides, etc you need. I find it super great for inflammation, which can keep me awake. Also for digestion issues. And I’ve found it somehow calms me when I apply it to my calves. I use the (optional) two pads and place them on my legs (I get irritable legs) – calves, ankles, hamstrings etc – and it settles my body’s nervous system. This article goes some of the way to explain why this might be so.

It’s not cheap. But if you have several people in the family with aches and pains, you could justify one. This is the one I have.

3. CBD Oil

I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching cannabidiol. The stuff has been shown to be a boon for treating anxiety. And insomniaI had to look into it for a while, because it’s basically illegal here in Australia (although not so in the UK and US) and the tabloid papers and un-nuanced influencers will come after me if I don’t have an argument stacked up.

Look, the stuff has been scrutinised to smithereens (for obvious reasons) and so most of the world deems it safe. According to the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential … To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

Ditto, most of the world acknowledge that quality grades of CBD can truly help modulate the anxious response. There are a number of studies emerging. One study in humans showed that anxiety induced by public speaking reduced with the use of CBD. Another study found that CBD oil reduced anxiety and cognitive impairment compared to placebo. Unlike its sister molecule THC, which can actually induce anxiety, CBD seems to work to calm the nervous system instead of activating it.Studies have shown it can have powerful effects on the endocannabinoid system and a host of other health benefits including:

A big part of the reputation problem CBD faces is that the stuff has turned a wellness trend where it’s added in totally useless amounts to lattes and massage oils with gay abandon (been to LA recently?) and flogged by açai bowl fans.

I had to wade through some horrible misinformation to arrive at a – weirdly – Australian brand. Hemple makes organically grown, bioavailable (i.e. CBD your body can readily absorb), third-party lab tested products. It uses an extraction system that shrinks the CBD oil molecules, allowing them to pass easily through the cell wall and get to work fast. You can read a bit on this nano-technology stuff here, here and here.

Because I’ve become a fan, the Hemple kids are offering you guys a discount – 15% off. Go to their site and use the code SARAH15. They ship worldwide. The team are always up for a chat (their words) and I advise you get in touch with them via their site about shipping to your location if you live out of the UK or the US.

And the Sleep Pack details…

Nourished Life put this together for me. It’s a great combo of things I use nightly:

> Black Chicken Slumber Essential Oil. I’ve used Black Chicken deodorant paste for years. The best ever. This therapeutic Slumber Essential Oil is gorgeous, too. Its a unique blend of 7 essential oils to calm your central nervous system.
> Black Chicken Silk Eye Mask. Creates complete darkness!
> Edible Beauty Sleeping Beauty Tea. Irene chose this one because it comes in a reusable glass bottle (they offer refillable packs), and also because it doesn’t contain individually wrapped tea bags.
> Elektra Magnesium Cream. Not the most stunning packaging but this stuff seriously works!  It contains food-grade magnesium-chloride with natural butters and oils. It’s amazingly lush and deeply moisturising and helps with irritable legs.

For some background, Nourished Life are known as being THE biggest, most comprehensive online store in Australia for toxin-free, organic, natural and cruelty-free skin care, makeup and eco kitchen wares. You might like to check out my Travel Beauty Pack and the Clean Beauty Pack.

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