Who isn’t ‘stressed’ trying to juggle work, play, exercise, self-improvement, spending time with family & friends? Sleep is perceived as a ‘luxury’, yet getting 8 hours minimum most nights is vital, as this is the time when certain hormones are regulated (Growth Hormone, Prolactin, Luteinizing Hormone, Insulin, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone to name just some).
Most people get home from work after 5pm, have dinner 1-2 hours later, have kids to tend to, exercise, work they bring home, study or relax by zoning out on the computer or smart phone. By trying to fit soo much in our day we don’t start winding down/reducing cortisol a few hours before bed so it can be difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep because an increased secretion of cortisol & norepinephrine causes wakefulness & a blood sugar drop can cause waking around 4.30am-5.00am.
What are the potential impacts of long term stress?
- Increased Inflammation causing increased pain, changes in mood (anxiety, depression, melancholy) & hormone disruption.
- Increased oxidative stress causing fatigue, poor concentration & accelerated aging.
- Blood sugar imbalances, weight gain, obesity.
- Decreased ability to cope with stressful situations.
- Low stamina, energy slumps throughout the day.
- Broken sleep, insomnia.
- Feeling tired but ‘wired’, just cannot nap or fall asleep.
- High increased risk of high blood pressure or death from Cardiovascular Disease.
- Ability to breastfeed reduced because breast milk isn’t abundant.
What can you do to reduce stress?
- Start to wind down from 7pm onwards by drinking calming herbal teas – Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Passionflower, Hops or other Sleep Blends.
- No screen time at least 1 hour before bed.
- Get adequate sleep, 8 hours minimum at least 5 nights a week. Ideally be asleep by 10-10.30pm.
- Regularly evaluate what’s important in your life/no longer relevant & practise ‘working smarter not harder’.
Supplements to support stress
- Magnesium. The body dumps magnesium in order to raise cortisol so anybody who is busy, working or studying long hours, exercises regularly or has long term broken sleep from insomnia or has babies or toddlers needs to take a good quality Magnesium supplement that contains the Citrate or Diglycinate forms.
- A herbal supplement that contains Zizyphus, Passionflower, Lemon Balm or other calming herb combinations that can help you cope with stress, nervous tension and mild anxiety. *
- A herbal supplement that contains Rehmannia, Licorice, Rhodiola, Siberian Ginseng or other herbs that support the HPA Axis & can help to increase energy, stamina & the feeling of being tired but wired. *
- Good quality, activated B Vitamins can help support energy production, nervous system & healthy brain function.
*If you are on any pharmaceutical medications or Breastfeeding please speak to a Naturopath before purchasing any of these supplements.
If you’ve tried some or all of the above suggestions & you are still not feeling 100%, or you feel like you need personalised support & advice book in to see Biljana for an Initial Naturopathic Consultation. Biljana can advise you on Blood and or Saliva testing & supplement advice to improve your ability to cope with a busy lifestyle, coping with stressful situations, increased energy, better mood, weight loss & hormone balancing support.