Hello, hello! If you are suffering from sleep problems such as insomnia, sleep disturbance, irregular sleeping patterns or jetlag, or even if you are feeling the grips of stress & anxiety in your daily life – you have come to the right blog post! If you have not already read my blog post on what stress is, and how it affects the body, I would strongly recommend giving it a read before this one! You can find it by clicking here …
In my previous blog post I talked about what stress is and the symptoms you can physically see and feel. But what are the physiological effects of stress that you are oblivious to? Well, in my opinion the most important, are the depletion of vitamins, minerals and the loss of vital good bacteria in your gut. This makes it essential for almost everyone to include a good quality probiotic and multivitamin/ mineral into our diets. Most importantly however, are the simple diet and lifestyle changes that can help with stress management:
Stimulants Such as caffeine, nicotine, sugar, and alcohol affect the body’s hormone production and can lead to a sharp increase in cortisol. When stressed our bodies release glucose from the liver to help the muscles and organs with coping in the situation. Chronic stress can lead to an inability to regulate insulin. Consuming added sugars on top of this only concentrates the problem.
Magnesium is needed for adrenalin production and is therefore an essential supplement for those who are chronically stressed with tired adrenals. Magnesium is also required for the relaxation of muscles and brain neurotransmitters. Magnesium relaxes the system without making us feel drowsy or groggy. A deficiency in magnesium can lead to sore and tight muscles, anxiety, and irritability. Supplementing with magnesium can help ease insomnia, and provide a deeper night’s sleep as allow our body and mind to wind down.
When stress depletes magnesium levels significantly, our cardiac muscles contract involuntarily causing angina and chest pain. Magnesium also prevents excess calcium build up in our arteries leading to heart disease, and can soothe constipation and indigestion. Nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, whole grains, leafy greens.
Healthy fats are essential for blood sugar regulation and healthy brain and body function.
Nuts, seeds, fatty fish,
Vitamin C is vital for a healthy immune system which becomes seriously compromised during times of stress. This vitamin is also important for the production of adrenaline and the maintenance of the adrenal glands. It plays a huge role in stress control as it seeks to remove excess cortisol in the body while maintaining it’s levels to achieve hormonal balance. Vitamin C is also essential for the body’s healing process, an important factor if your body is under stress due to strenuous exercise or sickness. Leafy greens ,citrus fruits, super foods.
Selenium is essential for the thyroid and thyroid hormone production. When we become stressed, the adrenals directly impact the thyroid processes and hormone productions making selenium – an important nutrient to take into consideration when analysing the diet. Nuts, meat, fish.
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that supports brain nutrition. It is a precursor of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine, which help to focus the mind and improve concentration during stress. Turkey, Cheese, nuts, meats, soybeans
1. Decrease light an hour before sleep.
2. Avoid any technological stimulation an hour before sleep.
3. Try to get between 8-9 hours of sleep a night.
4. Sleep before 11pm (our body repairs its systems while we sleep, the immune repairs at midnight)
5. Eat plenty of protein as this contains the building blocks for those depleted enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters.
6. Exercise regularly, for stress relief and deeper sleep.
7. Supplement alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Which supplements should you be taking?
Supplements for Stress & Sleep
Magnesium will soothe your muscles giving you a deep, relaxed sleep allowing your body to fully recharge. It is recommended to take magnesium late at night, about an hour before bed and not in the morning for this reason.
Valerian is a natural herb most commonly used in treating cases of insomnia, sleep difficulty, etc. It is also used for anxiety related problems such as headaches, stomach upset, panic attacks, anxiety induced asthma attacks and more. It is usually combined with lemon balm, hops and other calming herbs.
L-Theanine is an amino acid which is commonly found in green tea. It plays a key role in mood support by helping to improve GABA levels in the brain, GABA is a neurotransmitter that leads the body to relaxation. Research indicates L-theanine can promote a calm, relaxed state without causing drowsiness.
Passiflora Complex is a herbal tincture containing Passiflora incarnata and Avena sativa. It is a food supplement which is particularly useful for supporting those who are prone to worrying or feeling under pressure, helping to maintain a healthy response to stress. Only freshly harvested, organically grown Passiflora and Avena sativa herbs are used to produce Passiflora Complex tincture.