Ask the Health Food Expert – Dr. Kate Rheaume Bleue N.D. graduated from McMaster University with an honors BSc in Biology
Too Stressed to Sleep
If a “busy brain” keeps you awake, or the day’s stress haunts you through the night, you know stress is not your friend. Defeat stress naturally, before it defeats you.
Tossing and Turning Takes its Toll on Tranquility
Whether you know it or not, you have developed patterns for coping with stress in your life. Unfortunately a lot of coping methods are as bad for your health as the stress you’re trying to relieve! For example overeating, retreating from social interaction, having a cocktail or beer, using certain medications or mood altering drugs, or smoking cigarettes may temporarily reduce feelings of stress, but these can also interfere with optimum health and rob you of a good night’s sleep. The cycle of stress-sleeplessness-stress can just make matters worse.
There are some ways to improve sleep and cope with stress that enhance overall health and improve mood naturally. These are becoming more and more popular as people seek to live longer, healthier lives. Some stress management suggestions from natural health experts include:
- Activities that calm the mind and create a positive mental attitude
- Regular physical exercise, both indoors and outdoors
- Eating raw, fresh foods and a balanced diet
- Supplementing with key nutrients and herbs.
Relaxation exercises can produce a physiologic response known as a relaxation response—exactly opposite to the body’s stress response. Although watching television, or reading a book, may seem relaxing, there are also specific relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga and visualization, that can prepare one for the day or lead to a better sleep when the day is over. Find a relaxation technique that suits you.
Physical exercise is proven to enhance mood, reduce stress and improve sleep. Choose a routine you can stick with — taking a half hour walk each day is a good start.
Diet and supplementation are key to reducing the physical and mental effects of stress. If you lead a really busy life it is more than likely your diet isn’t optimum. In the rush of living fast foods sometimes win out over fresh foods – but you can make the switch. Packing wholesome snacks in your purse or briefcase can save some calories and give your body and brain more of what they need to function.
Overeating can interfere with sleep, especially if you eat heavy, rich or sweet foods before bed. A better choice before bed is a slow-to-digest food like oatmeal. Blood sugar surges and hunger can also interfere with sleep. A low sugar smoothie made with PGX® can ensure you to a deeper sleep.
Magnesium is relaxing and many women especially are deficient in magnesium. L-Theanine from green tea calms the mind and body and works well with melatonin and 5-HTP. Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Ginseng and Lavender are combined in Natural Factors Serenity Formula — just one of the Stress-Relax line of stress-reducing, sleep enhancing nutrients and herbs to help you “chill”.
Don’t let stress rob you of a good night’s sleep. Fight back with relaxing activities and a naturally healthy diet.