In recent months, most people have been discovering and experiencing new levels of stress. A frequent consequence of that experience, among other things, is sleep problems. That leads us to want to make another discovery: natural ways to reduce those stress levels and enjoy the restorative sleep you and your loved ones need.
Adults and children alike around the world are suddenly faced with unprecedented obstacles and worries. Self-quarantine, social isolation, closed schools, vacations put on hold indefinitely, lost jobs, fears of infection, not knowing what lies around the corner, and more, are all weighing heavily on our minds.
Take the financial burden, for example. According to the results of an April 2020 survey conducted by the Vanier Institute of the Family, the Association for Canadian Studies and Leger, 53 percent of adults say the coronavirus situation is a major threat to their personal financial status, and 36 percent say it's a minor threat. That's 89 percent of adults who are living with the stress of financial uncertainty.
This amount of stress and anxiety can take a significant toll on your body, mind, and spirit and result in countless numbers of health problems.
One of those tolls is sleep deprivation. It's a vicious cycle: you are stressed and anxious during the day and can't sleep, and when you can't sleep, you are worried and face challenges to get through the day. So let's address both the stress and the sleep issues, starting with the stress.
What strategies can I use to reduce stress?
It's been said that knowing lots of other people share your condition or concerns can help you better cope. However, the best strategy is to take action. Here are a few ways to reduce stress naturally.
Self-love. Practice some self-love routines. A massage, bubble bath, home facial, dry brushing, and self-manicure says you care about yourself and deserve a little pampering.
Deep breathing exercises. Try this simple stress reducer several times throughout the day. Breathe in slowly through your nose to the count of eight, hold it for four to five seconds, then release through your mouth to the count of seven. Repeat three to five times each session.
Yes to yoga. You don't need to put yourself into a pretzel pose. Watch a beginner's yoga lesson on video or TV and practice a few simple poses every day. The combination of controlled breathing with poses and meditation can do wonders for reducing stress.
Be mindful. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the moment-by-moment passage of your feelings, thoughts, and environment. Allow yourself to put the past and future aside and focus on the here and now.
Nourish yourself. Treat your body, mind, and spirit to nutritious, whole foods, and minimize or eliminate processed foods as much as possible. This approach will help keep you in balance.
Enjoy exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones. It also improves heart and nervous system health as well as enhances mood. Make it a point to do activities that you enjoy every day, such as walking, biking, jazzercise, tai chi, swimming, or gardening.
What are some strategies to improve my sleep?
For best results, combine your chosen strategies to reduce stress with ways to improve your sleep.
Tune out. You may love your electronic devices, but they are not sleep-friendly. Tune out or turn them off at least one hour before retiring. Their blue light interferes with the sleep hormone, melatonin.
Keep a schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even the weekends. Resist taking a nap in the afternoon (unless it's REALLY necessary), staying up late, and then sleeping until 10 AM. These habits can play havoc with your circadian rhythm.
Chill out. Before bedtime, enjoy a relaxing activity, such as listening to soothing music, a warm bath, a cup of chamomile tea, or a meditative visualization. An essential oil diffuser with lavender, rose, or peppermint oils can provide a calming atmosphere.
Use a natural supplement. A wide variety of natural supplements can help calm the mind, relax the body, and therefore contribute to the goal of a restful night's sleep. Let's look at some of those possibilities.
Natural supplements ease stress and promote sleep
All of the strategies we discussed can go a long way toward relieving stress and experiencing restful sleep. However, sometimes they aren't enough, you don't always have the time to practice them as suggested, or you just want a boost to help you better reach your goals. That's where some special natural supplements come in.
D-Stress. Steam-distilled lavender oil, known for its ability to help relieve stress, and restlessness, is the ingredient in this supplement. Lavender has several constituents, including linalool and linalyl acetate, which work in the body to promote relaxation.
Chill Pills. You may be familiar with the expression "chill out," and that's what this supplement can help you do. This natural supplement contains herbs and vitamins that may reduce irritability by promoting relaxation, and help you feel better about yourself. Ashwagandha, L-theanine, holy basil, and vitamins B1 and B5 are just a few of the ingredients in this supplement.
Sleep 8. Would you like to get eight hours of sleep every night? This supplement may help. It includes the most effective natural sleep aids available, such as chamomile, hops, passionflower, melatonin, skullcap, catnip, magnesium, and qiye shen'an pian.
Merry Mind Omega 3. Contains the healthy essential fat known as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) It's called essential because the body doesn't produce EPA, it's important to keep providing it in the form of food (e.g., certain fatty fish) or supplements. The use of a highly concentrated supplement can help address stress and anxiety.
Joyful. The name itself reveals its purpose: to help enhance mood. This supplement contains 11 botanical extracts, vitamins, and amino acids that can benefit mood and cognition. Here's the ingredient breakdown: 5-HTP, tryptophan, vitamin D3, methylfoate, methylcobalamin (B12) and vitamin B6. The remaining five ingredients—L-theanine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), san qi, phellodentron, and magnolia—help restore calm to the nervous system.
GABA. Gamma-aminobutyric acid is an amino acid that plays a critical role in calming the nervous system. Once you take GABA, it interferes with GABA receptors, which in turn ultimately reduces the excitability of neurons and promotes stress reduction.
L-Theanine. Green tea is the source of this amino acid, which has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. This allows it to boost alpha brain-wave frequency, which in turn reduces stress.
All of these supplements should be taken according to the manufacturer's suggestions or your doctor's recommendations.
The unprecedented levels of stress that many people are facing today are taking their toll on various aspects of individuals' lives. Sleep problems are critical because our Zzzzz time is when the body restores itself; when heart rate decreases, tissues are repaired, growth hormones are secreted, immune system cells are produced, and stress hormones are turned off. To help get the essential sleep you need and reduce your stress, a combination of lifestyle changes and high-quality supplements designed to address these concerns are recommended.
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