How to Save Your Sleep and Manage Stress
April 12, 2012 | Published by Dr. Lise Naugle
Now that we’ve discussed the sleep-stress connection, let’s talk about how to save that precious sleep and better manage stress. Higher subjective ratings of stress during the day are associated with poorer sleep. Conversely, poorer sleep is associated with higher ratings of stress during the day. Therefore, anywhere you are able to impact this vicious cycle is likely to help both.
- Try to maintain a regular bedtime and waking time to reinforce the daily cycle.
- Light is a factor in maintaining the daily rhythm. Avoid staring at a bright television or computer screen an hour before bedtime, and keep your bedroom as dark as possible while you sleep.
- Have a small snack including complex carbohydrate (whole grains, root vegetables, etc.) and protein (nuts, chicken, fish, eggs, etc.) before bed to avoid low blood sugar during the night and a resultant rise in cortisol.
- Minimize nighttime interruptions. Turn off your phone, and if noise is a factor where you sleep, try using white noise to relax and dampen sounds.
- Vigorous exercise can help dissipate stress. However, a high intensity work out late in the evening may interfere with sleep. Gentle exercise just before bed, especially for those with adrenal fatigue, may promote sleep.
- Support the adrenals and HPA axis with nutrients and adaptogens, herbs that help the system respond to stress, such as eleutherococcus (formerly Siberian ginseng), ashwagandha, maca and licorice.
- Socialize with friends. It relieves stress and supports the adrenals.
- Practice some form of relaxation and stretching such as yoga. In a trial looking at the effects of either an 8 week yoga or an 8 week educational film program on stress, mood and blood pressure in postmenopausal women, the yoga group showed significant improvements in sleep quality, mood, perceived stress and blood pressure compared to the film group.
Don’t lose sleep over stress. Support your sleep pattern and your stress response to get a better night’s sleep and avoid some of the problems associated with stress and long term sleep disorders.
About the Author: Dr. Lise Naugle is an associate of Dr. James L. Wilson. She assists healthcare professionals with clinical assessment and treatment protocols related to adrenal dysfunction and stress, and questions regarding the use of Doctor Wilson’s Original Formulations supplements. With eleven years in private practice and a focus on stress, adrenals, hormonal balance and mind-body connection, she offers both clinical astuteness and a wealth of practical knowledge. Dr. Naugle also maintains updated information about the latest scientific research on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function, endocrine balance and nutritional support for stress and develops educational materials about stress and health for clinicians and their patients.
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Categorised in: Effects of Stress