Stressed out student with possibly disturbed cortisol cycle
I have a history of not coping well with stress - getting more stressed than others in the same situation do and taking a very long time to wind down from stress. At the moment I'm a student and each time it gets towards the end of semester I experience weeks of extreme stress to the point I've contemplated going to the ER on several occasions but didn't because I was panicking about having time to finish assignments.
I have to do all my study in the afternoon and at night as I'm useless in the morning. No matter whether I get up at 4am or 8am I can barely stay awake until 11am comes around. In the late afternoon/early evening my brain really switches on and for the first time I can start getting work done.
If I don't get ALL my tasks done before I go to bed in the early morning I wake up constantly feeling highly anxious.
Meditation and yoga have helped in the past but when I'm in the extremes of stress I'm not thinking straight and nothing or no one can convince me to take time out to do either. I'm thinking that maybe a stress relief supplement could really help me. I know my sleep cycle is really bad but a lot of the time I just need to calm down and get some sleep when I can finally get to bed. I'm wondering has anyone tried Himalaya Herbal Healthcare StressCare supplement as I've read some good reviews for it. Or any other recommendations?
The only way to find out if you are producing extra cortisol is to get it tested. I am in school as well and the end of the semester does stress me out too. I find that if I take some of my classes online it helps with the "have to be at school" factor. I'm not sure how old you are or if you have that option, but it might be something to look into when signing up for fall classes.
When ever stress hits me I just have to UNPLUG. I mean walk away from your phone, your computer, your books, and sometimes those nearest and dearest to you can stress you beyond words. Finding a spot to sit down with your books - like at a local library away from everyone, in quiet, can help take away some of the jittery feeling you get when you think there are other things out there that must be done.
Supplements are at best a band-aid, and can only cover up some of the symptoms you are feeling. They won't help with your ability to cope. The best advice I have ever been given was by a doctor who told me
"Your life is like a chess board, there's you and then there are all these other pieces. Sometimes you have to take yourself off the board and pay attention to you, because you are no good to anyone else if you aren't good to yourself"
For whatever its worth I hope it helps and they are just suggestions
When you go in to get your cortisol tested, make sure to request a four part test. Most docs only test it once in the morning but cortisol is released in distinct patterns throughout the day.
Ray Peat writes a lot about cortisol, thryoid function, diet-emotional state connection etc- there's a lot online that might help you.
Thanks everyone. I think I'm realising that I'm looking at it all wrong and especially as I've followed the leads and done some further research since posting this question. I routinely don't go to bed until 1 or 2 am as night is the only time I can get assignments/study done. From what I've been reading about I'm probably getting a late night cortisol spike as I'm still up, in a lit room, staring at a bright computer screen late at night. This is probably throwing out my overall melatonin and cortisol cycles. I'm probably not getting enough restorative sleep so not getting enough psychological/mental recovery. I'm not sure how to make it happen but I suspect if I can get 8 hours sleep every night from 10pm to 6am everything will probably fall into place. I'd really rather do my study in the morning so I'm determined to find a way to make this happen.
One thing I'm really puzzling over is how anyone is supposed to create a healthy sleep cycle around a mix of late night classes and early morning classes. Once a week I don't get home until 10pm (and still have to wind down) but have to be up at 4am to get ready for a class the next day. I wish I could do some of the classes externally but my institution doesn't offer it.
I am in school as well and the end of the semester does stress me out too.