Managing stress & sleep
Ok so stress management is an important part in life these days it seems. I feel like good stress management and sleep are 2 things missing from my health. I'm often unable to sleep because of stress. Does anyone think there is a correlation between stress , sleep, and fat loss? How do you manage stress? How do you get enough sleep?
I have tried drinking camamile tea, Kava tea, and taking melatonin, OTC sleep aid.
I used to have a terrible time sleeping, primarily due to stress. I have it pretty well under control now but I dont remember it being an overnight thing (unintended pun).
Two main things have happened. First, I changed jobs and got away from a seriously poisonous situation. In the middle of all of that I had to find a way to sleep though. I remembered from my playing days one of our coaches made us do this relaxation/breathing thing to help with stress. Basically I would lay on your back completely still. First you are supposed to squeeze your fist so you feel stress then start the breathing exercise. I take deep breaths in and imagine the breath going to a part of my body. I start with a foot. So I imagine the air going down my leg to my foot and as I exhale, the air brings any bad energy out with it. So I can actually feel it leaving my body. Then the leg, the other foot/leg and work my way up. Kind of goofy maybe but it really helped me. Now I dont really have to do the breathing thing but I am conditioned to come to bed and lay on my back first and get comfortable. It automatically puts me in a relaxed state. I used to watch some tv in bed but found that made it worse so now I dont.
Obviously better sleep will help with stress ........................ and less stress will help with sleep. But the intent of the exercise when I was playing was to understand what stress felt like and how to push it out. It wasnt like flipping a light switch but over time the habit really made a difference. I used to have terrible insomnia and now I am sleeping within minutes of hitting the bed.
For the stress itself, light cardio exercise tends to release hormones that help but more intense exercise closer to bed time seems to keep me jacked up. I have found making time to do some reading helps a lot too. Anything at night that purposely puts stresses aside so I have time to slow down. Then, I have the words Positive and Confident written in a lot of places and when I feel stressed, I say them until the stress goes away. I have also found relaxation in prayer but I realize that isnt for everyone. Feels good to share the things that are stressing me though.
Hey, LL - You are on the right track! Sleep is so important, once you conquer it you won't believe what you were missing. One thing that made a huuuuge difference for me was getting off the computer, iphone, and TV around 7-8pm and making sure bedroom was pitch dark. My wife always wanted to read in bed til midnight and I finally talked her into reading downstairs. Also make sure that even the light from LED alarm clocks are not shining on you--turn them around or cover with a shirt or something.
Waking up and looking at the time is another no-no. It imprints something in your brain which is why there is always a weird feeling of not sleeping when you actually are. Your brain has a tiny time-keeper in it, called the SCN, which is actually very sensitive to light and sleep/wake cycles. When these get messed up it throws off hormones and patterns, and sets the stage for misery. Shift workers have to deal with this constantly and are at much higher risk of obesity, diabetes, etc...
Just my opinion, since I'm just making all this stuff up, but the two worst things you are doing are melatonin and OTC sleep aids. Those will both destroy any chance at normal circadian rhythms. Find a tea you like, or find some herbal supplements like these.
My guess is that you are going to need some healing to get well, stress is bad news, and goes hand-in-hand with sleep. Eliminate main stressors, work on sleep environment. Look into adrenal support as well, many will say it's 'made up' but adrenals control sex hormones and some other very important processes and are easy to trash. Fix diet, move/exercise, and getting gut microbes corrected will be big.
Hope that helps, oh, and eat lots of sugar.
I've been dealing with this with my son. He has had anxiety and that has led to insomnia. We have had a lot of success with amino acids. Check out the book "The Mood Cure" and take their questionnaire to see what specific amino acids will help. He is taking L-tryptophan with vitamin B-6 at night (on an empty stomach) for serotonin and DL-Phenylalanine in the morning (on an empty stomach) for endorphins. It has been like night and day for him since starting this regimen - he is much calmer and is able to sleep through the night.
Is the serotonin proscribed by a doctor?
Originally Posted by Willow16
LMAO!!!! Did you get this info from a craka' jack box. Just playin! It actually all makes sense. I have a problem with the cell phone at night. I could stay up all night on my smart phone and I think that light thing may be messing me up. I gave up on OTC sleep aids because I found they did not help me fall asleep, they just made it impossible for me to wake up in the morning. Melatonin is one of those things, I could take one 5mg pill and it would make me sleep harder all week. But again not helping me fall asleep so I gave them up. So I can totally do with out them. I like kava tea a lot and I find it works best, so although I don't know the science behind it I think your right.
Originally Posted by otzi
There are some programs for computers and handhelds that automatically dim the lights so you don't have to worry so much at night, like this one, but download at your own risk--just an example.
Originally Posted by Liftinglife
But best is to not use phone or computer at night. Lots of studies on it! They have apps for most phones that track your sleep at night, too.
Other tips you probably already know like don't work out before bed, don't eat late, blah, blah, blah...But a going to bed at a decent hour and getting up fairly early is really good for getting you straightened out. Staying up til 3 and sleeping in til noon sucks for sleep, or so I read in the funny papers.
No - you can buy tryptophan (the precursor to serotonin) online or at a supplement store. I have been buying the Now brand from Amazon.
Originally Posted by Liftinglife
Make sure you do your research before taking amino acids. You don't have to take them forever - only until you build them back up to where they should be. You need to recognize when you have enough and then stop them or take them once in a while. We're still in the building up phase so haven't gotten to the point where there's enough.
Last edited by Willow16; 10-31-2013 at 02:33 PM.
Magnesium supplements have been a huge help to me in improving my sleep situation, as was a short course (1 mo) of phosphatidyl serine, which my ND gave me to help normalize my cortisol. I find that taking 400mg of mag glycinate before bed helps me fall asleep quickly and mostly stay asleep through the night - I might wake up once or twice to roll over but fall right back asleep after, whereas before I'd wake up as many as a dozen times a night or just not get back to sleep again after waking up around 1 or 2am.