Stress & anxiety has been well documented as a major contributor to illness, poor health, unhappiness and sleeplessness.
When it comes to sleep, The British Sleep council reports that 28% say they sleep quite poorly & 62% of those only get five-to-six hours per night. Sleep research usually suggests that mental and physical problems become more pronounced in those sleeping for less than six hours.
Did you know that your diet and lifestyle habits can affect your stress and sleep levels?
According to studies, too many refined carbs and sweets, gluten, too much caffeine & heavily processed foods can all have a negative impact on how you feel and how your body functions and can also aggravate anxiety & sleeplessness. Alcohol is another culprit. Dr Marilyn Glenville explains that alcohol affects blood sugar levels causing adrenaline and cortisol to be released and blocking the transport of tryptophan (which helps us relax) into the brain. That may explain why many of us don’t sleep well after an evening of indulging!
Nutritionist Shona Wilkinson suggests eating food rich in magnesium like bananas, avocado, & dark chocolate (magnesium is the most important mineral for relaxing nerves and helping calm the nervous system she explains), as well as whole-grain carbs to help regulate levels of serotonin, the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter that helps us remain calm.
A tip from The Mayo Clinic is to eat at protein at breakfast, so that your energy and blood glucose levels stay steady, as well as ensuring that you keep hydrated as dehydration can cause mood changes.
Certain herbs and supplements can be helpful too- for stress and anxiety. Shona suggests lemon balm, passion flower, rhodiola and royal jelly, all of which can be found in Bee Calm supplements.
To help improve sleep, Shona suggests griffonia seed extract which provides 5-HTP which converts to melatonin (the hormone which helps us sleep), hops, Montmorency cherry and royal jelly, all can be found in Bee Rested supplements.
Here are some lifestyle suggestions which are shown to help with stress, anxiety & sleep:
Have a laugh - it causes endorphins (brain chemicals which help you feel better) to be released.
Make sure you are getting enough exercise and switch up your routine. Try less vigorous activities like yoga in the evening to relax your mind.
Shona suggests trying meditation which has been shown through scientific research to help reduce stress. Those in stressful jobs or situations can benefit enormously. It can be done anywhere, such as on the bus or train into work and even 5 minutes can be helpful to clear your mind and feel refreshed Shona adds.
Finally take time to be focus on the good in your life - there is a huge amount of scientific evidence and studies that show that being grateful and counting your blessings can help improve mental health and ease anxiety, stress and depression and help you sleep more soundly.