Stress and sleep can be a vicious cycle. We've all been there... you find yourself overthinking late at night unable to sleep, feeling even more stressed about not being able to sleep with each passing minute, dreading the day to come...
So what's going on? When you're stressed, your body produces more cortisol, your "stress hormone", which has a huge influence on your sleep-wake cycle. Cortisol often gets a bad reputation, because producing too much cortisol puts your body in a high-stress state and can lead to sleep loss and other health issues. But in reality, we need cortisol for our day-to-day functioning. Cortisol is what allows us to wake up in the morning, regulate blood pressure and inflammation, and control our sleep-wake cycle. Regulating your cortisol levels through good sleep hygiene is the key to improving your sleep and optimise your energy levels during the day.
Here are 5 things you can do today to create a healthy balance between good stress and your sleep:
- Work out regularly and early in the day: your cortisol is naturally the highest in the morning and 30 minutes of physical activity in the morning or early afternoon can give you an adrenaline boost. You'll want to avoid late night workouts
- Drink coffee, at the right times: Caffeine can be an extremely effective tool for training your internal clock, but timing is everything. Wait 90-120 after waking up before reaching for your first cup of coffee and have your last cup before 2 pm if you can.
- Integrate Ashwaghanda into your diet: Ashwagandha is a natural cortisol regulator and help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. We love this Ashwaghanda Adaptogenic Dust.
- Take time to wind down: It takes some time to transition from being awake and alert to being tired and ready for bed. Build in a 1-2 hour evening routine to allow your body to wind down for rest and prioritize calming and effortless activities - a hot shower, a cup of tea, some stretching, reading a book.
- Don't overthink it: There will inevitably be days where you do all the right things and still don't manage to find easy sleep. When this happens, don't fret and use the tools that work best for you to find a calm and safe place. Trust that your body will naturally find sleep when you're ready.