Stress 101: A Functional Medicine Approach to Stress + Sleep

Stress… Did that word just stress you out?!

What was the first thought that entered your mind?

For so many people, this is the way of life. Almost a badge of honor that you can take on so much and keep going. But what gives? Literally.

Now think back to a time when you felt WELL, truly well. Hopefully you had great sleep, time for movement that invigorated you, ate plenty of healthy foods, were surrounded by quality people and experienced down time that restored you.

There is almost a certain shame in our culture that needing and wanting these healthy boundaries in place is a sign of weakness. But the truth is chronic stress creates weakness! It has been linked to autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, issues with gut function, hormone imbalances and sleep cycle disruption.

Sooo, don’t start stressing about your effects of stress! Begin with little changes. I recommend starting with sleep restoration. Turn off all electronic devices at least one hour before bed. Your body wants to begin providing you with the sleep hormone melatonin around 9pm but viewing electronic light will disrupt that process – so have a designated stop time. Remember when you had a bedtime routine as a child? Create something similar that works for you. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep and consider up to nine if that is what you truly need.

Sleep Support Tips:
  • If you start to get sleepy – go to bed!
  • Sleepy time tea
  • Max Relax powder: a blend to calm a busy mind 
  • Magnesium: restless legs? This can really help! 
  • Warm bath with epsom salts if you have sore muscles
  • Rub essential oils such as lavender and vetiver mixed with organic coconut oil onto your wrists and inhale deeply to enjoy
  • Gratitude for three things in your day that went well
  • Darken your room
  • Wear a soft textured sleep mask
  • White noise machine or earplugs if needed (I love Mighty Plugs – moldable, reusable)
  • If you wake in the middle of the night, resist the urge to get on your phone! If you truly cannot get back to sleep, get up, turn on a light, put some orange glasses on to decrease the stimulation to your brain and read a light hearted book. This is not the time for a deep self help topic ;).
  • Meditation: guided imagery, head to toe body scan – using apps is a great way to help with this. I recommend CALM app, it even has bed times stories! The great thing about meditation is if you wake up in the middle of the night you can shut your hamster wheel brain off by starting your meditation again. It takes time to learn this but stick with it, you will get there!

In the end, if you are still not able to get good sleep, it’s time to come see us. We can help you identify other potential causes of poor sleep and get you back on track!

Schedule an appointment at INSPIRED HEALTH

 

 

 

Adrenal Function & HPA Axis Brain Health & Neurotransmitters Naturopathic Medicine Thyroid Health Weight Management Wellness

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