Stress kills, that’s for real. Recent studies have shown that high levels of prolonged stress can significantly reduce your lifespan.
The stress response in your body, whether it’s from emotional, physical or mental stressors can cause a variety of complications not only to your health, but also your beauty. Conditions that cause stress can include a hectic schedule, perceived threats, and lack of sleep among other things.
What’s Happening to My Body?
When you experience stress even for a short period of time your body produces hormones in response. These include glucocorticoid hormones, norepinephrine, and cortisol. These hormones have been linked to an increase in stress sensitivity, unwanted weight gain, and a reduced adult lifespan. During sleep your body takes time to replenish hormones that counteract the effects of stress, and this can help keep maintain a healthy hormone balance.
Hormone production is just one thing that happens when you are under stress. All body systems including your cardiovascular system, digestive system, immune system and others can be disrupted. You may also notice, acne and even hair loss as your skin, and hair are also easily affected by prolonged stress. All of these things combined can really hurt your overall health, wellness and beauty.
Stress and Your Sleep
Getting your Zzzzz’s isn’t just a time for your body to go into deep relaxation mode, it also signals to you brain that it needs to make some important hormones. Stress tells your body to create more of the hormone cortisol, also called the “stress hormone” responsible for much of stress-related weight gain. But during sleep your body begins to produce a hormone called leptin, a hormone released by fat cells that signals to the brain when you are full. So if you are under prolonged periods of stress you might find the effects of the stress hormone around your waistline, but by getting adequate amounts of sleep you can combat this as your body produces hormones that combat this response.
During sleep you also allow your body time to go into repair mode. This means your digestive system, immune system, detox organs, (including your skin) and all other parts of your body get to rest from their constant functioning. And during stressful times all systems go into overload, so during high-stress times you’ll need quality sleep more than ever.
Here are 4 tips to help you get the rest you need, during times of stress, or not…
1. Try a natural sleep aid like valerian root or chamomile tea, or dried lavender blooms under your pillow to help ease mental, and/or physical tension before bedtime.
2. Remove the electronics from your life after a certain time every night. These devices are mentally stimulating and can cause stress, so turn it all off at the same time every night. This can help get your body into a rhythm, so it knows when it’s time for bed.
3. Create a sanctuary in your bedroom. This isn’t the place for t.v.’s, it’s the place for plants, soft colors, comfortable pillows and you should only go into this room when it’s time to relax. Don’t use your bedroom to do stressful activities like talking on the phone, or watching t.v. It’s a place for sleep, and comfort. Once your body knows this, sleep comes easier.
4. Take your Yoga practice in the bedroom, along with your favorite mantra. Something like “just be” can tell your mind and body that everything is o.k. and it will all be there tomorrow. Yoga isn’t just a physical practice. The spiritual, and mental benefits can help you get better sleep. Ommmmm….