Is stress keeping you up at night?

2024-06-04T23:24:32+00:00May 17th, 2024|Lifestyle, Mental Health, Sleep, Stress, Supplements|0 Comments

When your mind is racing with worries and to-do lists, it can be tough to switch off and drift into dreamland. During periods of heightened stress, our bodies release hormones like cortisol, which trigger a state of increased alertness that makes it difficult to unwind. The good news is, getting good sleep is more accessible than we might imagine. By understanding how our bodies respond to stress and incorporating mindful changes into our routine, we can stress less about sleep.

Understanding the natural stress response

Ever wonder why your heart races and palms get sweaty when faced with a sudden challenge? It’s all thanks to your body’s natural stress response, a finely tuned survival mechanism. When your brain perceives a threat, whether it’s a snarling dog or a looming deadline, it sets off a cascade of reactions.

The hypothalamus, a tiny region in the brain, signals your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline kicks your body into high gear, increasing heart rate and pumping blood to your muscles, while cortisol boosts blood sugar levels to fuel the fight-or-flight response. These changes prepare you to confront or escape the threat at hand.

However, in our modern world, stressors can be constant and varied, which can lead to chronic stress.

Symptoms of chronic stress

Chronic stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways, affecting both our physical and mental well-being. Here are some common signs to look out for:

  • Irritability, nervousness or anxiety
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Excessive sweating
  • Teeth grinding (at night)
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Muscle tension
  • Restlessness

The stress-sleep cycle

When stress levels soar, our minds often go into overdrive, racing with worries and anxiety, making it nearly impossible to fall asleep. This heightened state of mind can disrupt the natural progression into sleep, leading to tossing, turning, and an overactive mind that refuses to shut down. Moreover, stress-induced tension can manifest physically, leading to muscle stiffness and discomfort, further affecting our ability to find comfort in bed.

Research shows that adults with high stress levels are likely to lose sleep due to racing thoughts. Whether it’s work pressures or personal challenges, these emotional rollercoasters can keep us stuck in a cycle of sleeplessness. In essence, the more we stress about not sleeping, the harder it becomes to actually doze off. And the harder it becomes to doze off, the more stressed out we feel. How exhausting!

Stress can put significant strain on our health, causing a ripple effect on many aspects of our lives. Let’s take a closer look at how stress and sleeplessness impact the body.

Lack of sleep can put strain on your heart

During sleep, the sympathetic nervous system, which governs our fight-or-flight response, takes a break. This allows our bodies to rest and rejuvenate. However, studies show that when sleep is disrupted or insufficient, the sympathetic nervous system can go into overdrive, leading to increased blood pressure. This can in turn make us more susceptible to a heart attack or stroke.

Moreover, the impact of sleep extends deep into our genetic makeup. Studies reveal that insufficient sleep can alter the expression of hundreds of genes, many of which are involved in regulating stress and immune function. The increased activity of genes associated with inflammation also contributes to the risk of heart disease.

The relationship between sleep and mental health

There’s a dynamic link between sleep and mental health. Our state of mind can affect how well we sleep, and poor sleep can have a negative impact on our mental state.

When we don’t get enough quality sleep, our brain’s ability to regulate emotions and process information becomes compromised. This can lead to increased irritability, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating or making decisions. It can also lead to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Over time, chronic sleep deprivation can exacerbate existing mental health conditions, as well as the development of new ones. Research shows that approximately 40% of people with insomnia have clinical depression, and up to 80% of patients with depression experience bouts of insomnia.

How does sleep affect brain function?

Recent discoveries highlight the crucial role sleep plays in brain health. During sleep, the brain’s plumbing system, also known as the glymphatic system, kicks into high gear flushing out toxic buildup linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies have revealed that individuals experiencing sleep issues are at significantly higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, with men being particularly vulnerable (one and a half times more likely). Another study shows that just one night of sleep deprivation leads to an increase in two rare molecules (NSE and S-100B) that are associated with brain damage.

Managing stress for a good night’s rest

Achieving quality sleep often starts with effective stress management techniques. Here are few techniques to relax your mind and body:

Calm the mind through practices like yoga, meditation, or qigong. . Qigong is a traditional form of Chinese mind/body exercise which incorporates body posture, movement, breathing, and meditation These mindful activities offer a sanctuary to slow down racing thoughts and detach from the pressures of daily life. Relaxing night time activities such as having a warm bath before bed or reading your favourite book can also help signal to your body that it’s time to unwind.

Try brain dumping before bedtime. Jotting down tasks and concerns for the following can help clear mental clutter and alleviate the burden of a swirling to-do list.

Another powerful tool is deep breathing, drawing inspiration from the ancient Indian practice of pranayama. By inhaling deeply through the nose for four counts, holding for seven, and exhaling slowly through the mouth for eight, you can swiftly induce a sense of calm and relaxation, preparing your body and mind for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Natural sleep and stress support

CanPrev Magnesium Stress Release bottle and capsules on a counter next to a salt lamp and a plant

With chronic stress taking a toll on our bodies, quality supplements can provide the support we need to find balance.

CanPrev’s Magnesium Stress Release helps to restore mental calmness and encourages quality sleep. It’s formulated with ashwagandha, an adaptogen that’s long been used to heal stress, as well as key vitamins B5, B6, and C for quelling stress hormone production.

CanPrev’s Sleep-Restore Ashwagandha is a melatonin-free sleep aid which helps to relieve stress that contributes to sleeplessness. formulated with calmative herbs like lemon balm and passionflower to help reduce over-excitement and GABA and L-theanine to help relieve tension.

CanPrev Andrenal Pro and Synergy B on a wooden ledge with trees in the background

CanPrev’s Adrenal-Pro™ is a blend of adaptogenic herbs and nutrients, specially formulated to increase energy while  combating stress and fatigue. As chronic stress taxes our adrenal glands, this formula is designed to provide an improved sense of wellbeing and help improve mental and physical performance after periods of exertion.

CanPrev’s Synergy B is a complete B-complex formula which supports the relaxation of both the mind and body. This formula includes L-theanine, an amino acid that temporarily produces mental relaxation without any sedating effects. As B vitamins are water soluble, this means that they are not stored in the body and need to be replaced every day.

Navigating sleep while stressed can feel like wrestling with a knot we can’t seem to untangle. However, stress doesn’t have to follow you to bed. By understanding how your body responds to stress and making mindful adjustments to your routine, you can gradually ease into healthy, restful sleep.

Stress and sleep
Depression and sleep
Self-reported sleep disturbance is associated with Alzheimer’s disease risk in men
Short sleep duration as a risk factor for hypertension: analyses of the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
Effects of insufficient sleep on circadian rhythmicity and expression amplitude of the human blood transcriptome
Acute Sleep Deprivation Increases Serum Levels of Neuron-Specific Enolase (NSE) and S100 Calcium Binding Protein B (S-100B) in Healthy Young Men




Leave A Comment