Most of us lead busy stressful lives and trying to cram everything into one day can leave you feeling ‘wired and tired’. Everyone reacts differently to stress, and it’s how your body deals with stress that dictates how you feel. When you feel stressed all the time, it can make you feel a little overwhelmed, irritable and unable to cope.
Dealing with chronic stress
Chronic stress appears to be the new ‘normal’, and when you’re chronically stressed, relentless cortisol (your main stress hormone) production continues to drive hyperactivity of your nervous system and creates an imbalance between neurotransmitters (brain chemical messengers) that help keep you calm and relaxed.
The ill-effects of chronically elevated cortisol levels can be felt throughout your whole body until finally, your adrenal glands become exhausted, leaving you wired and tired, and unable to mount any stress response at all. Problems associated with chronic stress include mild anxiety, fatigue, restlessness and sleeplessness.
The drivers of chronic stress are best managed by regulating cortisol release through adrenal gland support. Traditional herbs that provide support for chronic stress include:
- Rhodiola, an adaptogenic herb, is typically standardised to contain the active components, salidroside and rosavin, which may enhance physical and mental performance during times of stress and fatigue. Adaptogenic herbs help the body resist physical, mental and emotional stressors while helping the body ‘adapt and cope’ with stress.
- Withania is an adaptogenic and Ayurvedic tonic herb, traditionally used to restore vitality during debilitation, stress and exhaustion.
- Licorice is traditionally used as an adrenal tonic which helps to maintain the tone and function of the adrenal glands.
Getting a good night’s sleep
Your quality of sleep can affect the way you look, feel and behave so it’s important to get a good night’s sleep. High levels of cortisol at night can lead to restlessness, making it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep or a combination of both. Around 20% to 35% of Australian children, teenagers and adults find getting a good night’s sleep an issue. Even after one night of disrupted sleep, you can look and feel tired. Traditional herbs that help relieve sleeplessness include:
- Ziziphus is traditionally used in Chinese medicine as a sedative for the relief of sleeplessness.
- Passionflower is traditionally used to relieve sleeplessness and restlessness due to nervous stress.
- Californian poppy is traditionally used as a sedative to relieve sleeplessness and nervousness.
Magnesium for a ‘stressed’ nervous system
Chronically elevated stress levels can really deplete your magnesium levels. Magnesium is an essential mineral that has a special affinity for the nervous system and is often referred to as the ‘valium’ of the mineral world, helping to calm and relax an overexcitable nervous system, often see in those experiencing chronic stress. Magnesium may also help to relieve mild anxiety, sleeplessness, restlessness and headaches, relax tense muscles and support energy levels. Look for organic forms of magnesium as they are highly bioavailable and don’t tend to produce the digestive disturbances commonly associated with inorganic forms of magnesium.
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