Stress and Sleep
Stress and worry are some of the biggest contributors to short term poor sleep. Most people have experienced lying in bed tossing and turning, unable to switch off their brains. This is especially common before a stressful event such as a job interview or a test.
But there is also a very real, physiological reason why people who are stressed can find sleep more difficult. It all comes down to hormones.
As well as being responsible for waking us up in the mornings and keeping us alert throughout the day, cortisol has a number of other important functions. One of these is its involvement in the “fight or flight” response to stress.
In potentially dangerous situations, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in. Cortisol levels rise along with adrenaline, allowing us to think clearly and make quick decisions. In the case of a real, physical threat, this can be life saving. Once the threat has passed, cortisol and adrenaline levels should return to normal, allowing us to relax.
However, if you are stressed due to an ongoing problem such as work or relationship issues, cortisol and adrenaline levels can remain elevated throughout the whole day. Over time, this can lead to sympathetic overdrive and symptoms such as anxiety and sleep disturbance.
This is why many natural sleep aids are geared towards relaxation. This includes herbal remedies such as passionflower and valerian, and essential oils like lavender and bergamot. Another relaxing, natural sleep aid is earthing.