Surviving the Pandemic
How have things been going for you during the pandemic? Everything rosy? Or, are you weighed down by cares and horrible news, fear or depression? And, how is your sleep? Like usual, or disrupted and not restful?
There are many things that can help you deal with these situations!
Stress causes many problems in the body! Chronic stress was never something that our bodies w ere meant to handle. Acute stress, yes – run away from the tiger, kill it or freeze in fear. But everyday, day in day out stress, unremitting and grinding stress, NO!
So, first, let’s talk more about stress. It is mediated by cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone made by the adrenals, that follows a certain pattern on a daily basis. It is high in the morning (to help get us up) lower at noon, lower still at 4:00 pm and lowest at night, so we can sleep. A lot of people are either “wired and tired” (with a reverse pattern – low in the morning and high at night), with levels just plain so low, that they can hardly function, or, with levels that are flying high, and cause them to be really stressed out. It is helpful to test cortisol levels because some people can have very high levels, and yet be really fatigued. We call it Adrenal dysfunction, rather than adrenal fatigue.
Stress has many effects on the body . It has already made its mark in multiple areas, we deal with it right now and we have our future experience with it to loo k forward to, hopefully mitigated by stress management techniques we learn . Stress causes inflammation to rampage through our bodies , leading to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer and strokes. Naturopathic medicine can be helpful for all these conditions, but they are not the focus of this article. Special herbs called Adaptogens are the main way adrenals are treated. They usually also zero in on other areas of the body, to support them, as well. So, for instance, Rhodiola rosea can improve physical and mental fitness and resilience, so if you are preparing for a marathon, and are also stressed out , it might be a good choice.
Stress can also mess with sleep, for sure. If your cortisol levels are high at night, they usually rise even higher before dawn, to help get you up. This can make for a wired body that just can’t get the sleep it needs. Using phosphatidyl serine can bring your cortisol level down and usually make for a more pleasant morning. This is presuming that you are following all the rules for good sleep hygiene, including sleeping in a dark, cool room; getting to bed by 10 pm and getting up by 6:30 am.; avoiding alcohol and food intake within 3 hours of sleep, etc.
Another problem with sleep, especially related to the pandemic, is a racing mind, that won’t let you drift off to dreamland. GABA, which is both a neurotransmitter and an amino acid (as in, a building block of protein), can be effectively used to dampen unwanted thoughts, and allow you to catch some zzz’s.
If you have tried these and other remedies to no avail, please call and set up a Zoom appointment, so we can discuss the matter. There are many more solutions available for the myriad of stress related problems, adrenal dysfunction and sleep disturbance.