Advertising
Advertising

Time To Take Care Of Your Stress Level If You Want A Healthier Digestion

Time To Take Care Of Your Stress Level If You Want A Healthier Digestion

So, have you reduced the number of small meals? Please do so, it really is for the best of you!

I’m here to accompany you through this challenging journey!

Advertising

Let’s look at what you SHOULD do this time–enjoy your meals in a relaxed mode.

Emotions and Your Gut

The digestive system walls are linked to health, mood, and even thoughts. This link is known as the ENS (Enteric Nervous System) and has earned the term ‘the second brain’.[1] Thin layers of over one hundred million nerve cells line the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike the main brain in your skull, the ENS cannot think. Its main role is keeping digestion on track, from the initial swallowing to the releasing of enzymes and breakdown of the food, while controlling the flow of blood to help with absorbing nutrients.

Advertising

According to John Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology director, Jay Pasricha, M.D., the Enteric Nervous System sends signals to the main brain and suggests that the digestive system may affect cognition too.[2] It can actually trigger off emotional shifts (i.e. anxiety and depression) that are thought to link to conditions like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.

How To Cope With Stress

If you’re experiencing high levels of mental stress, here are a few quick fixes to calm you down:

Advertising

  • Traditional Siesta: Many traditions follow a siesta. A nap after a big meal. Metabolic forces are highest at midday during lunch. A midday break will flow with the natural body rhythm. A siesta does not have to be a nap. Relaxing and resting suffices after a good midday meal helping with digestion and leaving you flowing with energy and vitality for the rest of the day.
  • Breathe and eat: A calm sense of deep relaxed breathing rather than a shallow and infrequent stress linked breaths that bring out an anxious state is recommended. When stressed, adopt a breathing pattern to relax. Conscious breathing techniques relate the rhythmic breathing flow to the brain. This will facilitate a smooth flow of the digestion journey. And here’s a video showing you how to deep breathe to relieve stress in 1 minute:
  • Body posture: If you tend to eat hunched when stressed, take note that the digestion process needs gravity. Be seated upright for meals with relaxed shoulders and feet flat down on the ground. When the spine is erect, it gives way for the lungs to be operational at the best level. Breathing will help digest the food. By sitting up straight, while eating you have a raised consciousness and are more aware of what is on the plate you are devouring. This, in turn, will make digestion easier.

For longer-term emotional support, however, try making these activities below a daily habit:

1. Track your emotions by writing them down

To deal with stress take the time to keep a daily journal. Write down your emotions and keep track of them. Writing heals emotionally, psychologically and physically. In Writing to Heal, author Dr. James Pennebaker describes how writing leads to improved immune functioning.[3]

Advertising

Journaling and keeping track of your mood swings is a great way to increase self-awareness and to express your emotions. This familiarity of yourself is crucial for understanding your life experiences.

2. Record your achievements

Note down every achievement ever though it might be minor, as noting down all achievements boost confidence [4]. Journalling achievements may help you relive them in your mind. This reaffirms your abilities even when self-doubt intervenes. With a boost of self-esteem, journaled reflections become personal achievements that will keep you moving forward.

3. Color!

Get a coloring book. Coloring helps to minimize stress. Coloring was reserved as an activity for children and occasionally adults when babysitting. Recently, it has become an international trend for adults to buy coloring books making them bestsellers worldwide. Coloring has been proven to be very therapeutic and has been referenced as almost a type of meditation.[5]

Reference

[1]https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/
[2]http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/results/directory/profile/8897935/pankaj-pasricha
[3]https://www.utexas.edu/features/2005/writing/
[4]http://www.lifehack.org/398112/science-explains-how-writing-down-tiny-achievements-every-day-changes-our-brains?ref=fbp&n=1
[5]http://www.lifehack.org/303032/heres-why-colouring-book-the-best-gift-for-stressed-adult

More by this author

Nena Tenacity

Screenwriter ∕ Filmmaker

Here Are 30+ Easy High Fibre Breakfast Ideas You Can Try At Home How To Fight Inflammation? Ginger And Other Foods That Can Cure Inflammation! A Wholesome Diet Is What You Need to Gain Happiness: 30 Natural Low-Carb Foods 10 Best Healthy Snacks That Even Gym People Eat When They’re Hungry! Want A Quick Yet Healthy Breakfast? Avocado Toast Is Your New Breakfast Idea

Trending in Health

1 The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight 2 Why Am I Exhausted? The Real Causes and How to Fix It Forever 3 How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success) 4 How to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time (And the Real Causes Explained) 5 Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

Advertising

Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

Advertising

Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

    Advertising

    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

    Advertising

    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

    Read Next