Causes of Stress

We all have had those times in our lives where things are not going our way. 

The results we are looking for at work aren’t happening.  Or perhaps a relationship with a friend is going downhill.  So how does that affect our sleep? 

We are stressed and it shows up in our sleep. We go to bed but can not fall  asleep. 

Or worse yet,  we fall asleep but then wake up in the middle of the night. Then there is no more sleep that night.

hammock nature

Stress Increases Cortisol

What the heck is going on in our body? Cortisol is the main stress hormone in our bodies. 

Normally the cortisol is highest in the morning which wakes our body.  That is correct! –  stress is what wakes our body up!!

So we don’t want to have no stress because then we can’t wake up well!  As the day progresses the cortisol decreases so that the level is lowest in the evening. 

With very little stress in our body, we can be relaxed and fall to sleep in a comfy bed. 

When a person is stressed , the cortisol at night (which should be low) is high. So a person either can’t get to sleep as the cortisol makes the night feel like the middle of the workday. 

Or the person can fall asleep but then the cortisol gets higher in the middle of the night and the person wakes up early because the body feels like it’s an early day.

Decreasing stress

What can be done about this? The best and  sometimes hardest answer would be to take care of the stressful situation. When that is not able to be done then lifestyle changes and/or supplements can be taken to lower the stress at evening.  

Perhaps a warm, calming bath with Epsom salts can soften the  stressed person. Or maybe a leisurely walk through nature may help.  Phosphatidylserine at night can help the stress go down to the night time low level. 

Stress can be emotional but there are a lot of causes for stress besides emotional.  If you are not sleeping well, look at yourself and see if there are other things going on in your life and/or body that may give you clues. 


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Dr. Richard Chen

To your health!

Dr. Richard Chen
Focused Wellness Author,
A New Way to Health: Wheel of Health
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