How to reduce stress hormones
When we’re feeling stressed our body releases hormones called cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are very useful because they warn us of danger, but if our body produces too much it can cause health problems.
In this blog we discuss how to reduce stress hormones so you can feel healthy, happy and full of energy again.
What health issues are caused by stress hormones?
When your body is constantly in ‘fight or flight’ mode it increases your risk of health problems, such as:
- Poor immune system, so you get ill more often.
- Anxiety and depression.
- Weight loss or weight gain.
- Insomnia which can lead to a whole host of health issues.
- Difficulty concentrating and remembering things.
- Headaches, muscle aches and back pain.
- High blood pressure and heart conditions.
That’s why it’s critical to know how to reduce stress hormones and introduce healthy lifestyle habits.
How to reduce stress hormones – top tips
Get enough sleep
To help yourself get a good night’s sleep, we recommend the following:
- Stop worrying about not getting enough sleep! Worrying about getting too little sleep can only make the matter worse. Anybody who has ever looked after a young baby who doesn’t sleep through the night knows that although lack of sleep makes you feel groggy and unwell, it won’t kill you.
If you can’t sleep, take comfort in the knowledge that at least you’re resting in bed. Simply resting reduces stress and improves your mental and physical health. Read a book, listen to some gentle music, and just enjoy the quiet time to yourself.
- Have a sleep schedule. Go to bed at roughly the same time every night and get up at roughly the same time. Don’t be tempted to lie in for hours at the weekend as routine is the friend of sleep.
- Avoid spicy, rich foods as well as sugary foods, alcohol and caffeine for a few hours before bedtime. These foods are stimulants and can keep you awake or cause you to wake up during the night. Also avoid overloading your digestive system with heavy meals at the end of the day.
- Make sure your bedroom is comfortable. Is your room dark enough, cool enough or quiet enough? According to the Sleep Foundation, 180C is the best temperature for most people to go to sleep. You might consider wearing earplugs, running a fan or having blackout curtains to solve specific problems.
- Avoid screens at night. Watching TV or using a tablet at night can prevent us from falling asleep. That’s because the blue light emitted from screens can suppress melatonin which is the hormone that induces sleep.
- Relax before bed. Read a book or take a relaxing bath just before bed. You might even practice relaxation techniques such as yoga. Everybody is different, so find what works best for you.
- Exercise during the day, but not just before bed. Taking plenty of exercise can promote sleep but the opposite can happen if you exercise just before bedtime. The reason is that straight after exercise our cortisol levels increase, but after a few hours they lower which means we feel more relaxed.
- Take control of your worries. Worrying is part of life and it affects most people, especially with the cost-of-living crisis. Before bed try to empty your head of worries by writing them down – they can all wait until tomorrow.
Take regular exercise
Exercise releases endorphins – the ‘feel good’ hormone – which reduces stress and makes us feel happy and calm. It also lowers cortisol (see number 7 above). To find out how much exercise you need, have a look at the NHS website for pointers.
Choose a type of exercise that you enjoy, that way you’ve got a much better chance of sticking with it. Exercise should always be fun and never a chore. If it feels like a chore either you’re either overdoing it or you haven’t found the right activity for you.
Even a gentle, daily walk can help by clearing your head and giving you the time and space to breathe.
Identify causes of stress in your life
Can you identify why you feel stressed? Is there anything you can do about it?
Stress might be caused by having too much work to do, worrying about money, a concern you have about your child, or any number of things.
Stress is a normal part of life. The key to managing stress is to identify whether you can take proactive steps to change a situation. For example, if money is an issue, is there a way you can manage your money better or make extra money each month?
If you feel overwhelmed and your stress is caused by an issue that’s out of your control, then it’s a good idea to find professional help. The best place to start is your GP, but we know it’s often difficult to get an appointment. The MIND helpline is an excellent source of advice and support – they’re friendly and approachable.
Spend time doing the things in your life that bring you joy. That might be spending time with friends, taking time for a hobby you love or watching a television programme that makes you laugh.
Like exercise, fun and laughter releases endorphins and reduces cortisol levels, so it’s very important.
Some hobbies, like gardening, are especially good for us. Gardening has been proven to have significant mental and physical health benefits and even to raise the immune system.
If you don’t have a hobby now, maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to do? There might be a new skill you can learn through YouTube or an online course, or maybe you could join a local group or class?
Consider visiting your local library to find out what’s on offer near you, or type ‘hobby ideas’ into a search engine.
How to reduce stress hormones with a food supplement
Our Immunity supplement contains 27% of the recommended daily amount of magnesium you need. It also contains other essential vitamins and minerals like copper, zinc, folic acid, iron, selium and vitamins B12, B6, C and D.
By taking our Immunity supplement and following our tips on how to reduce stress hormones you can make a positive difference to your mental and physical wellbeing.