The New Age Issues: Stress, Sleep, Technology-Problems & Solutions. A lot is spoken about women’s health concerns. Most of them revolve around eating habits & sedentary lifestyle. It is now clear that health is also equally affected by external & internal factors such as chronic stress, disturbed & erratic sleep patterns & overuse of devices.
Chronic stress has a major contributing role in the development of many lifestyle disorders namely diabetes, thyroid disorders, hormonal imbalances and dyslipidemia. Not only this, it also has an impact on digestive health & contributes to the development of chronic hyperacidity, reflux disorders & bloating.
Briefly, stress hormones have the following effects whereby it contributes to the above mentioned health conditions:
- It directly increases blood sugar levels by aggravating insulin resistance
- It directly and indirectly increases hunger hormones, thus increasing appetite & cravings
- It contributes to fat deposition by having an impact on insulin, thyroid hormones & estrogen
- It creates an imbalance of female hormones thus leading to high prolactin levels, high estrogen, hypothalamic amenorrhea, PCOD
- It increases blood pressure by affecting elasticity of blood vessels.
Reduced & disturbed sleep affects the biological clock synchronization and thus along with poor eating habits & sedentary lifestyle contributes to a never-ending list of health issues. Along with this, women are also extensively exposed to blue light emissions both at home & at work. This also activates the fight or flight response and again increases cortisol levels.
The New Age Issues: Stress, Sleep, Technology-Problems & Solutions.
What can we do about it?
Unfortunately, most women spare no time for themselves. Several simple measures can be taken in order to deal with stress & disturbed sleep. A few practical tips have been listed below:
- Firstly, do it for yourself. Self-care is not being selfish.
- Take out time for things you enjoy. Women usually decide their day’s schedule depending on their work & home routines. It is equally important to check-in with yourself every now and then.
- Do not start your day by checking your phone or planning your day. Start your day on a calm and positive note. Meditation works well.
- Always prep your meals in advance. It is best to plan ahead, prepare a weekly grocery list according to the menu that you decide so that there is no last minute rush.
- Herbal teas such as chamomile tea, jasmine tea, lavender tea & kava help in managing stress. Other than this, a lot of foods such as greens, red & yellow fruits & vegetables, Vitamin C rich foods (lemon, capsicum, kiwi, garden cress seeds, and citrus fruits) have antioxidant activity and are rich in polyphenols. Including these on a daily basis is also known to reduce stress levels. Other than this it is also advisable to avoid the use of plastic containers to further reduce inflammatory stress.
How can you sleep better?
Maintaining sleep hygiene drastically improves sleep.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine close to bedtime
- Simple stretches or a slow walk for 15 minutes drastically improve night time sleep quality. For the best night’s sleep, most people should avoid strenuous workouts close to bedtime.
- Avoid heavy, spicy & fatty foods around bedtime. Finish meals 3 hours before bedtime.
- Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine. A regular nightly routine helps the body recognize that it is bedtime.
- Making sure that the sleep environment is pleasant. Mattress and pillows should be comfortable. Loud noise & bright lights (especially blue light) disrupt sleep quality. Consider a digital detox 2 hours before sleeping.
Managing stress & sleeping well is equally important when aiming to develop healthy habits. Mental health is as important as physical health. Incorporate these modifications & experience the change.