From time immemorial, the human being has had to react in and on stress situations. A stimulus perceived as a threat creates distress. The arising reaction provides the therefore necessary energy. In earlier days, it were sabre-toothed tigers nowadays a constant overload may quite be enough for shifting the body into such a stress reaction.
It doesn’t matter whether the stress is physical and/or psychical, people who are under chronical stress will constantly release stress hormones like cortisol, for example, without dissipating them. And this leads to a permanently elevated stress level. Cortisol awakens and activates but also inhibits the immune system. This leads to an increased susceptibility for infections and more alertness, also in the evening and during the night. And this clearly complicates falling asleep and sleeping through.
Breakdown of stress hormones
To dissipate hormones, especially movement is very important. In our everyday life we rarely encounter situations that were natural for our ancestors: due to the necessary flight behavior and physically demanding tasks the therefore increased stress level was dissipated.
Out of this reason it is important that stress hormones get dissipated with focused physical exercise. The World Health Organization recommends to execute moderately intense exercises at least 30 minutes five times per week. Perfect are endurance sports like swimming, biking, Nordic Walking. A positive side effect of these activities: most of the time they are carried out in free nature and in society.
Preconditions for restful sleep
Along with basics necessary for recreational sleep like perfect, disturbance-free sleep surroundings, proper sleeping underlay and sleep hygiene as well as darkness and a not-too-late dinner, stress breakdown is another important step in the direction of recreational sleep.
A pleasant walk in the evening instead of exciting thriller on TV, a calming herbal tea (no black- or green tea!) or a glass of red wine instead of stimulating, caffeine-containing beverages, a pleasant chat or a mediation instead of upsetting discussions, autogenous training, Yoga or progressive muscle release instead of strenuous strength training -– all this supports peace for body, mind and soul.
This post is also available in / Diesen Beitrag gibt es auch in: German