Using Adaptogens for Stress/Sleep

If you’re like most people, you deal with your fair share of stress. And often, this stress leads to an inability to get the quality of sleep necessary for optimal health and well-being.

Often, people turn to harmful substances to deal with stress. Whether it’s drinking too much or eating processed “comfort” foods, these unhealthy stress beaters tend to make matters far worse.

It’s a much better idea to use a natural substance with a long history of helping balance the body and mind.

Enter: adaptogens.

What Are Adaptogens and How Do They Work?

You most likely use certain plants and herbs in your life already for their benefits. Green tea for antioxidants, ginseng for memory, and ginger for its natural pain relief.

Well, adaptogens are herbs that can help you deal with the effects of stress. But they do so in a very unique and powerful way. These first work to reduce your body’s stress response and then they support your overall health by helping your body achieve balance and harmony, otherwise known as homeostasis.

The long and short of it is, adaptogens can make you feel less anxious, stressed, and depressed. They have even been known to completely turn a situation around and make the person feel energetic, motivated, and optimistic.

Some of the most widely used adaptogens are:

  • Rhodiola rosea
  • Bacopa monnieri
  • Schisandra
  • Ashwagandha

Adaptogens for Weight Loss and Insomnia

When our bodies react to stress, we are thrown into a “fight or flight” response. Certain hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are produced and pumped out into the bloodstream to help our bodies deal with the danger in our environment. Our heart rates and breathing increase and our blood flow is directed away from our brain and digestion and toward our arms and legs.

This is great for fighting an attacker or running like heck from a hungry bear, but it’s not great for our overall health. Over time, cortisol can help us pack on the weight, especially around our middle. And adrenaline can make it hard for us to relax enough at night to get a good night’s sleep.

So when adaptogens help our body deal with stress, they also help our body deal with the negative effects of the stress response. This means improved sleep, the potential to lose weight around your middle, and better overall health.

As with any supplement, it’s best to speak with your doctor before adding something new to your regimen. This is especially true if you are currently taking medications. Having said this, many doctors do not support the use of non-prescriptive supplements to treat mental health conditions and other diseases.

You may want to find a nutritionist who can help you determine which adaptogen is right for you and what dosage to try.



Tips for Coping with Social Isolation

Humans are social creatures and we don’t do well in isolation. That’s exactly why state penitentiaries punish prisoners by putting them into solitary confinement. It causes them great mental anguish.

Many of us have felt like prisoners in solitary confinement over the last couple of months because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. And many of us have been feeling our own mental anguish from this extended isolation.

Who knows how long this may go on? While none of us have control over what our governments do, we do have control over ourselves and our perceptions of the world. With this in mind, here are some tips for coping with social isolation, for however long it goes on.

Isolate Yourself from the Media

If you’re paying attention, it almost seems as if the media is trying to confuse us and cause panic more than report on actual news. Watching too much news doesn’t help anyone’s anxiety levels, so stay informed as best you can but don’t binge-watch.

Get Creative

Being isolated can get very boring very quickly so it’s important that you try and get creative with your time. This could mean painting the living room and rearranging the furniture or getting your husband and kids to learn a new language with you. It could mean experimenting with an old recipe or making up a game with your kids. Just have fun and think outside the box!


Now is a great time to reconnect with friends and loved ones you haven’t spoken to in a while. And technology like Skype and Facetime makes it incredibly easy to chat with someone no matter where in the word they are.

Stay Active

A lot of the anxiety we may feel comes from the fact we aren’t moving our bodies as much as we usually do. It’s important to stay physically active during this time. So get outside and get some sun. Go for a walk or ride your bike. Not only is exercise good for us physically, but physical activity releases endorphins that make us feel good mentally and emotionally as well.


The world is a chaotic place right now and it seems we are being hit with noise and negativity from all sides. It’s important to make time each day for some quiet meditation.

If you’ve never meditated before, that’s okay. Just try it.

One of the easiest ways to meditate is through a listening meditation. Find a space in your house where you can be alone and get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out… and simply listen to the ambient sounds.

What do you hear? The buzzing of a light? A fly? Your dog’s collar rattling down the hall as he scratches. Expand your hearing to see what else can you hear outside your house. Birds? Lawnmowers? Traffic?

Simply breathe and listen intently for 5-10 minutes. When you listen, you can’t think at the same time, and so you will notice finally your thoughts go quiet. This is paradise!

If you find that the social isolation is really beginning to trouble you and you’d like to speak with someone, please get in touch. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.