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How Does Your Diet Affect Stress?

Stress can be a hindrance in everyday life. It interferes with both everyday activities and major milestones. We all try to avoid stress as best as we can, but it’s not always as easy as that.

However, there are some small ways we can unwind the tension, such as using CBD oil for stress, enjoying daily exercise or having a healthy diet.

Here, we’re going to be having a look at the relationship between stress and diets. You’ll find out how to create harmony between the two and hopefully, reduce your daily stress.

Stress and Diet: Why are They Linked?

It may sound surprising that eating can have an impact on our stress levels, but if you think back to when you may have drunk too much coffee due to a sleepless night or an important deadline, you begin to understand.

Although the sleepless night or deadline were providing the perfect environment for a stressful situation, the caffeine in the coffee is also stimulating the adrenal glands to release hormones such as cortisol, our stress hormone.

Eating and drinking certain food and drinks may seem like small, insignificant factors, but as these habits mount up, they can influence how we create and deal with stress.

Chronic stress weakens the immune system, ultimately compromising the body’s defences. When ill, the body is under even more strain, so it’s important to be mindful of a healthy diet to help support your body.

A selection of vegetables

Food and Drinks That Contribute to Stress

While a generally good diet can contribute to a more positive outlook, there are certain foods to watch out for if you want to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Sugar and Fat

When feeling stressed, you have probably encountered a craving for processed sugar. Sugar will only provide a short burst of energy; you may feel a temporary relief from the stress but your sugar levels will eventually crash.

The sugar crash, otherwise known as a ‘low’ period, will put a strain on the body and can cause irritability as well as increased food cravings. This can create a vicious cycle and make you feel worse in the long term.

A jar of sugar cubes


Although alcohol is known to take the edge off and is used as a means of coping with stress, in the long term it can cause sleep problems and nervousness. It releases large amounts of adrenaline and also affects blood sugar levels.

Shelves of whiskey

Processed Carbohydrates

With little nutritional value, processed carbohydrates can cause fluctuating blood sugar levels, this can leave you feeling even more moody and irritable.

Spinach and cheese pastry rolls

How Improving Your Diet Can Reduce Stress

It’s important to take some time for self-care. Stress can lead to us placing more pressure to not feel it or simply carry on without everyday activities. During these times, it’s recommended to nurture the body’s needs.

Vitamins and Minerals

It’s always a good idea to be mindful of B vitamins, vitamin C and Magnesium. B vitamins help to provide energy; you can find them in bananas and nuts, which are great for snacking on. They can also be found in meat, fish and dairy.

Vitamin C-rich foods are not only great for the immune system, but the biggest store of it is in the adrenal glands, which produce the stress hormone. To keep this healthy, you should incorporate more tomatoes, peppers and broccoli into your diet.

Magnesium is an essential mineral as it reduces anxiety and relaxes the muscles, while also being involved with hormone and energy production. You should try to involve it in your diet by eating brazil nuts, lentils, whole grains and leafy greens.

CBD can offer you support by helping to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. However, it is not a miracle cure. If you feel like you might be suffering from chronic stress, we would advise speaking to a healthcare professional about your concerns.

If you want to learn more, why not check out this blog below?

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Sleep and Stress: Why are They Linked?

The NHS website advises that adults should aim for eight hours of sleep per night. Of course, how much sleep is needed will vary on the individual. However, working out how much sleep your body and mind require to feel sufficiently rested is vital to your overall mental and physical health.

A whole host of reasons can cause lack of sleep, a prevalent one being stress. The connection between lack of sleep and stress is a strong one, and poor sleep can also affect your levels of stress, creating a cycle of one impacting the other.

A woman sat at laptop with head in hands

Why Does Stress Exist?

So what is stress and how do you know if it is impacting your life?

Stress originates from a fight or flight response that humans have used to survive from potential danger throughout our evolution.

The fight or flight response radically increases the autonomic nervous system to produce hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. The growth of these hormones causes the heart rate to increase to ensure enough blood reaches the vital organs, ready for action.

However, despite a decrease in these threats over time, this response remains, meaning that stress can prevail in less dangerous situations such as work, family or social interactions.

How to Identify Stress

Stress can affect people in a multitude of ways and can produce various mental and physical conditions depending on each person. These could include things such as a loss of appetite, eczema and being unable to sleep, as well as anxiety, racing thoughts and the inability to relax.

Most people will feel stress from time to time, and this cannot be helped. However, if this is how you feel the majority of the time you are awake, this is a cause for concern. An accumulation of stress can have a long term negative impact on your body and mind.

A white clock

The Cycle of Stress and Sleep

The web between body and mind is a complex one, and often when one is affected, so is the other. This strongly applies in the link between stress and sleep as one can impact the other.

For example, stress can cause you to lie awake at night, worrying about the preceding morning. In turn, the lack of sleep the next day will only enhance these feelings of anxiety about the future as your body and brain have not been able to sufficiently rest.

How Does Stress Cause A Lack of Sleep?

Stress reduces the quality of sleep as well as the length of a deep slumber. In extreme cases, stress can cause sleep deprivation through the intense level of alertness, meaning winding down to sleep can be prolonged. Troubling and racing thoughts can often overwhelm the individual and keep them awake with no solution of soothing their worried state.

If you are concerned that you may be suffering from a sleep disorder, you can read further information here.

How Does A Lack of Sleep Cause Stress?

As mentioned, an inadequate amount of sleep can cause you to feel an increased level of stress. Feeling tired can change the way you perceive situations and therefore have lasting impacts on you and those around you, which only elevates feelings of uncertainty and pressure.

Many mental health charities, including Mind.org, emphasise the importance of gaining enough sleep to reduce levels of stress.

The Importance of Maintaining Healthy Levels of Stress

With the potential of stress preventing reasonable levels of sleep and vice versa, knowing how to keep control of your levels of stress is integral to ensuring you are happy and healthy.

A white bath

Improving Your Lifestyle

If you can reduce your levels of stress in the evening, this could have a significant impact on how quickly and how well you fall asleep. Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine is integral to winding down stress levels and preparing your body for sleep.

This could include a comforting hot drink, a warm bath, reading a book or listening to a podcast. Using meditation can also support you to let go of stressful thoughts and can be used throughout the day to keep on top of stress levels.

Taking CBD oil for sleep can support you in feeling more relaxed, which in turn, will help you to fall asleep. For more information about taking CBD oil, discover more about what happens when you first take CBD oil.

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If you cannot improve your levels of sleep, it is vital you seek out the support of a medical practitioner who will be able to help you further.

Ensuring you are acquiring a sufficient amount of high-quality sleep is integral to your overall mental and physical health. By reducing stress levels, you can improve your sleep, and by ensuring you have enough sleep, you can gain a healthier perspective of stressful situations.