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Stress is a common problem that we all have to deal with in some way as part of modern day living. There are many factors that can influence stress like work or social pressures, which in turn can have adverse effects on our health including our sex life and sleep. Thankfully there are diet and lifestyle practices that will help to combat this, and yes! It does include rubbing one out.
The effects of stress are insidious. Stress takes on all aspects of our health including our libido. When cortisol (stress hormone) levels are elevated for prolonged periods, our sex hormones are suppressed leading to lower libido and decreasing the desire to engage in sexual activity. Ongoing stress can impact our pituitary gland, responsible for controlling the adrenal glands, thyroid, and ovaries. Without properly functioning ovaries, our menstrual cycle is adversely affected, which may result in irregular periods, disrupted hormones and a diminished libido. In short, too much stress can make your sex life suffer.
Sleep is needed for the brain to function properly and for the body to restore itself. Sleep deprivation is associated with chronic health problems that affect the way we think, learn, work, react, and interact with others. Unfortunately, inadequate sleep directly contributed to stress, just as stress contributed to sleep disturbances. Sleep deprivation disrupts our hormones and decreases testosterone, essential for both female and male sex drive. Not getting enough sleep also negatively impacts our energy levels and mood, making us less likely to want to get between the sheets. A study suggests that getting a good night’s sleep can support healthy arousal and sexual desire in women.
If you’re looking for another reason to get your rocks off, let it be known that sex (of any kind) supports both stress management and better sleep. During sex (either with a partner or solo) and orgasms, a chemical called dopamine is released which gives us a sense of pleasure. Further to dopamine, another endorphin, oxytocin, is released, offering a sense of well-being, lowering cortisol levels and exerting stress relieving and anti-anxiety effects. Getting off before bed may provide a sense of relief, relaxation and sleepiness, so you can rest easy knowing that those Os may have helped get you there.
Everyone experiences stress; it is a normal response to challenging situations. It is not always possible to remove those stressors; thankfully there are lifestyle practices that can support the management of stress.
Sleep is the cornerstone to good health. Getting enough sleep is critical for supporting healthy hormones and stress response. Good sleep should look like Good sleep 7-9 hours, about 30 minutes latency (time spent falling asleep) and waking up refreshed.
In our clinic, Bare Health Studio, we believe variety in our diets is key for optimum health. There are, however, a few specific dietary practices that we encourage as part of a balanced diet for optimal stress management, improved sleep and better sex.
Eating a balanced whole-foods diet is the key to supporting our bodies to manage the physical changes caused by stress, enjoy a better sleep and have healthy hormones. A whole-foods diet means eating a diet with minimal processed foods, with foods as close to their natural state as possible, think more from the earth and less from a packet.
For optimum health we recommend a diet high in varied vegetables and fruit, with legumes, whole grains, lean protein from both animal and plant sources, healthy fats like nuts, seeds and cold pressed oils and fermented foods to provide an array of essential nutrients.
Protein is essential for neurotransmitter production and hormones synthesis- without it our stress response, sleep and hormone health are impacted.
Protein sources include: fish, meat, poultry, quinoa, legumes, dairy, eggs and nuts and seeds
Dark leafy greens are essential in the Bare Health Studio kitchen. Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, chard, kale and rocket are a brilliant source of magnesium, an essential nutrient.
Magnesium is and fundamental for nervous system support, stress management and supporting a restful sleep.
Stimulants such as soft drinks, sugar, caffeine and nicotine should be limited, especially before bed, these will make it harder to fall asleep, shorten sleep duration and reduce our ability to deal with stress. Alcohol should also be limited this led to sleep disturbances, increase stress and deplete nutrients essential for nervous system support.
Stress can negatively impact sleep and our desire to get sexual. Fortunately, including better lifestyle and diet practices can support the management of both. Remember, sex with a partner is the last thing on your mind, a little, solo afternoon delight shouldn’t be, because the act of masturbating will help with stress management and you’ll reap the benefits.
Anushka Malcom, Clinical Nutritionist at Bare Health Studio
Rebecca Warren, a registered nutritional therapist explains how hormones impact our sex drive and share recommendations on nutrients and natural aphrodisiacs.
Stella takes herself to a spa day. Her masseuse turns out to be extra dedicated to bring her to relax
Hormones play a major role in all aspects of our health. How we sleep, our moods, metabolising food and of course the regulation of our reproductive systems and sexual function.