12 Top Tips to reduce stress and sleep better

People have been living in a storm of stress during the ongoing pandemic, which has had a negative impact on our well-being.

A little bit of stress is good, and essential for survival, but severe or prolonged stress can increase the risk for stress-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer amongst others.

People have been living in a storm of stress during the ongoing pandemic, which has had a negative impact on our well-being.

A little bit of stress is good, and essential for survival, but severe or prolonged stress can increase the risk for stress-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer amongst others.

Chronic stress is thought to contribute to excess inflammation throughout the body that plays a critical role in the onset and progression of stress-related diseases, along with elevated levels of the hormone cortisol.

Some concerns with consistently high levels of cortisol include elevated blood glucose levels, weight gain, increased appetite, GI issues, hypertension, and suppression of the immune system.

12 ways to help reduce stress:

Dr. Caroline Messer, an endocrinologist, always talks to her patients about managing stress. “It’s unbelievably important for their sense of wellbeing,” she said.

“Often when patients come in with hair loss, fatigue and insomnia, they assume there’s a direct hormonal underpinning, but these symptoms can actually be stress-mediated with a secondary increase in cortisol levels,” Messer said.

Here’s how to start making healthy changes to reduce your stress levels.




  1. Try meditating

Meditation practice leads to decreased physiological markers of stress in a range of populations, according to a 2017 systematic review and meta-analysis of 45 studies. Specifically, meditation can help to lower cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate.

Take a few minutes once or twice a day to sit quietly and meditate.

A consistent meditation practice also helps us better respond to stressful situations. Even a five minute meditation routine will calm you down

To meditate, simply bring your full attention to your breath, inhaling and exhaling through the nose. When your mind starts to wander, come back to your breath without judgment.

If you would like some support for your meditation practice, a guided meditation app can help you get started, or tune in to Youtube to find a selection of videos to help you get started.


  1. Find a hobby you enjoy

That can mean practicing an instrument, painting, cooking or playing with your children.

Anything that takes you away from day-to-day concerns is helpful for lowering stress levels.

The key is to focus on what you are doing to block out the rest of what is going on.


  1. Schedule daily movement or exercise breaks

Engaging in regular physical activity is a great way to help manage stress and strengthen your immune system, too.

Aerobic exercise, which increases heart rate and the body’s use of oxygen, boosts levels of endorphins, which work directly on opiate receptors in your brain to reduce pain and boost pleasure. Exercise also reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, specifically adrenaline and cortisol.

It is good to build up to undertaking aerobic exercise for 30 minutes, three times per week.  Aerobic exercise allows the muscles and liver to remove glucose from the bloodstream, increases metabolism, and can improve sleep patterns.

Try riding on a stationary bike or simply taking a brisk walk.


  1. Boost intake of stress-reducing foods

Foods like salmon, trout, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring are a rich source of stress-busting omega-3 fatty acids known as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

Foods that can reduce stress

Vitamin C-rich foods, like red and green peppers, oranges, grapefruit and kiwi, may be helpful in lowering psychological stress and blood pressure, according to one study.

And fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha, kefir, tempeh and sauerkraut contain friendly bacteria known as probiotics, which have the ability to reduce stress and cortisol levels.


  1. Avoid strict dieting

Limiting calories to very low levels has been shown to increase cortisol levels.

If you are cutting back on calories too much in attempts to lose your ‘pandemic weight,’ this may actually be counterproductive.

Eating enough carbohydrates is important, too, since they prompt the brain to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect in the body.

It’s also important to avoid long stretches without food. Doing so can cause drops in blood sugar, which can cause irritability and worsen stress. Try to eat something every four hours or so.


  1. Cut back on caffeine

High amounts of caffeine can boost cortisol levels and intensify the effects of stress on the body. It’s important to pay attention to how your body reacts to caffeine; you might need to cut back or try herbal tea instead if you are feeling stressed.


  1. Improve sleep hygiene

Sleep deprivation can contribute to higher stress levels, and stress can also contribute to poor sleep quality, ultimately compounding stress.

3 tips for healthy sleep that  can change your life

  1. Try yoga

Try a 5-minute yoga routine for better sleep.

Research has shown that yoga can help in reducing cortisol levels and blood pressure.

Try a YouTube channel such as Yoga with Adriene.


  1. Consider acupuncture

Feeling calmer and sleeping better are some of the touted benefits of accupuncture.

  1. Enjoy nature

Make time to spend outdoors in the fresh air.

Getting outside and spending some time in nature can help relieve stress, improve your mood and boost feelings of happiness and well-being.

Research has revealed numerous health benefits from being in nature. Being near green spaces in particular has been associated with reduced stress, and is associated with reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  1. Listen to music

Playing your favorite tunes can also reduce stress levels. Upbeat music may be helpful as a mood booster, while slower music can help to quiet your mind, relax your muscles and release stress. Also consider going dancing, as the combination of music, movement and social interaction can be a powerful mood booster.

12. Seek support and connection

Being isolated can cause an increase in cortisol levels. Humans are meant to be social, it’s through our social connections that we keep our stress levels down.

If you can’t be with a friend or loved one in person, a phone call or Zoom meeting can help you stay connected.


Now that you have these tips, let’s get started. Pick one stress-busting strategy to start with this week, and then add another one the following week. Put reminders on your calendar so you will have your own personalized week-by-week plan for combatting stress.

When life throws everything at you, and Yoga and Meditation are not enough, try Neurobalance – Feel better or your money back!
“Stress is a familiar thing nowadays. Sometimes Life introduces us to some events for which we are not ready. Sometimes it is not easy to cope with them even with the help of yoga and meditation. Neurobalance helped me to get rid of stress and anxiety during these hard times. It helped me to ground myself, and made me balanced. I highly recommend it”.