Published on April 12, 2021

Stress keeping you up at night?   

As the saying goes, a diamond is just a lump of charcoal that handled stress extremely well. Which is another way of saying we all handle stress differently!

Physiologically, stress is an important part of the experience of being human – stress responses help our body adjust to new situations, stay alert and be ready to avoid danger[1]. That’s great if you have a big presentation coming up and need to work harder and stay focused, but not so great if you can’t decompress after and your stress keeps you from sleeping.

Stress can be characterized as either acute or chronic[2]. Having an argument with your partner or studying for a big test – that’s acute stress. It’s not fun, but it passes quickly and doesn’t typically have lasting physical effects. Chronic stress, on the other hand, encompasses a whole range of scenarios that may be within our control to manage or completely external. Because we all have a different stress response, a situation that causes chronic stress in one individual might not affect another the same way – or even at all!

Stress symptoms manifest themselves in how you think, feel, and act.[3] Chronic stress can make it hard to think or remember things, lead to increased irritability and moodiness, and even increase the likelihood of serious health conditions such as heart disease, depression and obesity.[4] And yes, chronic stress is associated with difficulty sleeping, which in turn can exacerbate the body’s stress response.

The good news? There are many effective ways to manage stress better. Start by adding exercise to your routine – even a short walk can help boost your mood and improve your health. Setting goals and priorities, learning to say “no” and reflecting on what you have accomplished every day can help minimize chronic stress and reframe your thinking, as can activities such as meditation or breathing exercises.[5] 

Stress is nothing new – traditional medicine has used herbs and natural health product with ingredients such as such as Ashwaganda[6][7], L-Theanine[8], Siberian Ginseng[9] and Magnolia Officinalis[10] to help manage stress and stress symptoms. Talk to your naturopathic doctor or family doctor before embarking on any herbal medicine.


[1]NIH. 5 things you should know about stress. 2021  [cited March 25th 2021]; Available from:

[2]American Psychological Association. Healthy ways to handle life’s stressors. 2019  [cited March 25th 2021]; Available from:

[3]American Psychological Association. Stress effects on the body. 2018  [cited March 25th 2021]; Available from:

[4]American Psychological Association. Stress won’t go away? Maybe you are suffering from chronic stress. 2019  [cited March 25th 2021]; Available from:

[5]NIH. 5 things you should know about stress. 2021 [cited March 25th 2021]; Available from:

[6] Lopresti A., et al. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) for the treatment and enhancement of mental and physical conditions: A systematic review of human trials. Journal of Herbal Medicine. , 2021.

[7] Lopresti A., et al. An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Journal of Alternative and complementary medicine , 2014. 20(12): p. 901-908

[8] Rao T., et al. In search of a safe natural sleep aid. Journal of the american college of nutrition, 2015. 35(5): p. 436-447


[10] HO. WHO Monographs on selected medicinal plants – volume 2. 2004  [cited March 25th 2021]; Available from: