Sleep vs Stress, You Can't Do Both At The SameTime

When you are stressed, from lack of sleep, over-exercise, poor nutrition, traffic, your boss, your relationship, or even something you imagine to be a threat, your body is in the fight or flight state of the sympathetic branch of the nervous system.  

When sleeping, resting or de-stressing, the body shifts into the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, or the rest and recovery state.  

When in the fight or flight state of stress, the body systems brake down and you age in fast-forward.  That is why it is SO important to de-stress and rest as often as possible.  

To maintain a healthy balance of stress to rest, your sleep and rest time should equal the amount of time you are stressed.  Thant may take a LOT of rest.

One way to calm your system is by stimulating the vagus nerve.  The vagus nerve runs from the brain through the heart and lungs to the gut, establishing a brain gut connection.

Stimulating the vagus nerve strengthens your immune system and reduces inflammation, while shifting you into the restorative parasympathetic state of being. 

Try these easy and fun ways to stimulate the vegus nerve.

Deep breathing


Qi Gong and Tai Chi


Chanting or singing or even gargling


Positive social relationships--play with a child, or a pet, hug a friend or loved one.

Show your heart some love by connecting your brain to your gut through your heart.  Place one hand on your belly, the other on your heart and visualize yourself with loved ones, or remember a loving experience, while breathing slowly and deeply.  This is an extremely relaxing way to stimulate the vagus nerve while calming your system.

Taking small breaks throughout the day to include some of these activities will do you a world of good.  Not to mention it will slow the aging process.  Woohoo!

For guidance and support on your journey to rest and relaxation, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at, or call me at 301-332-5732.