We live in a culture of stress. Our lifestyles lead to a stress epidemic, where the plug is constantly plugged in and we forget to press the off button. Be it pressure at work, personal or financial issues. All of us experience some sort of stress. It doesn’t only affect our daily performance, but also our sleep patterns. Ask yourself, how many times did you have to count sheep to fall asleep the night before an important deadline at work? Or you caught yourself having your fifth coffee because your thoughts wouldn’t let you get a sound night of sleep? Stress and insomnia go hand in hand.
Does stress make you lose your mind?
But what do they actually do to your body? Stress not only impairs short-term cognition, for example, when it makes you forget your own name during an important meeting but also has a negative effect on memory, logical reasoning and decision making. Not ideal when we are trying to boost our brain power, right?
Well, when acute stress turns into chronic, it gets even worse. Studies have shown that chronic stress can actually be detrimental to the human brain. Long-term stress can damage the hippocampus, our learning and memory centre.
Sleepless and brainless nights
What about lack of sleep? Well, even though scientists still aren’t certain why we sleep, we know that without it, we go nuts. Some claim that we need sleep to consolidate memory, which is a fancy word for turning short-term memory into long-term memory. Others say that sleeping lets our brain take out the trash, aka clean all the waste products that have been produced during a busy day of thinking. But what happens when we don’t get enough sleep? Although both our immune system and hormonal balance are impacted by sleep deprivation, the central nervous system is most affected by lack of sleep. An Italian study found that under chronic stress, brain’s vacuum cleaners, called astrocytes, go into overdrive, cleaning up not only cell debris but also functional neurons. The brain literally eats itself alive. Sounds scary, right? Luckily there are natural nootropics that can help anyone who has experienced insomnia and stress.
Ashwagandha -stress relief
Ashwagandha is an ancient Ayurvedic herb that can put your mind at ease. This herb has stress relieving properties because it is able to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone. It is an adaptogen, which means it can help prevent physical and chemical effects of stress. It does it through its GABA-like activity. GABA (Gamma Amino-butyric acid) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) in our brain. It decreases the activity of neurons and makes sure that nerve cells aren’t too active. As a result, GABA makes you feel calmer, uplifts your mood and helps you go to sleep. Ashwagandha can activate GABA receptors in a similar way, hence the stress-relief and sleep-aid effects.
On top of that, recent research shows that ashwagandha may also help people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, which are currently on the rise. Dozens of studies show that Ashwagandha slows down and even reverses neural atrophy- aka break down of neurons.
Rhodiola rosea – relaxation without sedation
Rhodiola rosea is another adaptogenic herb with anti-stress properties. It reduces fatigue and exhaustion in moments of prolonged stress and restores the brain’s balance system- homeostasis. Rhodiola rosea works by slowing down the breakdown of happiness neurotransmitters such as serotonin. It also improves the efficiency at which these chemical messengers are moved around the brain. What makes this nootropic different, is that it promotes relaxation without sedation, compared to typical anti-stress pills. Nobody wants a decreased brain power, and Rhodiola rosea not only keeps the stress response in check but also improves your concentration.
Bacopa monnieri – unwind and rejuvenate
This superherb has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Similar to Rhodiola rosea, it improves cognition and reduces anxiety at the same time. It protects against both acute and chronic stress. Recent research shows that it is as effective at reducing anxiety and benzodiazepine drugs but without the nasty side effects! Evidence-based studies confirm its effectiveness in reducing stress. They showed that this nootropic effectively reduces stress markers all over the brain, but especially in the memory centre- the hippocampus.
How does it do it you may ask? Well, it interacts both with dopamine and serotonin production but also promotes better communication between neurons. It also inhibits enzymes which are involved in cognitive decline, aka a detrimental response our brain has to ageing.
If it wasn’t enough, Bacopa monnieri is also an antioxidant, meaning it gets rid of free radicals- waste products that make us age. To sum up, it decreases stress and anxiety, improves cognition and induces clarity as well as protect our precious brain. Wow, just wow.
Montmorency Tart Cherry – sweet dreams are made of this
Montmorency Cherry is nature’s best source of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone which is produced by the pineal gland in the brain that puts you to sleep at night. In the era of technology and social media, who doesn’t check their phone before bed? This can affect your circadian rhythm, which is basically a 24 h internal clock. Thanks to the circadian rhythm, you feel energised in the morning and tired in the evening. Sadly, things like artificial light can disrupt this natural process and release of melatonin. Here, Montmorency Cherry comes to the rescue. By providing a rich amount of natural melatonin, it helps you sleep better.
Now the question is, where can you find all these goodies? Fear no more, because our Unplug contains all of these master herbs conveniently packed into one capsule!