As busy moms, we all have stress, whether our kids arebabies or in high school or college and beyond. One thing that we often overlook is stress and the gluten-free diet.

When starting your gluten-free diet, it’s easy to focus on finding new recipes, creating meal plans, and learning to read ingredients. However, if you start to ignore the stress that is building up around you, it will affect your ability to heal and maintain your new lifestyle.

Let’s dive in.

Stress & Sleep

Stress significantly impacts sleep by messing up the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. When you are stressed, your brain produces higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that keeps you alert (think flight or fight mode), making it difficult to fall and stay asleep.

Additionally, stress can cause mixed-up sleep patterns, leading to waking up multiple times throughout the night, which leads to less quality sleep. Over time, chronic stress and poor sleep can create a vicious cycle, where lack of rest further raises stress levels, negatively affecting both physical and mental health.

Sleep & The Gluten-Free Diet

Why does sleep play a part in the gluten-free diet? Our bodies can only focus on so many things at once. If your body is stressed out and exhausted, its biggest focus will be on recovery. Your brain will not necessarily be thinking about sticking to your gluten-free diet.

You might also find yourself craving foods that contain gluten. Depending on your level of energy, you might cave in.

If you were to end up eating gluten, you would be adding another level of stress to your body. This begins a cycle of stress -> lack of sleep, -> poor nutrition, which can be hard to break. Focusing on lowering stress is a big part of the gluten-free diet.

How Do You Prevent Stress?

There is no direct way to prevent stress. However, we can work on lowering and controlling our stress reaction.

For starters, move your body. Whether it’s going for a walk, yoga, pilates, or even a weight-lifting workout, movement can help lower your overall stress levels.

Next, look at your schedule for the week. I am a paper planner girl, and every Sunday night, I sit down with a planner and look at the week ahead. Where are things going to get off track? What’s the plan for sports? What food are we eating? The goal of this time is to help take the stress off of guessing what’s for dinner.

With having a plan comes routine. Think about what parts of your day you can turn into a routine—for example, the mornings. Start your day a certain way as often as possible. Maybe you make your coffee as soon as you start your day. Go take your shower or do a workout. When you’re done with that, your coffee’s ready to go. You drink your 32 ounces of water. Boom, you’ve knocked many things off your to-do list.

Last but certainly not least. Put your technology down. I’m going to go there. I know we love the scroll, but the scroll is causing us to consume too much information. How often do you sit there scrolling on your phone, especially with all the mess going on in the world? Do you get more and more worked up over what you’re seeing, but you can’t put it down because you’re addicted to it?

Put your technology down and get off social media. That right there is going to lower your stress levels, not to mention the whole blue light situation.

Stress & The Gluten-Free Diet

At the end of the day, maintaining your gluten-free diet will help your body heal. There are a lot of things out of your control, but when you can, pay attention to those stress levels.


Kristin Longacre

Hey There, I’m Kristin, a gluten-free nutrition coach helping gluten-free families adjust to their new lifestyle.

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