Here’s what you need to know how much stress affects sleep and how to undo it. As you can see, stress and anxiety can lead to physical and cognitive strains, thus, affecting your overall health.
It’s a frustrating feeling when you’re down and stressed when you hit the bed. Your thoughts race on your mind keeping you from sleeping well during the night. Sleep and stress have a reciprocal relationship. If you’re stressed, you can’t sleep. Similarly, if you can’t sleep, you’ll start stressing on finding ways to get a good shut-eye.
In addition, too little sleep brings cloudy mind and negative moods which contributes to irritability, aggression, and more stress. In sleep, your body functions rejuvenated during sleep leaving you feeling healthy and well-rested. Lack of that can cause your body to drop its immunity.
What is stress?
Stress is the body’s response to emotional, mental, or physical strain resulting from external pressures and demands. Stress can be good as it motivates you to work harder, thus, making you more focused on the tasks on hand.
However, too much stress can have adverse effects on your health – stress affects sleep. Stress lasting more than six months (chronic stress) can upset your body functions, cognitive performance, and physiological responses.
Common causes of stress
Stress is normal, but if it eats you more than you can manage it, it can interfere with your daily activities, relationships, and health. Can you put into words what stresses you?
Work and career
- Working long hours
- Graveyard shifts
- Overloaded work
- Being unhappy at work, with your boss, and colleagues
- Poor work management
- No safety magnets at work
- Discrimination and abuse
- Loss of job
Life and relationships
- Moving to a new city or home
- Taking care of a newborn
- Death of loved ones
- Social tensions
- Marriage problems
- Taking care of a sick family member
- Illness or injury
- Ongoing depression
- Setting unrealistic expectations for oneself
- Major changes in life
- Perspective in life
- Fear and self-doubt
Ways stress affects sleep
Stress hormones like cortisol, noradrenaline, and adrenaline will be released, allowing to haywire your body functions until the external threat is removed. But constant aggravation can put a strain on your health. Here’s how stress affects sleep and put off your body.
Increase in hormones, increase in sugar. Stress hormones produce more glucose in the liver and limit the ability to absorb turned sugar, thereby, causing diabetes. According to ABC Australia, stress further induces the growth of cancer because it ramps up your lymphatic system, which spreads the disease throughout your body faster.
Faintness. Have you ever fainted due to buildup stress? Stress can increase palpitations and shallow breathing. When you don’t get enough air, it can lead to dizziness, brain fog, loss of focus and concentration, and temporarily lose consciousness.
Raised blood pressure. Stress can raise your blood pressure and may eventually cause heart problems. Hypertension can also lead to faster cognitive decline. Severe hypertension can cause more damage to the body including dementia, stroke, aneurysm, weak kidneys, vision loss, and metabolic syndrome.
Unsettling stomach feeling. Digestive issues like ulcers, stomach aches, acid reflux, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea can happen when you’re stressed. That’s because your body produces more acid and induces a lot of digestive spasms, thereby, making you sicker.
Tight muscles. Tensions in stress can lead to muscle tightening, which can end up to body pain, injury, migraines, and stroke.
Stress affects sleep? Tips for managing stress before bedtime
If you’re stressed at long hours at work, social situations, family problems, or internal struggles, it can have detrimental effects on sleep. Tossing and turning with racing thoughts are a result of any day-to-day stressors. So, how do you deal with the difficulty of anxiety at bed? Here are proven tips to manage stress before sleeping.
Identify triggers and seek support
Do you know what triggered your heavy feelings? If you know the source of your problems, you can handle it better in a productive way. Do you know who to call for help? Can you delegate someone else to do it for you? Should you prioritize this or that? By identifying triggers, you get control on how to tackle it.
Seek thought management with meditation
What we think – we do. Our actions begin in our minds, and what we tell ourselves determine our actions and feelings. If we can’t control our actions, feelings, and thoughts, we might raise our stress levels. You can learn to tap your thoughts positively by meditating. Calm yourself down with deep breaths before tackling the tasks one by one. You can even have a positive mantra for yourself to boost your confidence, such as, “I’m strong, I’m capable, and I’m organized.”
Exercise to blow some steam
Exercise can take out negative emotions, thus reducing stress. What’s more, it can help you sleep better at night because it resets your body’s internal clock. In addition, exercise can loosen tense muscles brought by anxiety. And if you’re someone prone to stress eating, exercise can help curb that feeling while keeping your body healthy and in shape.
Eat stress-busting food
Did you know bananas and dark chocolate can boost your happy hormones and combat stressors? Vegetables can also help bring back the energy to keep our feet working around the clock. It can clear the mind, improve performance, and beat lethargy. Nuts are also good nutritional snacks you can take when you’re feeling down and depressed.
Review your bedroom atmosphere
Your bedroom might be the culprit to getting a little shut-eye. Is it unorganized? A cluttered bedroom can attract stress and anxiety which prevents you to sleep. Take a review of your sleeping quarters or bed for that matter.
- Dim the lights
- Clean your bedroom
- Wash the sheets
- Air or vacuum the mattress
- Clean the pillows
- Lower the temperature
Instill sleep routines
Stress affects sleep? If it keeps you awake you can try revamping your bedtime routines before hitting the sack.
- Keep gadgets away
- Drink warm milk or tea
- Take a warm shower
- Try journaling or aromatherapy
Give yourself 30 minutes to plan your next day work
Seek professional help
Try talking to a therapist or psychologist about what stresses you. He or she can prescribe medications to keep your thoughts at bay. Even a sleep specialist will find the cause of your restlessness.