Sleep is crucial for our mental, physical and emotional well-being. It helps us recharge our body and brain. Good quality sleep is so indispensable that even if we slack by a little bit, we face some degree of impairment throughout our day. Stress and sleep have a vicious relationship. Stress reduces the quality of sleep, and a poor-quality sleep in turn increases the likelihood of experiencing more stress.
To break the cycle, we must understand its scope and the exact way in which stress impacts sleep.
How does stress impact the quality of sleep?
Stressed individuals spend excessive amounts of time worrying about obligations such as jobs, families, and money. Exams and other significant tasks are frequently the center of this worry for teenagers and young adults in school. Those ideas persist as one tries to sleep and interfere with various aspects of sleep patterns.
High amounts of tension make it harder to fall asleep and cause fragmented sleep, both of which are detrimental to sleep. Loss of sleep sets off our body’s stress reaction mechanism, which raises the stress hormone cortisol and further messes up our patterns.
It has been proven that sleep has a huge impact on our retention and learning processes. Thus chronic sleep loss has also been linked to endocrine problems and a slowdown in metabolism.
When your mind is still engaged from everyday thoughts, getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep can be challenging. The first step to feeling less anxious at night and being able to sleep more soundly is to change your nighttime habits.
What can you do to manage stress?
In the fast-paced lives, we all are leading, stress has become very natural. The natural survival response of fight or flight is now being triggered by everyday problems. However, there are effective ways to manage stress, regulate how you process daily events, and achieve high-quality sleep.
- Meditation – Remind us how many times we have recommended meditation. Meditation creates a space where you can healthily process the events of your life. It asks you to be centered around the present and present alone. This gives you a very different perspective and helps you prioritize things, thus reducing stress.
- Exercise – Apart from physical benefits, exercise can help you cope with mental stress and anxiety. The good hormones that are released while you work out boost your mood, and help you get rid of stress-causing thoughts. Anxiety too finds an outlet through exercise. Thus having a workout routine means you may sleep better at night!
- Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can increase your stress levels, thus consuming them in the latter part of the day can negatively impact your sleep.
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule: As much as dealing with stress is about finding the root cause, it is also about telling your brain at what times it needs to sleep. Sleeping longer and with better quality may be facilitated by getting up and going to bed at roughly the same hour each day. If at all feasible, attempt to set a bedtime and wake-up time that corresponds to your natural tendencies.
Stress is something that has become almost unavoidable and it impacts us in profound ways. When aiming to break the cycle of stress and poor sleep, most of all, it is important to remember to be kind to yourself. Habits will develop over time, and the results will show your efforts, so while you’re at it, trying to cope, be gentle and patient.