Let’s talk about stress and sleep. Stress has a way of sneaking into every part of your life. When you’re stressed, it affects you both mentally and physically—even if you don’t realize it. Stress can live in your subconscious and can manifest itself in physical ways, including while you sleep. This is especially troubling because if you don’t sleep well, you don’t get the full benefits of sleep which will leave you feeling groggy and lethargic. It’s also discouraging because it starts a cycle—the more stress you feel, the less sleep you get, and that lack of sleep is a natural stressor.
Stress and Sleep – The Facts
According to a survey published by the American Psychological Association: American adults report sleeping an average of 6.7 hours a night—less than the minimum recommendation of seven to nine hours. In addition, 42% of adults report that their sleep quality is fair or poor and 43% report that stress has caused them to lie awake at night in the past month.
The survey also reports that many adults say their stress increases when the length and quality of their sleep decreases. When they do not get enough sleep, 21% of adults report feeling more stressed. Adults with higher reported stress levels fare even worse—45% feel even more stressed if they do not get enough sleep.
We don’t just want to educate you on the stress-sleep cycle, we also want to provide tips and tricks to help you avoid bedtime stress so you can experience restorative sleep.
Here are some things you can try to help reduce stress and sleep better:
– Exercise regularly. Did you know that exercise is a natural stress reliever? It’s a healthy way to work off steam, and it will only help your health, both physically and mentally.
– Avoid electronics for at least an hour before bed. If you’re used to watching TV or playing on your phone before bed, stop. Your brain doesn’t need stimulated while you’re trying to fall asleep. Turn everything off and get ready to recharge in peace!
– Avoid caffeinated substances (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate.) Your caffeine intake throughout the day may be keeping you up at night. Try to cut back, especially after 5 or 6pm.
– Avoid naps throughout the day. A sleep schedule is key, and you won’t be doing yourself any favors if you break your schedule.
– Keep your bedroom cool and quiet. Did you know that most people sleep better in a colder atmosphere? When your body overheats while sleeping, it is almost sure to wake you. This causes you to disturb your natural sleep cycle.
– Make a conscious effort to leave you worries outside of your bedroom. We know that’s easier said than done, but it’s worth a shot. If you’re laying in bed, and you start to worry about bills or health or work, ask yourself “can this be fixed right now?” If the answer is no (and it almost always is) shut it down. It can wait until the morning.
We hope this information helps you shut down stress and achieve your best sleep. If you want more information about sleep deprivation and ways to combat sleep deficiency, check out our blog about insomnia.