How Stress Affects Your Sleep

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While falling asleep can be difficult – especially if you’re particularly stressed or are experiencing racing thoughts – sometimes staying asleep is the biggest challenge of all. People often think of insomnia as a condition in which people only have trouble falling asleep, or what’s known as onset insomnia. In reality there is another type called maintenance insomnia, which refers to waking up too early or sometime in the middle of the night and having trouble getting back to sleep. Stress and anxiety are common contributing factors to both types.

In addition to the obvious symptom of feeling fatigued, insomnia can:1

  • Negatively affect mood, memory and judgment
  • Impact your ability to safely operate a vehicle or other machinery
  • Contribute to feelings of listlessness and health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure

Stress has also been shown to affect a person’s sleep by:2

  • Alive and Well Relaxing SleepPreventing you from getting enough sleep
  • Impacting your quality of sleep
  • Increasing your risk of insomnia
  • Contributing to racing thoughts that prevent you from falling asleep
  • Leading to a vicious cycle of poor sleep

Tips to Help You Achieve a Better Night’s Sleep

  • Dream of lavender – Studies suggest that smelling this calming floral scent can help relax the body, improve your quality of sleep and make it easier to fall and remain asleep.
  • Practice relaxation techniques – Whether through meditation, simple yoga poses, deep breathing or anything else you find relaxing, engaging in these types of calming exercises before bed can help quiet your stressed mind so it’s easier to drift off into a deep, quality sleep.
  • Pin down loose thoughts – If your mind is racing while lying in bed, it can be extremely helpful to write any and all lingering thoughts down on paper – then crumple them up and physically throw them away, as this helps effectively clear your mind and prepare your brain and body for sleep.
  • If all else fails, consider seeing a professional – If none of your efforts have proved effective in helping you reduce stress and achieve a better night’s rest, it may be time to talk to your doctor to rule out any physical causes. You can also reach out to a mental health professional to help you manage your stress and recommend other techniques to battle insomnia, or point you in the right direction for additional support.

 

Having Trouble Sleeping Due to Stress?

People who suffer from insomnia or frequently have trouble falling/staying asleep often assume it’s just a fact of life and that nothing can be done to improve the situation. This is simply not true. Under no circumstance should you accept insomnia as a normal, inevitable aspect of your life; assistance is available, and Alive and Well STL is here to help you find the information, support and treatment you need to live the healthy, happy life you deserve – free of chronic stress.

To learn more about the adverse effects of stress and discover ways to help manage the stress in your life, check out our blog or visit our website to learn more about the Alive and Well STL mission.

1http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/sleep.aspx
2http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/17/stress-and-sleep_n_5824506.html
3https://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/stress-and-insomnia

 

Alive & Well St. Louis

Alive & Well St. Louis