Is Stress Affecting Your Sleep?
Sleep and stress are definitely interconnected.
We all know that it can be more difficult to sleep when you are stressed out. When things in life seem uncertain, when you face relationship problems, when you’re having difficulties at work… when someone gets sick, when bills creep up… all of these things can stress us out, and that stress usually hits our sleep and our appetites before it hits anything else.
But most people don’t realize that a lack of sleep can also cause stress all on its own. And if we are not careful, this can lead to a negative spiral, in which we don’t sleep because we are stressed, and then get stressed when we don’t sleep… and the cycle repeats itself.
But what can be done about it? Can we do anything to stop this negative spiral, and pull ourselves out of it?
Here is what you need to know.
First Line Of Defense: Try To Get More Sleep
The obvious first step to solving this problem is to try to get more sleep—despite stressful situations that might be going on in your life. Stress can be difficult to manage, and sometimes it takes time to get a better hold on it.
But you can’t afford not to sleep. This is why it is super-important to try to sleep enough, even when you are stressed or don’t quite feel like it.
During stressful times, it is absolutely important to keep up with healthy, normal sleeping habits. Here are just a few that can help…
- Maintain consistent bed and wake times
- Try to stop looking at electronic device screens at least an hour before going to bed (these keep you awake and can trick your brain into thinking that it is still daylight)
- Try not to eat within two hours of going to bed
- Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking, as these can also hinder your ability to sleep well
- If you have to sleep during the day, try buying some blackout curtains, or hang blankets over the windows so that you can make your room completely black. This is very important to some people, because the brain can be very sensitive to sunlight… even a little bit of it.
- Avoid caffeine, especially within four hours of going to sleep
There are obviously a lot of other things that you can do, but these steps are pretty common-sense, and they can help to give you some major momentum as you start to get back into a more regular and consistent sleeping schedule.
But sleeping is only half of this problem. What about stress?
Second Line Of Defense: Try To De-Stress
De-stressing is also super-important to this process. Dealing with stress is not always easy, and a lot of people do it in different ways… but here are some helpful tips to help you deal with stress in a safe, healthy, and usually effective manner…
- Talk to someone about your stress
- Try to figure out if there are problems causing the stress that you can remove from your life. Is the stress caused by a person? Is it possible to stop associating with that person? Is it caused by bills? Is there some way to lower them? Etc.
- Do more things that you enjoy. Spend time with friends, go for a walk, take up a new hobby, etc.
- Try to take up meditation, and set aside time every day to just breathe deeply for 5 minutes
- Try to be present in the current moment, and not to stress too much over the past or the present
- Tune in to your body, and try to connect with yourself and love yourself more
These are obviously only a few different ideas for how to handle stress, but they can certainly help. And the happier you become, the better your quality of sleep will be able to be, and that will also make everything else better.