Following a regular bedtime routine and doing what you can to ensure good quality rest will help calm and restore your body. A good night’s sleep may also improve your mood, listening, eyesight, concentration and decision making.1
A good night’s sleep could help put a fresh perspective on things and you may even come up with a solution you hadn’t thought of before!
Every day we face challenges with relationships, work, family, finances and more.
Learning to deal positively with worry and stress can make all the difference between tossing and turning or a restful sleep that leaves you alert the next morning and ready to solve the problems that have been worrying you.
Of course there are also times when stress reaches a whole other level; the loss of a loved one or a job, moving houses or trying to cope with change.
If you've ever been through something significantly stressful, you know it can be difficult to switch off and get a healthy night's sleep while your mind is fixated on a particular burden. In fact, most people have experienced symptoms of insomnia at some point in their lives, and at any given time around 10% of people have at least mild insomnia.2
Anyone who’s endured this battlefield of the mind will know that stress can influence sleep – but it's a vicious cycle, with the quality and quantity of your sleep also affecting how you manage stress in all of its forms.
The good news is that taking the effort to improve your sleep can help to reduce stress – and coping with stress can also help you sleep!
When you get a good night’s sleep, your dreaming brain is capable of working on solving problems.3 Then you may wake up with a fresh approach to the problem that’s been worrying you.
Striking the correct balance between sleep and stress management is essential for your health; in order to clock up healthier sleep now, as well as in the long term.
Stress affects sleep by making your body awake and alert. That's why people who are under constant stress or who respond abnormally to stress, tend to experience sleep problems.4
Stress may also limit the amount of time spent in deep sleep – which is the period of sleep most vital as that's when your body repairs and restores itself. The brain chemicals connected with deep sleep are the same ones that tell your body to stop the production of stress hormones.
Stress has been shown to decrease time spent in both light and deep sleep, and increase time spent in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. REM is an important sleep stage for restoring mental function, a phase when the brain processes emotions and memories.
So, if you're not getting enough sleep at night, your body reacts by boosting its levels of stress hormones. This leads most people to feel even more stressed the following day and – you guessed it – they have even more trouble falling asleep that night. Even worse, stress hormones peak in the afternoon and early evening, just when you should be relaxing and preparing for sleep.5
Most adults need between 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. When you're tired, you become less patient and easily agitated, which can increase stress.6
Following a regular bedtime routine and doing what you can to ensure good quality rest will help calm and restore your body. It can also improve your mood, listening, eyesight, concentration and decision making.1
There are a number of strategies that may help you manage stress so that it doesn't interfere with your sleep.
It might be easier said than done, but if there's something big happening in your life that’s stressing you out, do what you can to help solve the problem or improve it. If that means taking time off to sort out an issue, going on a holiday to clear your mind or having a difficult conversation with someone, you may want to consider doing so because once it's resolved you're on your way to that elusive castle on a cloud.
Whether it's breaking out the bath bombs and pouring a nice hot bath or fixing yourself a cup of herbal tea and snuggling in for a few chapters of a good book, winding down the right way may help calm your body into resting. It's also a good idea to switch off your electronic devices and make sure you've created an environment that's conducive to sleep – that includes considering the noise factor. Read more about the right level of noise for a good night's sleep here.
Mindfulness changes your thought processes and if there's something on your mind there's no better way to forget it than to switch your focus to something else. Give breathing exercises a go, or actively name the highlights of your day or things that you're thankful for. Think about something boring. There's a reason for the old stereotype of counting sheep to help you drift off to sleep.
Exercise is a sensational stress-buster, but it's also vital for everyday health.
Incorporate more exercise into your daily routine and you’ll soon see how beneficial it is when it comes to winding down for the day.
If you're pecking away at pizza late at night and cradling a stomach full of carbohydrates, chances are you'll be in for a long night. Try to eat your main meal well before bedtime and incorporate vegetables and healthy foods which are good for your overall health and well-being.
Our free online sleep assessment is quick and easy to complete and may help you find a solution to help you fall asleep faster or browse the shop for some inspiration.
ResMed is a global leader in sleep technology that has its origins right here in Australia. Our goal is to provide people with the means to awaken their best and enjoy healthier lives by promoting good sleep habits and creating awareness for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/emotions-cognitive#1 accessed 8 July 2019.
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders/insomnia accessed 8 July 2019.
Barrett, D. Ann N Y Acad Sci.2017 Oct;1406(1):64-67.
http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/whats-in-it-for-you/mood accessed 8 July 2019.
https://sleep.org/articles/sleep-and-stress/ accessed 8 July 2019.
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/tips-reduce-stress accessed 8 July 2019.
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