Ways that Stress Affects Sleep and Strategies to Get a Better Night's Sleep - MyLifeWell for Business

Ways that Stress Affects Sleep and Strategies to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Sleep is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. A good night’s sleep can increase productivity, improve memory, and boost the immune system. 

Adults should sleep between 7-9 hours a night, but according to the Center for Disease Control, 35% of adults in the United States sleep less than seven hours a night. Unfortunately, while getting quality sleep improves health outcomes, not getting enough sleep is detrimental to your health.

Sleeping less than 7 hours a night can lead to: 

  • Obesity 
  • Heart disease 
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion and brain fog

Many people aren’t getting enough sleep because they are overworked, overtired, and stressed out. Stress and sleep are interconnected. Managing stress, then, is the key to getting a better night’s sleep.

What Is Stress?

Stress occurs when your body responds to a situation where you feel scared, threatened, or challenged physically or emotionally. Stress is how your body reacts to these situations. Being overly stressed, though, is hard on your mind and body, leading to health issues over time.

Stressors are different for different people. Something that causes one person stress may not affect another. 

According to research, there are three stages of stress:

  • Alarm: The fight or flight instinct is activated, releasing cortisol and adrenaline.
  • Adaptation: Due to ongoing stress, the body adapts, leading to mood swings and sleep issues.
  • Recovery/Exhaustion: If the situation is resolved, recovery can occur, but if not, exhaustion kicks in, making daily activities difficult.

How Does Stress Affect Sleep?

Stress is a sleep disruptor. When you feel stressed, you start to overthink and worry, which leads to anxiety. This becomes a cycle where you can’t sleep because you are worried about an external stressor like work or family. Then, not being able to sleep causes more stress and worry. 

Going through life in this poor sleep cycle causes impaired memory, poor mood regulation, and even more stress. It is a complex cycle to get out of. Since life is always going to have stressors, though, the best way to cope with sleep disturbances is to find healthy ways to manage stress.

Strategies to Help You Sleep Better

If you can’t sleep due to stress, having a nighttime routine can help you calm your mind and body and prepare for the night. Creating a nightly routine helps you wind down from the day’s events. It’s a calming way to end the day and get ready for sleep.

Creating the perfect sleep environment starts with having a dark room. If your room is too bright, it will be harder to sleep. Cover your bedroom windows with black-out curtains.

Then, make sure your room is at the right temperature. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold will make it difficult to sleep. The best temperature to sleep is 65 degrees Fahrenheit, according to experts

A relaxed body can alleviate physical stress and calm the mind. Experts recommend taking a hot bath to prepare your body for sleep. The warm water relaxes the muscles and melts your stress away. 

Meditation and breathing exercises can also help you relax your remind and body in preparation for sleep. 

If you are up for it, an orgasm, whether solo or with a partner, also releases stress and negative emotions.

What to Avoid Before Bed

About two hours before bed, ditch the screens. Instead of scrolling through social media or vegging out with too much Netflix, opt for a book or a quiet hobby like writing or knitting. The artificial light in screens disrupts the circadian rhythm, the body’s natural sleep cycle. 

On the other hand, an excellent way to work with your body’s natural sleep cycle is to go to sleep and get up around the same time every day. Your body will become used to the cycle and feel tired and ready for sleep.

Avoid intense physical exercise before bed. Exercise raises the heart rate and can make it challenging to calm down and sleep. Of course, regular exercise is also essential and can help tire the body, making it easier to rest. Just fit in your workout at least a few hours before bedtime.

The things you put into your body can negatively impact your nighttime routine. It’s best to limit or avoid alcohol and spicy foods before bed. Limiting caffeine can help too. Consume your caffeine earlier in the day and sip noncaffeinated beverages in the afternoon and evening. 

Stay Focused to Get Your Rest

Starting a new bedtime routine may take a little time, but staying focused can help you manage stress and get a good night’s sleep. 

For help finding mediations and calming exercises check out the MyLifeWell app.  It has all the information you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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