Imagine yourself in a situation where you come back home from work, and all your mind can whisper to you is to sleep. Tiredness can easily make your body feel low, and hence, you are forced to sleep or rest on your bed or couch. And when you realize that even though you are tired, you cannot close your eyes and rest, that’s where the word ‘stress’ comes in. Your mind still feels alert, generally due to an increase in cortisol from stress and a resulting decrease in melatonin that would otherwise make you sleepy.
Stress itself is enough to sabotage your sleep and hamper your sleeping schedule. Even when excessively sleepy and tired, your stress level will be an obstacle here. To know how stress is a part of your sabotaged sleeping schedule and understand the concept of insomnia and how to cure it, go through the details.
Sleep and stress:
The quality of sleep gets down when you are dealing with an excessive amount of stress. Stress and sleep deprivation can have a massive impact on physical and mental health. The amount of sleep you would need solely depends on your age and other biological factors. Still, in general, it is suggested that 7-9 hours of sleep is mandatory for an individual. What can happen if you don’t get enough sleep? You will develop a negative mood, face difficulty concentrating on something, and not function as a sane human being. Imagine being tired and sleep-deprived, and you have to drive back home or manage chores or family back at the house. What are the odds that you won’t face an unwanted accident?
People who are sleep deprived often develop the following conditions:
● Heart attack
● Anxiety & Depression
● Diabetes and many more
Stress has many adverse side effects, but it is a response that has evolved in humans and animals to help them cope with critical or dangerous situations. In humans, stress can trigger the nervous system and release hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase heart rate so that the blood moves more rapidly and efficiently.
It prepares the body to respond to the stimuli immediately. This response is called the fight-or-flight response, and it was crucial to human survival in the early stages of evolution. Today, problems that are not life-threatening can trigger a fight-or-flight response. For example, problems at work or difficulties in relationships.
Does stress affect sleep?
Stress affects your health, but it can also keep you from getting enough sleep. Stress can hamper your night routine and how you can get more sleep when life gets hectic. Stress can affect sleep in many ways. Stressed people overthink their responsibilities like work, family, and finances. Stress often revolves around exams and other important assignments for school-going teenagers and young adults. The thoughts of deadlines, work, assignments, and other disturbing situations arise when a person tries to fall asleep.
Stress reduces sleep quality by lengthening the time it takes to fall asleep and stay asleep. Insomnia triggers the body’s stress response system, increasing stress hormones, particularly cortisol, disrupting sleep. Sleep has been shown to play an essential role in learning and memory in studies. Chronic sleep deprivation has also been linked to slowed metabolism and endocrine problems.
Getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep can be difficult when your mind is still active from your daily appointments. Changing night behavior is the first step in reducing night stress and getting a better night’s sleep.
What to do in times of stress?
If you are having a hard time keeping the nightmarish thoughts and loads away from your mind, we suggest you keep the thoughts away by doing meditation and breathing exercises. There are a lot of apps that can aid you with meditation and exercises.
You can also indulge yourself in activities like a steam bath, sauna, yoga, massage etc, which will help you relax at the end of the day. Refrain from having alcohol or caffeine late in the evening because caffeine will be the reason behind your delay in sleep. Also, use a dim light in your room to prevent exposure to your eyes. Setting your internal clock is important by making sure to get light exposure in the morning, and then limiting it at night. It is critical to have the best sleeping environment possible. Blue light emitted by smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices is a modern problem, as this wavelength is very activating and can interfere with melatonin secretion. There are blue light filtering apps available and presets for removing it on iPhones. However, you should ideally limit the amount of time you use the device.
● Mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation is a relaxation technique that makes people more aware of their surroundings. The goal is to be aware of all the thoughts, feelings, and sensations occurring inside and outside the body without reacting to them.
Take 10-15 minutes in your hand before going to sleep and try the method out. Research has shown that this technique is efficient in the case of removing stress and anxiety.
Physical exercise can improve mental health and make you stress-free as it gives physical benefits to your body. According to research, physical exercises are effective methods that help reduce stress and anxiety. If you run for 30 minutes a day, it can help you improve your sleep schedule.
● Other Factors:
- Maintain a healthy diet plan
- Refrain from using caffeine or alcohol
- Avoid working from home or doing work at night
- Take aid from friends or family
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake
- Avoid bringing work home or checking work email at night
- Seek support from friends and family
Stress can lead to depression and chronic or acute sleep deprivation, known as insomnia. Insomnia is usually common among teenagers and men, and women who overwork.
Insomnia is a condition or a sleep disorder that does not let you sleep or creates trouble while sleeping. Acute insomnia is a condition that stays for a short time, and chronic insomnia stays longer. Chronic insomnia is direr, and you need medical help if you are a victim of this.
There are two types of insomnia:
1) Primary Insomnia- this condition does not include any health problems. The problems that might give birth to insomnia are:
● Stress due to work, divorce, breakup, death etc.
● Noise or exposure to light
● Jet lag
2) Secondary Insomnia- This means your insomnia has been developed due to health conditions like depression, asthma, cancer, pain, etc. The causes behind this condition are:
● depression and anxiety
● Allergies and high blood pressure
● Caffeine or alcohol intake
● Alzheimer’s disease
● PMS and menopause
Frequent stress can lead to chronic insomnia if not cured immediately. Stress does not come without permission. You decide how you will deal with loads of work pressure in your life. Stress can create health conditions that can last a lifetime and permanently affect your body. You can seek help from your counselor or try to take breaks from work to improve your sleep schedule and your health. If you are a victim of intense stress and insomnia, I hope this article will help you! You can also consider helping your body recover with additional supplements such as Tok Wellness, which uses researched adaptogens to help the body recover.