sleep-worry_1Stress have its way of finding and catching up with us regardless of if were ready for it or not. Sleep can be one of the first things that is disrupted when stress runs rampant. The body can react physically, psychologically, and physiologically to stress. Studies show that most Americans lack anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes of sleep per night, and stress only makes things worse. Though you most likely feel sluggish, tired, and overwhelmed when stressed, stress can actually keep you up at night and prevent you from getting an adequate night’s sleep. Worrying about things you need to do the following day can only prolong your bedtime, and stressing unreasonably over things that are out of your control can wear on you physically and emotionally. The effects of lack of sleep itself are detrimental to productivity, but dealing with stress and lack of sleep can lead to serious disorders.

How stress affects us

Stress can make you feel incredibly tired, yet send your brain into processing worries and thoughts a mile a minute. You might not lose a ton of sleep when stressed, but stress can definitely rob you of your quality of sleep. Stress can prevent you from entering into your stage three and four sleep, which means you get less restful sleep. Your body loses the ability to focus on certain physiological changes it needs to go through, like repairing and restoring muscular and circulatory tissue, which maintains the health of your body. Stress can impact the risk you are at for developing sleep disorders like insomnia as well. Chronic stress increases your chance of developing insomnia by almost 20%.

Stress and missing sleep can begin to create a vicious cycle. Not only can stress cause lack of sleep, but lack of sleep can also make you more stressed, so it continues to wear on your body and mind. Lack of sleep causes your body to release cortisol, which causes more stress. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is triggered when your brain feels it is in a situation in which you will need to flee or fight, called the flight or fight response.

How to fight stress at bedtime

Keep a thoughts journal: The source of many individual’s worries comes from the anxiety of being spread too thin. If you are overbooked and over scheduled and you have a lot on your plate, the cruelest thing your brain will do is cause you to review everything and think about what you need to do right before falling asleep. This anxiety can send your brain into overtime and keep you up much longer than you need to be. Try keeping a notepad next to your bed so that you can write down any ideas or issues you think of while trying to sleep. That way, you can keep things categorized and you won’t worry about forgetting something important by morning.

Maintain a bedtime routine: Making sure you are taking part in a routine each night can ready your brain and body for sleep. Sometimes your brain needs just a signal in order to realize it’s time to sleep. Showering, picking out clothes or packing a lunch for the next day, reading a book, or another relaxing activity can help your brain and body both realize it’s time to unwind. Even when you are stressed, make sure to take part in your routine in order for it to work.

Try relaxation or meditation: Even if you’ve never tried it before, yoga, meditation, using aromatics, and relaxation techniques can signal to your brain that it’s time to get sleepy. All of these techniques utilize deep breathing and postural stability to channel energy into relaxing your entire body. Relaxation and deep breathing and used even while lying in bed to promote calmness. Aromatics, like the use of lavender while relaxing can stimulate even further calmness because you brain begins to associate the smell with the need to sleep. So, you might even begin to only need to spray the lavender before getting into bed and the sleepiness may set in.

Examine your diet and exercise routine: Make sure to look at what you can control while you are awake. Taking a good look at what you are putting into your body as far as whole foods and vital nutrients goes can be a huge factor in if your body is getting the sources it needs to keep your body healthy at night. If you are lacking vital nutrients and minerals, you might not be supplying your body with everything it needs to function at its fullest. Exercise goes hand in hand with sleep, not only can it help tire you out, it also releases endorphins in the brain, which signals euphoria, a natural stress reliever. Sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine will lessen stress and enable your body to be fully relaxed at nighttime.