Some days—the most challenging days—make you wonder about the relationship between stress and sleep?
Everyone encounters stress, but how you handle stress matters plays a vital role in your well-being.
When you don’t have proper coping mechanisms and outlets for stress, it affects various aspects of your life—including sleep.
If you follow our blog, you already know what happens when you sleep and why it’s essential. An astounding number of people struggle with chronic stress and simply aren’t getting enough sleep at night.
A recent National sleep survey found that 40% of Americans don’t get enough sleep at night.
So, what happens to your body when you’re stressed, and you’re trying to get some shut-eye.
Let’s find out.
How Stress Affects Sleep
When you’re stressed and anxious, insomnia usually isn’t too far off.
All kinds of stress can occur throughout the day—work stress, relationship stress, personal stress—making it harder to fall asleep when you finally get to bed.
These different types of stress generally fall into acute and chronic stress. Acute stress is sudden events that stress you out, and chronic stress is long-standing stress that you can’t seem to shake.
Both types of stress can keep you up at night—no matter which one you’re dealing with.
It’s frustrating because you can’t seem to tell if you can’t sleep because you’re stressed or if it’s the other way around. Since sleep is vital for almost every aspect of your life, not getting enough sleep throws you off balance in several ways.
Lack of sleep can make you slower, both physically and mentally, and more stressed, since you’re lagging in more than one area.
Here are some things people with insomnia typically deal with during the day:
- Difficulty concentrating
- More mistakes and accidents
- General “unwell” feeling
How to Minimize Stress Before Bed
No matter what level of stress you deal with, it’s best to adopt a relaxing bedtime routine to release stress and tension.
Thankfully, you can do plenty of things to make this happen, and you can change it up to keep things fresh and effective.
Let’s check out some of the things that help decrease stress and enhance your quality of sleep.
Take a Relaxing Bath
A hot bath about 90 minutes before you hit the sheets is known to help you drift off into a deep slumber effortlessly.
There’s actually some science behind it.
When you take a bath at the right temperature, between 104-109 degrees Fahrenheit, this ultimately lowers your body temperature and tells the brain it’s time for bed.
It’s hard to grasp how a hot bath lowers your body temperature, but hey, who are we to argue with the science?
If you want to enhance this process a little more, you can also toss a CBD Bath Bomb into your bathwater.
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a safe and easy way to relax the mind and body before bed. Furthermore, it never enters your bloodstream since you don’t ingest it.
This is a plus for those individuals who want to steer clear trace amounts of THC since it can produce a false positive on drug screenings.
Reduce Blue Light Exposure
Can you remember the last time you went to bed without your phone in your hand, ready for a good scroll?
Cell phones are the number one offenders when it comes to blue light exposure, but it also comes from televisions and laptops. Blue light is a particular type of light that electronics emit when in use.
During the pandemic, everyone, kids included, seems to use electronics more than ever, but the prolonged exposure to blue light disrupts your circadian rhythm.
This is your body’s natural response to light—the sleep signal it sends to your brain and relays to your body that it’s time for bed.
Suppose you still find it challenging to limit your exposure to these electronics. In that case, you can look into getting yourself a pair of blue light glasses to ensure your circadian rhythm isn’t interrupted.
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
You may think only babies and small children benefit from sleep schedules, but this is where you’re wrong—you can too.
It goes back to your circadian rhythm, as it works better off a schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. It helps you sleep better at night, waking up feeling refreshed and ready for the day.
When you stay up late, it ends up stressing you out in the long run since it interferes with more than one aspect of the next day.
Meditation and Deep Breathing
One of the most beneficial things you can add to your nightly routine is meditation and deep breathing.
There are various forms of meditation, but the most important thing to remember is that you can make your own process.
Of course, there are many different ways to meditate, with one of the simplest ways being mindful meditation. This is where you close your eyes and become aware of every aspect of your being—breathing, the way your body parts feel, etc.
We live in a “hurry up and go” society. The practice of mindfulness allows us to slow down and think, being fully aware and present in different ways throughout the day. Instead of rushing to one thing, you take a moment to think about what you’re doing and if it’s the right course of action in the given moment.
When you move through the day with this increased awareness level, you reduce stress and anxiety in the process.
Don’t let stress get the best of you.
This is easier said and done at times, but if you have some of these go-to tactics lined up, you can counter the effects of stress and get restful sleep each night.
The relationship between stress and sleep is a touchy one, but it’s nothing you can’t beat, especially if you bookmark this page.