Stress is one of the primary reasons why many of us find it hard to get a sound, comforting sleep. The best way to deal with stress is to face it, and then find a solution to overcome it. Get a pen and paper; write down what is making you anxious, angry, frustrated and stressed-out. You could even choose to discuss this list with a close friend. The nature of the problem causing such stress could be your boss or colleagues at the office, a family member at home, financial worries or strained relationships.
Stress aggravates and impairs your problem-solving capacity
If you are up in the middle of the night worrying about your problems, you can almost guarantee that the stress that builds up wouldn’t allow you to think, and can actually lead to a flow of more negative thoughts that are hard to stop once they start! You will find it even harder to sleep. A good way to find respite is by writing down your problems onto a piece of paper. Prepare a To-Do list or simply jot down your plans. Then put the pen down, and clear your thoughts knowing you will deal with the issue in the morning.
Stress and Insomnia forms a vicious circle
Since sleep is so important to your overall health, insomnia could literally ruin your daily activities. According to a survey conducted by the American Journal of Managed Care, almost half of total respondents (46%) reported severe sleeping issues arising due to financial, job-related and relationship stress. Sleep deficit makes you feel mentally slower and emotionally vulnerable, which increases your stress levels. Increased stress further affects your stress-related sleeping problems. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a very effective mechanism to fight such stress related insomnia problems. PMR involves tensing and relaxing all the muscle groups in the human body, thereby helping the body to relax and reduce the tension.
Stress contributes towards anxiety and hampers sleep
Anxiety is a natural response to situations that might need your highest attention or action. However, not all situations are within our direct control. These could be your abusive boss, or over-competitive colleagues, the impossible sales targets, a strained relationship, or financial turmoil that you weren’t prepared for. Stress arising from such situations leads to anxiety and panic that could disrupt your sleep cycles. If you are struggling to go to sleep, you could get up and read a book, or get involved in some not-too-stimulating household work that could help in fostering sleep.
Stress interferes with the Digestive system and may increase Acid Reflux
Stress can severely interfere with the body’s digestive system. The blood from the internal organs is transmitted to the muscles to deal with the extra stress. This partially deprives the digestive system of the necessary blood required for proper functioning. The digestive system slows down. However, the presence of undigested food triggers a rise of gastric acids in the stomach. This eventually builds up a pressure against the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), forcing it to partially open up and letting in the acid to flow up the esophagus. This eventually triggers the onset of acute acid reflux, which results in a burning sensation that moves up the chest area causing irritation and pain. This messes with the “sleep” system of the body.
A Stressed-out Individual never “rests” – we just keep processing information
According to the 2011 National Sleep Foundation poll, close to 60% of Americans were found to have sleep troubles. As a result, of the same neurotransmitter system in the human central nervous system being responsible for both stress and sleep. Understandably then, people suffering from the effects of stress and anxiety may also face severe insomnia.
5 Facts about Stress that’ll keep you up at Night
Conclusion: Manage Stress, Sleep Better
•Switch off Technology5. When it’s time to sleep, switch off the distractions caused by laptops, tablets, mobiles and televisions. Avoid distraction.
•Moderate your caffeine intake: The intake of caffeine throughout the day can exacerbate stress-related insomnia. Manage this by not having caffeine after 3 pm, and/or limiting the number of caffeinated beverages in the day. Hint: this includes diet coke!
•Moderate Exercise is good6. Exercise during the day helps to reduce stress and assists you to relax in the evening. This is because you have not only released endorphins (your happy hormone), but you have also used up some extra energy to make your body feel good.
•Eat a balanced diet. Eating a diet rich in Omega-3 such as salmon, nuts, seeds, beans, and avocados can help in reducing stress and depression, by influencing blood vessels and subsequent blood flow to the brain (blood flow has been reported to be reduced during the depression).
•Seek support and speak out: One of the most effective ways to relieve stress is to discuss it with close friends and family. Sharing your problems with others and seeking social support helps in pacifying the tension that builds up inside.
Remember, it is important to reduce stress in order to help the body relax and sleep.
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