The Importance of Sleep in Stress Management

Are you finding yourself more tired and needing a change in your sleeping routine? Here are some interesting statistics to consider: “26% of women report trouble sleeping at least once a week compared to only 16% of men. 19% of individuals ages 25-64 admit to losing sleep due to stress a few nights per week. 54% say that stress or anxiety increased their anxiety about falling asleep at night. 52% of men and 42% of women reported that stress affected their ability to remain focused the next day.”

According to the American Institute of Sleep, there are about 50 common signs of stress, many of which impact one’s sleep quality. Some of those signs include the following: Frequent headaches, jaw clenching or pain; Gritting, grinding teeth; insomnia, disturbing dreams; difficulty concentrating and making decisions; forgetfulness; lightheadedness; sweating and several others. When we don’t manage our stress well, our body produces more stress hormones that send us into “fight or flight mode”; this can certainly disrupt a restful night of sleep and negatively impact our functioning the next day.

Questions for personal reflection?
How many hours of sleep do you get on average per night? Do you have a regular sleep/waking schedule? Do you feel rested at waking? Do you have any barriers to restful sleep that are likely stress-induced? How has your sleep schedule impacted the next day, your week, and your sense of productivity? Are there any desired changes to your sleep regimen that you need to make in order to improve your sleep?

Here are some tips for bettering your sleep quality in terms of stress management; they address one’s environment, routine and emotional state (provided by CNet). Lower the temperature. Put down your phone or laptop at least one hour before bed. Invest in a comfortable mattress, sheets and pillows. Mask noises. Avoid the news & social media. Wake up at the same time every day, no matter what time you go to sleep. Limit caffeine, alcohol and chocolate (esp. at night). Avoid catastrophizing. Perform deep relaxation exercises. Control your breathing.

Today is a great day to start to make a change and build better habits to improve your quality of sleep. This may mean setting boundaries with relationships and work in order secure a peaceful night’s rest. If you still have further questions or problems, check with your medical doctor to make sure there are no medical issues that are causing issues with your sleep. You can always seek out services with our practice to address stress management and any underlying emotional problems.

Read more about sleep at the following sources: