Sleepless due to stress?

September 6, 2022

Over half of Americans (55%) report feeling stressed on a daily basis according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Stress can cause a variety of short-term health concerns such as: headaches, muscle tension, upset stomach, and weakened immune system. Chronic stress can lead to long-term health concerns such as: high blood pressure, heart attack/stroke, diabetes, depression, anxiety, etc.

For anybody suffering from stress, trouble sleeping is one of the most common challenges. The APA reports that the average American adult is getting six and a half hours of sleep a night, while the recommended amount of sleep is between seven and nine hours per night. Worse yet, only 20% of adults say the quality of sleep they get is very good or excellent.

Lack of sleep greatly affects your overall body and mind. Sleep deprivation can affect a person’s memory, mood, concentration, blood pressure, weight, and balance, make you more prone to accidents, weakens the immune system, and more.

When stress is affecting your sleep, you need to find ways to clear your mind and calm your body when you climb into bed. Simply spending seven hours in bed is not enough, you need to make the most of that time and work to get yourself quality sleep at the same time as the quantity of sleep.

To “clear your mind” of the stresses of the day, focus on the physical calming of the body. Begin with slow deep breaths, then start at the head and work your way down your body to your toes and systematically relax your muscles, wiggle fingers, and get comfortable. This physical process of relaxation and calming is also serving as a good distraction for your brain, giving it something else to work on and to help forget about the troubles of the day.

Lastly, to maximize your quality of sleep, explore what other options might work for you to create a calming and peaceful environment. Consider the use of a sound machine, or just the physical temperature of the room and the feel of the bed. A wind-down process before getting into bed can also be helpful , try reading a book, taking a hot bath, or writing in a journal to clear your mind.