Why Stress Affects Sleep
Did you know, over half of adults in the UK sleep for 6 hours or fewer? Lack of quality sleep is a huge concern across the UK, and in the current climate, this will continue to rise.
Depression and stress are common examples of health issues that can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. It is no wonder: you’re lying in bed trying to switch off, but the worry and anxiety you are experiencing will just not go away, making it almost impossible for you to relax your mind enough to drift off. The common phrase “losing sleep over something” is not to be taken lightly.
It becomes a vicious cycle! Lack of sleep boosts your body’s level of stress hormones which, in turn, causes more stress in daily life too. What’s worse is that stress hormones peak in the evening when you’re preparing to unwind.
So, what are the first steps to manage the problem? identifying how your stress and sleep are connected will help you to deal with the stress you experience, improve your overall health therefore, result in a better night’s sleep.
Common causes of stress
There are many reasons as to why you might struggle to switch off - your finances, relationships and work are common factors that may be bothering you.
Are you being overworked or too busy during the day which is resulting in more stress and no time to get a good night’s rest? Although you are exhausted from working so hard, you still experience difficulty in getting to sleep because you are overstimulated, overworked and aware you will have to be up again shortly.
Working too hard also means that you have no time for the activities that really matter; exercise, seeing friends and family, relaxing are healthy activities. All help relieve stress, leading to poor sleep at night.
After being up all night, you are drawn to caffeine to stay awake, you then struggle to sleep at night, because you’ve had too much caffeine. Can you see the problem here?
Ways to lower your stress levels and improve the quality of sleep
In some cases, it may be that you are in need of medical intervention however, for stress-related issue there are a number of useful tips you can incorporate into your daily routine.
1. Unwind before bedtime - For an hour or more before bedtime, avoid any stimulating or stressful activities. For example, no texting, no responding to emails and no watching tense TV shows. Instead, dim the lights, take a relaxing bath, read a book, or listen to calming music.
2. Aromatherapy - by incorporating some aromatherapy into your life it might be able to help you sleep. Some studies have shown people to have had an increased quality of sleep and reduced level of anxiety by using lavender oil. Some ways of incorporating oils to help you relax and sleep, including diffusers and pillow sprays. Why not try our Feather & Down pillow spray infused with lavender and chamomile essential oils.
3. Exercise – Taking part in physical activity is a great way to release both physical and mental tension. Some common exercises include walking, running, swimming, playing a sport, or taking an exercise class. Its important to note that exercise increases your body temperature, so it’s best to work out at least three hours before bedtime to give your body temperature enough time to drop.
4. Adjust your diet – Ensure you have a healthy, balanced diet. Lower your caffeine consumption in the afternoon, avoid eating close to bedtime and reduce your sugar and carb intake as it can increase your blood sugar and energy levels.