You know how important quality sleep is for your well-being. But when you’re feeling stressed, it can be hard to get a good night’s sleep. And vice versa—low-quality sleep can affect your stress levels. Getting caught in a “stress-bad sleep-stress” loop can be hazardous to your health.
You may be feeling mental anxiety from extra pressure at work, emotional stress from caring for an elderly parent, or the physical strain of a recent injury. In turn, your sleep quality can suffer. Similarly, not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on your nervous system, negatively affecting your state of mind and daily performance.
How Stress Affects Your Sleep
Stress is a significant cause of poor-quality sleep. Whether it’s tossing and turning, insomnia, or simply not being able to sleep through the night, stress can be a culprit. When stressful events happen in your life, your body manufactures hormones like cortisol, making you feel like you’re under threat.
Stress is a physiological response to the things in your life that throw you out of whack: job changes, family medical emergencies, relationship troubles, etc. Deep, restful sleep is nearly impossible when your body feels like it’s under threat. Prolonged exposure to stress can lead to chronic sleep issues too.
How Your Sleep Affects Stress
While stress can often cause poor quality sleep, the opposite is also true. If you’re not getting enough sleep or enough good sleep, you could be more prone to stress in your daily life. For this reason, it’s essential to practice smart “sleep hygiene” and do what you can to create the ideal environment for high-quality sleep.
Try these tips to ease stress as you wind down for the evening:
- Create a digital sunset. Set an alarm to turn off all screens an hour before bedtime.
- Sleep with a weighted blanket for a feeling of security and comfort
- Practice restorative and calming yoga to wind down before bed
All of these habits can help you get better, more consistent sleep. So you’ll be ready to take on challenges that come your way without feeling overly stressed.
Reduce Your Stress Levels For Better Sleep
It’s one thing to know that reducing stress levels in your life would improve your sleep and overall health. Still, it can be more challenging to feel less stressed consistently.
While stress reduction may look different for each person, there are simple, proven ways to reduce your stress hormones. Here are a few daily habits to try:
Go for a daily walk
Exercise does wonders for your mental and physical health. Low-impact walking is an ideal way to get fresh air, move your body, and invigorate your mood.
Eat a clean, balanced diet
By reducing sugar and processed foods and adding in healthy options, your body will have the fuel to perform well and recover from stressful situations better.
This can be as simple as enjoying a few moments of solitude while sipping warm coffee each morning. Or curling up with a good book at night. Sprinkling in activities that make you happy is an excellent way to keep stress at bay.
Set aside about 10 minutes each day to get still, observe your breathing, and be present in the moment. It’s a simple way to practice this grounding habit.
Sleep and stress are interconnected. So by reducing stress and improving your sleep, you optimize your physical health and mental wellness.
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Enjoy restful nights and stress-free days ahead!