Understanding Stress

Everyone gets stressed out, and everyone sleeps, but did you know there is a strong relationship between the two? Stress can directly affect the amount of sleep you get and vice versa. The Sleep Foundation states that stress falls into 3 categories: acute stress, episodic stress, and chronic stress.

Chronic stress is one to look out for as it can cause significant health issues such as a higher risk of heart disease, sleep apnea, depression, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system, to name a few.  A slew of dental problems from teeth grinding or clenching can also happen from high stress. It is essential to work on stress-relieving techniques to help your overall health and bring your sleep back into balance. 

Don’t Stress, Just Rest

According to Sleep.org, the brain chemicals connected to deep sleep are the same ones that tell the body to stop the production of stress hormones. Meaning, when you don’t sleep well, your body keeps pumping out those hormones, causing you to feel further stressed. So, the following night, you find it harder to fall asleep, and the cycle continues.

Stress management is crucial to a good night’s sleep. Sleep hygiene can improve your sleep quality and duration, leaving you feeling refreshed in the morning and prepared to manage any stress that comes your way.   

Tips to Manage Stress

The Sleep Foundation and WebMD have some great tips to help to ease your stress and get a quality night of sleep:  

  • Seek social support – Spend time with the people you love. Open up to them about the stress you’re experiencing or seek a professional that can help you cope.    
  • Exercise – Physical activity can help to relieve stress. Exercise at least 2 hours before bedtime to ensure your body temperature returns to normal before you try to sleep. 
  • Healthy diet – Junk food can lead to feeling sluggish. Eating healthy will promote your wellbeing, reduce stress, and help you sleep more soundly at night.   
  • Strict sleep schedule – Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Try your best to keep to your schedule, even on weekends and while on vacation. 
  • Bedroom atmosphere – Experts recommend keeping your room between 60 to 67 degrees, though 65 is considered ideal. Dim your lights and reduce exposure to outside noise for the perfect nighttime sanctuary.   
  • No electronics – Computers, tablets, phones, televisions all give off a blue light that can interfere with your sleep. Keep all devices out of your bedroom to ensure there is no stress before bedtime.   
  • Meditation, Yoga, or relaxing techniques – Take some time before you go to bed to take part in a quick meditation session or some Yoga Nidra. You could also try to fall asleep to calming music or nature sounds geared for deep sleep. Try relaxing with some soothing music and gentle waves sounds with the video below:     

If you follow the sleep hygiene guidelines and stress management tips you set for yourself and notice that your sleep problems persist, you should talk to your healthcare provider to look into other possible underlying issues at play. 

Stress less, do your best, and forget the rest!  

Check in with the QDME Journal for new blogs and fascinating topics.

Stress, Sleep, Stress Tips

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