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Stress and Sleep – Which comes first?

Stress. Too much of it will affect your sleep. Sleep. Too little of it will affect your stress.

Stress and sleep – Cusses and Solutions

Whether you’re constantly on the go, worried about work, or simply agitated by the news, chances are stress is a big part of your life. You may try to alleviate it by working out, spending a night out with friends, or eating chocolate. Sure, you could probably also use some extra sleep, but slipping into slumberland is a lot easier said than done when you’re stressed out.

But did you know not getting enough sleep reduces your ability to cope with stress? Sleep deprivation also brings down your immune system, increasing your chances of getting sick and sending you into a vicious cycle of sleep and stress and stress and sleep, which sends your stress levels skyrocketing while your body becomes less and less able to manage them.

The lesson here: to effectively deal with stress, your mental and physical state both need to be in tip top shape. You need to be healthy, and a big part of maintaining that health is getting a good night’s sleep—tonight and every night.

But how does one get those much needed Z’s when our lives are so inherently taxing? The trick is going after the chicken before the egg. If you (like most people) find it difficult to sleep through stress, you need to tackle that stress.

For many, this may sound like a laughable endeavor. Often it’s because we view stress as a large, overwhelming cloud that can’t be beat. But if you break down the stress, bit by bit, you may find managing it can be an easier task.

Stress and sleep

The first thing to look at is the source. Where is your stress coming from? Is it work? Is it home? Is it the news? Once you’ve identified the sources, address them one by one, and ask yourself: How can this stress source be reduced, better managed, or removed altogether? If work is a culprit, what is it about work that stresses you out? Break it down into all the micro-sources of stress that combine to overwhelm you. Is too much on your plate? Can anything be done about how much is thrown at you? Could you be more effective in the way you manage it? Removing this stress source is probably impossible (you can’t just up and quit), but you can temporarily remove it by going on vacation and coming back relaxed, refreshed, and better able to cope with the demands of your profession.

This technique can be applied regardless of the stress source. If financial issues are what’s driving you mad, would a new job bring in more money? Can you cut your expenses? Would drafting a budget make you feel a little bit better? If it’s the long commute home, should you consider getting another job? If that’s not a possibility, would listening to a book on tape be better than listening to the news?

Once you’ve identified and mitigated your sources of stress as best as you can, it’s a matter of accepting the permanent sources of stress that are left and learning how to shut them off at bedtime. Turn off the TV. Take a warm bath. Meditate. Experiment until you find the bedtime ritual that’s right for you.

We’ve also developed tools to make it easier and more affordable than ever to train yourself to get a good night’s sleep. If you want to sleep better and more efficiently, pay us a visit at sleeprate.com 
Or try our sleep-monitoring apps:
For IOS
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Jenny is a SleepRate community manager and customer advocate.

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