Why Sleep Should Be Your #1 Defense Against Stress
Stress-related sleep disorders are on the rise today. Our hectic routines have made it difficult for us to get proper rest. With every passing day, people are becoming more negligent towards their health.
According to the CDC, 35.2% of the adult American population sleeps for less than seven hours a day. That is why the number of patients with sleep disorders is increasing day by day. More and more people are complaining of health problems such as insomnia, hypertension, and depression.
Taking too much stress or getting tense over trivial matters can lead to poor sleep at night. Consequently, poor sleep gives rise to several complicated health issues. Mental health problems are also common in people who don’t get sufficient sleep.
Understanding the connection between stress and sleep will help you manage your day better. In this article, we will go through the harmful effects of sleep deprivation and learn how to manage it.
Common Signs of Stress
If you experience any physical symptoms, you should know that you are taking high levels of stress.
- Upset stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Back pain
Other commonly reported signs of undue stress include anxiety, poor focus, lack of mental alertness, depression, and sleep problems.
Long-term Impact Of Stress On Your Body
There is nothing wrong with feeling stressed occasionally. In fact, several studies have revealed that stress can enhance your performance at work.
Incessant stress, on the other hand, can have a devastating impact on your wellness. The constantly elevated levels of cortisol may lead to cardiovascular problems. They also increase the risk of inflammation in different diseases.
All of these effects collectively result in sleep deprivation. A 2011 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation showed that 43% of the people belonging to the age group 13-64 didn’t get any sleep at night at least once in the last month.
Persistent lack of sleep may lead to many complicated health disorders. These include diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, obesity, and kidney disease. Moreover, it makes you more vulnerable to stroke and nervous breakdown.
Thus, it is necessary to learn how to cope with emotional and physical strain.
Sleep Deprivation Can Cause Stress
Sleep deprivation for prolonged periods can drain your mental capacities. It may lead to a lot of serious health issues that require proper medical treatment.
According to Harvard Health, your mental health is directly linked to your sleep quality. Any disruption in your sleep cycle can impair thinking and affect your memory.
In a 2015 study involving 207 Chinese servicemen with sleep deprivation, researchers observed that there was a significant impact on mental health and blood cortisol levels.
Prolonged lack of sleep can also lead to depression and anxiety attacks. A study involving 4175 adolescents showed that constant lack of sleep substantially increases the risk of major depression and other mental health disorders.
In a recent study conducted by Harvard Health, it was observed that sleep deprivation preceded major depression 69% of the time.
Apart from that, reduced quantities of sleep can have adverse effects on your cognitive abilities. It can affect your mental alertness and reduce your focus. Your learning capacity may also decrease over time.
According to a 2008 study investigating the effects of sleep deprivation on emotional intelligence, people who don’t sleep well have impaired constructive thinking skills. Over time, researchers noticed a gradual decrease in the self-regard and sense of independence of the participants.
Moreover, long-term stress causes your muscles to become taut. It compromises your immune system and affects your digestion. The endocrine system is also affected and hormone levels are disturbed.
Heightened levels of stress hormones lead to a state of restlessness. Your body constantly remains in a ‘fight or flight’ condition. This further leads to more lack of sleep.
Therefore, learning how to effectively manage stress is essential for your physical and mental well-being.
Research Says Better Sleep Can Cure Undue Stress And Depression
In a 2019 survey, data collected from 95 medical students were analyzed to assess their performance and sleep quality. The results showed a direct correlation between poor sleep and the prevalence of anxiety. Researchers concluded that getting sufficient sleep was integral to better physical and mental health.
Moreover, the results of another study helped establish a bidirectional relationship between inadequate sleep and depression. Sleep deprivation is frequently reported by patients suffering from depression. In fact, the rate of prevalence of major depression is quite high in people who suffer from sleep-related disorders.
According to a recent study including 30 participants, the amount of sleep you get at night depicts your anxiety levels for the following day. To further validate these results, researchers conducted an online survey involving 280 people. The results of the survey were quite convincing.
Furthermore, the lead author hinted that adequate and quality sleep should be a clinical recommendation for depression and anxiety disorders. Research shows that deep sleep can significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels overnight.
A 2015 study investigating the neuroprotective aspects of sleep revealed that adequate sleep not only relieved stress, but also prolonged memory recall. That is because all the toxic substances in the brain are removed during sleep.
Lastly, a growing body of medical experts claims that sleep acts as a natural anxiety inhibitor. It reorganizes the connections in your brain and enhances your short-term memory. Thus, getting the right amount of sleep is essential for all major body functions.
3 Tips For Improving Sleep Hygiene
The first step to improving sleep hygiene involves identifying the factors causing stress. You have to figure out whether it’s a toxic relationship or trouble at work. Once you realize what is causing stress, you can find a solution to it.
Below are three helpful ways to improve the quality and duration of your sleep.
Yoga or Mindfulness Meditation
For centuries, people have been practicing relaxation techniques to acknowledge their feelings and thoughts without producing a reaction. A literature review of several trials revealed that mindfulness meditation led to a decrease in anxiety levels and improved the duration of sleep.
Apart from that, a lot of trainers offer guided meditation plans prepared specifically for sleep problems. Taking a few minutes out of your day to maintain your inner calm will help you feel a lot better.
According to a 2015 study, a ten to thirty minutes session before bed can significantly enhance the quality of your sleep. However, more research is needed to validate the use of mindfulness meditation as a clinical treatment for sleep deprivation.
According to a 2017 review, regular physical activity can be helpful in managing undue stress. Even light exercise such as running can lead to a significant reduction in stress levels.
Another study in older adults suggested that physical exertion can be an excellent solution for those who face difficulty sleeping. Exercise also promotes mental well-being and strengthens your body.
Sticking to a healthy and balanced diet plan is also an effective measure to promote sleep. You should take your meals at the right time and avoid caffeine. Also, you shouldn’t eat two to three hours before going to sleep.
Lastly, you should keep a check on your carbohydrate intake. Abnormal blood sugar levels can also disrupt your sleep cycle.
The Bottom Line
To conclude, sleep and stress are directly linked to each other. If you feel overstressed, try reaching out to your family and friends. You can also consult a therapist if lifestyle changes don’t work. Seeking professional help at the right time can save you a lot of trouble.
Your Coaching Career
Our stress management coaching program is designed for life coaches, as well as fitness and wellness professionals who want to expand his or her knowledge in the lucrative and expanding field.
When you become a Certified Sleep Science Coach, you will learn how to help your clients dramatically enhance their metabolism, memory, creativity, immune function, hormone balance, hunger management, disease prevention, sports performance, accident avoidance, memory, reaction time, good judgment, surgery recovery, happiness and over 100 additional functions and behaviors.
Becoming a Certified Wellness Coach is the perfect addition for the fitness professional who wants to offer more all-inclusive wellness services to clients. The time is now for you to enjoy this exciting and rewarding career, which offers you personal fulfillment while improving the lives of others.
There is always something exciting about earning a new training or coaching certification and applying that new knowledge of how you train your clients. This also helps you hit the reset button.
Our programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.