How Does Stress Affect Your Sleep
As I begin to type this it’s a Monday night. To be honest I don’t have a lot of energy to write a post but I feel like I need to at least get started. Tomorrow when I have more energy I’ll finish this post. Now since it is Monday my energy level is typically lower due to my sleep schedule getting a bit out of whack over the weekend. The other part that has me feeling more worn down than usual is the amount of stress happening right now. Before you get too worried about me it’s nothing earth shattering. There’s a variety of changes going on and it’s just been one of those more stressful months. Which leads us to today’s topic of how does stress affect your sleep.
Cycles of Sleep
I don’t know about you but I go through various cycles of sleep. When I talk about a cycle I mean periods where I sleep better and others where I sleep worse. Sometimes this seems to be due to the changing of the seasons. For instance when Fall begins to roll around I typically start sleeping a lot deeper. Must be the hibernation side of me. Other times I will go for a period of a week where I wake up 5 times a night for no apparent reason. Or I might have a difficult time falling asleep. I have a pretty good sleep routine too. Most nights I will read a book for 20-30 minutes before turning out the light. That usually does a great job of relaxing my mind.
Certainly stress can play a role on how I sleep. When I have too many things going on (which is pretty often) I will tend to wake up before my alarm with my mind already thinking about what I have to do. The worst is when I wake up about an hour before my alarm is scheduled to go off. Severe dislike.
This falls into the arena of sleep and stress. So now let’s look at specific ways of how does stress affect your sleep.
My Wicked Mind
First and probably the biggest way that stress affects your sleep is your inability to turn off your mind. I know when I am stressing over something it’s very hard to turn my mind off. For example right now I have so many things on my plate I have a hard time keeping track of them. That’s not normal for me. I am typically a pretty organized and in control fella. So the fact that I am barely staying afloat right now is causing me additional stress. The biggest surefire sign for me: the waking up an hour before my alarm goes off with my mind already whirling with it’s “do do” list.
For many people it’s the beginning of the sleep cycle that stress affects them the most. This is when you can’t get your mind to shut off because you’ve either got too much going on or something is really stressing you. Maybe your relationships is turning south. Might be a huge project at work. Or maybe your company just got acquired. Who knows, the list goes on and on. These types of things have many of us up nights worrying relentlessly.
The Cycle Continues The Next Day
Now that you’ve just had a crappy night of sleep because of stress you get to pay for it again the next day. Here’s how. Because you didn’t get enough sleep your body will now increase it’s output of stress hormones. The brain chemicals that are associated with deep sleep are also the ones that tell your body to stop the production of stress hormones. Of course now that you didn’t sleep very well your body will keep cranking out these stress hormones. So now you feel even more stressed and at night you will again have a hard time going to sleep. It’s like a maze you can’t get out of! Oh the many ways of how does stress affect your sleep – let me count thee.
It Just Gets Worse
Now we are starting to see how does stress affect your sleep. It just keeps getting better and better.
Now that you are even more tired and stressed your bucket of patience is getting lower and lower. You have a harder time focusing at work and paying attention to conversations. You tend to snap at people much quicker and your mood takes a nose dive. Now that stress has firmly ingrained itself into your day to day life here’s some other things you can look forward to. People with ongoing stress and the lack of sleep stress causes have higher incidences of heart disease and high blood pressure. They are more prone to depression, upset stomach, and a weakened immune system.
How to Negate the Affects of Stress on Your Sleep
Isn’t stress awesome! Now that we’ve reviewed how does stress affect your sleep let’s see if there are some ways we can combat that. Here are a few things to help minimize the effect stress has on slumber time.
Come on, this is me talking. You knew this one was going to be in here. That aside a regular exercise routine can help you relax more at night. The reason being is you are wearing your body out by working it out. This has a double bonus affect. First of all it gives you an outlet for your stress. Ever work out when you are pissed off? Exactly, you are hitting it……hard! Second of all it wears our body out and helps you fall asleep faster because your body needs to rest.
Read a Book
Remember when I mentioned how I read a book before I got to sleep? Sometimes I read a self improvement book but most of the time it’s a fiction book. Something I don’t have to concentrate too hard on. I can simply read and let my mind wander along with the story. This is a GREAT way to unplug right before turning off the light. The vast majority of the time it helps me shut my mind down and fall asleep faster.
This is something I have tried from time to time and when I do it really helps. The problem for me is that I have a hard time working this into my nighttime routine lately. This is mostly because I don’t wind up shutting off my various “to do’s” until it’s about 30 minutes before bedtime. I’ve got to get better at that. Anyway, if you can make 20 minutes to meditate a bit before bed the benefits are wonderful. I highly recommend it.
Lighten Your Load
Okay, this is an area where I could really heed my own advice. If you find your mind focusing on too many things maybe it’s time to simply do less. I know it sure is for me. When you cut out some of the noise and bulls**t in your life you simply have less to worry about. And one of the cool things about getting older is you just don’t care about as much. You realize the things that are most important to you and those become the things you focus on and let the other crap fall away.
Here are a few things that could be helpful when stress keeps affecting your sleep.
The Little Book of Mindfulness: Focus, Slowdown. De-Stress – by Tiddy Rowan
Dreamtime Spa Comforts Microwavable Shoulder Wrap – by Spa Comfort
Mobilitas Muscle Gel – by Mobilitas
Serenilite 3X Hand Therapy Exercise Stress Ball Bundle – by Serenilite
Ohm Store Tibetan Singing Bowl Set – by Ohm Store
Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Body Oil – by Aromatherapy Associates
We’ve taken a look at how to quickly answer how does stress affect your sleep. Stress is a topic I’ve written quite a lot about. It is an everyday part of our lives and unless we take steps to minimize it stress can really affect our quality of life. This includes our sleep.
Make sure you take some action to keep stress in it’s place.
In good mental AND physical health,
22 thoughts on “How Does Stress Affect Your Sleep”
I have read your article on How Does Stress Affect Your Sleep, thank you so much for this informative and useful review. i loved the way you said that, When you cut out some of the noise and bulls**t in your life you simply have less to worry about. really it works. whatever you said on your article all are true and effective. i appreciate your good thoughts and will share this with my friends also. keep it up and thanks again.
Thank you Tawhid! Great to hear you learned something from the article. It’s certainly easy to say cut down on the noise in our lives – harder to actually do it. Cheers!
This is a great and simple to follow guide on how to sleep effectively without stress. You laid it all out clearly and showed examples that helped emphasize your various points. This guide will be very useful for people like me.
I basically I do a very hectic job on the regular basis and I noticed I haven’t been getting enough sleep to get back the energy lost, I’m definitely going to follow up your steps to be energized and effective
Thanks for the eye opener
Glad you enjoyed the article. I am constantly amazed at how much stress impacts our entire lives.
Stress really affects sleep, whenever I have something troubling me, I can hardly fall asleep. I continually rethink about the predicament and this affects my sleep. What I do is listen to some classical music and this relaxes me. I will try out your other tips. Thanks for this post
Classical music sounds like a wonderful way to unwind and lose some of the stress Aweda. I will try that out.
I always say to others and myself that I am my worst enemy. I am just like everyone else have many problems. However this year seems to be the worst, left my job, going through some legal issues, relationship, money…., yada yada yada. It started around last year that I noticed if I have a lot to think about I just don’t sleep. I broke the record last week that I did not sleep for 2 days and a half. My performance at my job was bad. I have stress acne, my skin looks horrible. Exercise does help me with sleep but not all of it I am afraid, it is just my mind going crazy. Somebody told me to start writing every night before I go to bed, like a journal or anything happened that day. It helps 🙂 you should try that. Meditation is good as well, I have been doing it but it is hard. Good luck and thanks for this amazing post 🙂
Wow! I am sorry to hear that sleep has been so tough to come by. As you can well attest to sleep can definitely affect your sleep, and not in a good way!
Really nice Post and here is my take on things Stress causes insomnia by making it difficult to fall asleep and to stayasleep, and by affecting the quality ofyour sleep. Stress causes hyperarousal, which can upset thebalance between sleep and wakefulness. Nevertheless, many people under stress do not have insomnia. But all around this is a nice Post very incisive information passed across nice job
Appreciate you stopping by to read and sharing your thoughts Dammy. I know some people that are stressed to the max but sleep like a baby – everyone is different.
Thanks for taking your time to write this article. I find it useful in dealing with my stressful life and am sure many will find it useful in other to improve there mental health
for almost a year now. I do sleep for four hours every night and this is already having a negative impact on my well being with the way I relate with people and the worse part of it is getting worse day by day.i will try and meditate tonight before I sleep and see maybe that will make me sleep better
I too go through periods of not sleeping as well as others. Thankfully I don’t usually get into periods where I only sleep 4 hours, that sounds really tough. When I’ve incorporated mediation it seems to help me a well. Thanks for the note!
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to work stress and on anti-depressant medication for the past 2 years. I have to depend on sleeping pills for sleep. Thank you for the tips to combat my insomnia, and reduce my stress level. l would like to try the Aromatherapy Associates De-stress Body Oil and see it can help to release my stress and improve my sleep order.
Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story. Please let me know if the Aromatherapy Destress Body Oil helps, I’ve heard very good things. Best of luck!
Hi Mat A,
In everyday life, thousands of stresses and stress-related diseases continue to prevail but do not get confused. There is no pressure in everyday life; such a person is rare in today’s world. Although Stress is commonly used to mean stress, stress-stressed stress can also be reflected in a body or social life. 75 per cent of people suffer from sleep problems of 3-4 nights a week. Due to chronic sleep problems, there is a problem of heart problems, decreased immune system, depression, anxiety, and weight gain. When not enough sleep, fat loss hormones increase cortisol emission. As a result of stress, psychological turmoil, loss of mood in a short time, the origin of irrational thinking, avoiding the work, avoiding duties, avoiding duties, misdemeanant, abandonment, even suicide or thinking of suicide may cause thoughts of a normal physiological process. If not enough sleep, all of us have a bad body. Bits of help keep the control of sleep stroke appropriate and quantitatively. Although there is a need for sleep, different types of people, we all need to sleep for 7-8 hours a day. Playing efficiently and sweat-less physical work is not just the benefit of the body. It helps to keep happy and stress-free. The same thing applies to yoga as well. Are you under stress because of not sleeping? It has been proved that meditation reduces the levels of cortisol. As a result, you will feel less anxiety and more relaxed and thus increase the chances of your sleeping. Thanks for writing such a helpful article. I’ve bookmarked this article and I’ll definitely share it with my friend.
Thank you for sharing further knowledge on this subject – really appreciate it!
Stress can make you lose your sleep over and over again. Anytime I am stressed it shows on my face as it will be difficult for me to sleep. Funny enough just like you said in the post i wake up even before the alarm wakes me. Mental stress, emotional stress, stress at work etc denies person a good sleep. I had to exercise, do some yoga, and meditate to keep my mind off what bothers me to have a good sleep. Thanks for sharing this post.
It is absolutely amazing how stress can affect every part of our lives. From the physical to the mental to the emotional. It can we are on our professional and personal lives. It can be a beast.
What a wonderful post that cater for our well-being. Yes, It is a known fact that stress is one of the things that affect our sleep. Certainly stress usually play a role on how I sleep also. When I have too many things going on within me, I will tend to wake up before my alarm with my mind already thinking about what I have to do. The worst is when I wake up about an hour before my alarm is scheduled to go off, I tend to get angry even with myself, because am a victim before. But now, am happh with the additional way out I get from the post , which I will choose the last solution, to be Lighten Your Load i.e I could really heed my own advice. So, as for others reading this post, I think you know yourself better and our mind control our body. Figure out your way out today. Thanks.
Thanks for sharing Topazdude. Stress has an incredibly large effect on our sleep. I’m like you in that sometimes I wake up stressing about something and then I can’t get back to sleep. It becomes this terrible pattern. I’ve found meditating helps. Have a good one!
Hey Mat, I really enjoyed reading your blog post. Its a topic that I have been researching for a while myself and implementing.
I think the key to reducing stress is to ensure we get ‘quality sleep’ to begin with. In order for us to function to our full potential and be able to cope with life’s stresses we need to stick to a solid sleep routine. Going to bed at the same time each night, sleeping in total darkness and getting in some exercise and sunlight in the morning can all help. These are some things that I am also working on.
I have tried a meditation app (head space) and I do feel the benefits from it. It helps me to wind down – also reading, I also read self help books but also trying to get more fiction in too.
Other things like blue light blocking glasses or at least getting away from screens an hour or so before bed can help too.
Sometimes if I have a lot on, I write ‘to do’ lists in the evening, somehow once you write down what you need to do it frees it from your mind!
Keep up the great work Mat!
Thanks Rob – great to hear from you! I have tried meditation as well. I have an app I use sometimes and it has a few meditations on it that are about 20 minutes long and they work great. I just have to discipline myself enough to use it on a regular basis. cheerS!