By Eric Stengle, Founder, Family Sleep Diagnostics
Stress is a silent killer. It affects both your physical and mental state.
In fact, stress can make an existing physical condition worse or it can even be the leading cause behind serious health problems such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Another area of your life that stress can severely impact is your quality of sleep. Did you know that 48% of Americans report lying awake at night due to stress?
It can be extremely frustrating to get into bed after a long, hard day at work expecting to fall asleep only to find that no matter how hard you try, sleep just evades you. You end up tossing and turning for hours.
Even if you eventually fall asleep, the max you clock is a few hours. If this were to happen on a regular basis or worse on a nightly basis, it won’t be long before the ill-effects of poor sleep impact your waking or productive hours.
It can also increase your chances of getting into an accident.
So why does this happen? Well, this happens because sometimes, even if you are physically exhausted, your brain is wide awake. And the likely culprit keeping your brain awake? Stress.
In addition to physically impacting your body, another risk shoddy sleep due to stress is that it could lead to a more serious sleep disorder such as insomnia.
Is stress keeping me up at night?
If you want to understand why you are sleeping poorly at night, you need to identify the exact cause.
It could be due to stress, it could be due to a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety, or it could be due to a physical health condition. Certain kinds of medications can also lead to poor quality sleep.
A simple way to find out if stress is causing you to sleep poorly at night is by keeping a track of your sleep quality when you are under stress and when you are not under any kind of stress.
If you sleep like a baby when you are not stressed, or if you address the factors which are causing you stress and this eases your sleep troubles, then you can be certain that stress is the trigger.
If, however, you continue to struggle to sleep even when not under any stress, and this continues over a period of time, then you need to seek professional help.
4 Steps to Quality Sleep Every Night
If you know stress is keeping you up at night, then following these four simple rules can help you unwind and sleep better.
- Stick to a Bedtime Schedule
A fixed bedtime schedule is one of the most important steps for improving your sleep quality. Pick a time both for going to bed and waking up in the morning and try to stick to that schedule every single day including on the weekends.
2. Shut Down Your Tech Devices
If you are in the habit of checking or using your phone in bed, then you need to stop. Simply unplug and disconnect from any “smart” device that you use including your laptop/PC and TV.
3. Plan a Bedtime Routine
It is always good to set aside some time before getting into bed for simple activities that can help you de-stress.
- Find an activity that helps you relax – it could be meditation or praying, or a nice warm bath. You could also try deep-breathing exercises or simply listening to calming music. The idea is to relax your mind and body.
- Muscle tension can also keep you from sleeping well. If this the case with you, then try practicing yoga positions that help relieve muscle tension.
- Most importantly, avoid consuming foods that are loaded with calories and caffeine or any other stimulants.
4. Use Comfortable Sleeping Accessories
Sometimes something as simple as selecting a terrific mattress and head support (pillow) can improve your sleep quality. If your body is relaxed and comfortable, it becomes easier to fall asleep.
Following these few lifestyle changes can help improve your sleep situation in a number of ways. If, however, your sleeping problem continues then consult with a professional sleep coach ASAP.
Family Sleep Diagnostics – Saving Lives and Marriages
Is stress keeping you from sleeping well at night? Or are you suffering from a suspected sleep disorder? If yes, we can help. You can reach us at Family Sleep Diagnostics or give us a call at (972) 714-0011.