Why is sleep a stress management issue?
Good quality (recuperative) sleep is necessary for proper brain function. But stress affects the quality of our sleep. And if that weren’t enough, some studies have shown that lack of sleep can increase the production of stress hormones.
So lack of sleep and stress can become almost locked in a vicious cycle.
Difficulty getting to sleep and disturbed sleep/wake patterns both contribute to lack of quality sleep. This lack can cause irritability, confusion, decrease in ability to concentrate, impaired immune function and can lead to cardiovascular risks and weight gain.
And, did you know that stress is one of the major causes of insomnia?
But there are things you can do to help.
Relaxation techniques can be very important parts of “good sleep hygiene”. If you find that your worries keep you up at night, try these tips to help improve your sleep:
- Avoid major exercise within a few hours of bedtime.
- Have a set bedtime AND a set wake-up time. Even on weekends.
- Avoid caffeine at least a few hours before bed.
- Incorporate a relaxation technique as part of your bedtime ritual.