Stress is a normal part of life. There are many sources of stress, including work, school, relationships with friends or family members, and personal health problems. Some people experience stressful situations more than others do because they have an oversensitive response to external stimuli. Stress can affect sleep in two ways: it can cause you to wake up often during the night and reduce the amount of deep sleep you get.
When your body experiences stress hormones like cortisol for too long without relief, this causes chronic inflammation, leading to illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Stress affects our sleep in many ways, and stress can cause insomnia, which is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep for an adequate amount of time each night. Insomnia can also lead to other symptoms, including difficulty concentrating, irritability, and muscle tension. However, there are some things that you can do to help reduce your stress levels that will then improve your ability to sleep better at night!
What is the impact of stress on your sleep and body?
- Stress can cause insomnia, which is when you cannot fall asleep or stay asleep for an adequate amount of time each night. Insomnia can also lead to other symptoms, including difficulty concentrating, irritability, and muscle tension. However, there are some things that you can do to help reduce your stress levels that will then improve your ability to sleep better at night! Stress can also lead to different diseases and chronic conditions, along with bad mental and physical health.
- Every day, you constantly face stressors in your daily life that result in mental tension and fatigue. Sleep deprivation deprives us of having a peaceful good night's rest, which ultimately leads to increased cortisol levels (stress hormone). Our bodies react differently to stressors and so do all the different systems within our bodies. Our blood sugar levels rise, we experience an irregular heartbeat & shallow breathing, high blood pressure, and a lot more that can also cause us to become agitated at even small things!
- When you are stressed out too much during the day, it's common for people to have restless nights where they toss & turn in their sleep or wake up frequently throughout the night, which affects your moods! Falling asleep becomes difficult when stressful thoughts keep running through your mind. You may not be able to fall back into the deep REM stage of sleep because cortisol is released later on in the evening/night time, making it harder for you to stay still long enough that your brainwaves slow down. At this point, your brain seems to be in a heightened state of awareness which is why you may not be able to sleep.
- When you are stressed, your body also releases adrenaline. Adrenaline is responsible for that fight or flight response in the face of any life-threatening danger, which then triggers cortisol production to help us cope with short-term stressors better. However, when we have excessive amounts of these hormones being released into our body regularly day after day & night after night without proper rest, it will become challenging for the mind and body to function well! This adrenaline and cortisol release is what the body goes through when we have different kinds of stress factors.
Here are ways how sleep helps reduce stress:
There are several different reasons why getting adequate sleep every night can make the difference between having an anxiety disorder & not suffering from one at all! As mentioned above, the REM stage is where most dreams occur and where your body does its recovery work after a long day.
When you are sleep-deprived, it becomes harder for the brain to regulate emotions and process information, making it difficult to think clearly & make sound decisions! This can lead to significant anxiety issues and depression if left untreated because not sleeping enough will cause irritability or mood swings. You'll also feel very tired much of the time, making everything more complex than before without proper rest at night.
- Proper uninterrupted sleep: Getting an adequate amount of sleep every day helps reduce stress levels by boosting serotonin production in our brains that help us stay optimistic about life's challenges instead of worrying all the time! It also keeps cortisol regulation under control, so we don't have to deal with the constant fight or flight response. Getting enough sleep will also help regulate blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation in our bodies and give us more energy throughout each day! Sleep can do wonders for your overall well-being if you allow it to work its magic every night. You can boost your stress relief effectively before bedtime with no electronic devices an hour before. This is because of the blue light spectrum of our screens, which tricks your brain into thinking it's still daytime. This makes it harder for melatonin production to kick in, producing a restful sleep.
As mentioned above, getting good quality shuteye is definitely one of the most effective ways there are on how to get rid of stress naturally overnight by itself! There are several ways on how to reduce stress levels overnight by making some changes in your lifestyle that will help you stay calm & collected throughout the day without having to worry about anything else. Remember that stress is not always bad because it keeps us safe from danger, but too much of anything can be dangerous. That means you should take steps to minimize your anxiety levels before things get out of control which might happen if left untreated for too long.
- Regular Exercise: The most straightforward way on how to reduce stress levels overnight is by exercising more because it helps release all those feel-good hormones into the bloodstream that help us stay calm & relaxed without having to worry about anything else. It also reduces cortisol levels, so you don't have to deal with constant fatigue throughout the day, making everything harder than they already are if left untreated.
- Mindfulness: Another effective yet straightforward solution to reducing stress and anxiety naturally over time is through meditation or yoga! These techniques allow your body and mind a few minutes every day for introspection and reflection that can help keep negative thoughts at bay, leaving you feeling much better about life overall eventually. These practices can also help you get in touch with your internal strength, which will be helpful when life presents challenges and obstacles.
- Healthy diet: Last but not least, make sure you keep a healthy diet by eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies high in magnesium because this mineral is essential for the nervous system! You'll basically feel like an entirely new person if you stick with it over time which means no more constant fatigue or irritability throughout the day while boosting serotonin levels naturally without medication too! Try adding some seeds & nuts into your daily intake as well, especially chia seeds, sunflower seeds, or almonds, to name a few.
- Conducive sleep environment: Studies show that falling asleep in an unsuitable environment can increase stress levels by up to 60%, which is why it's best to keep your bedroom dark, cool and quiet at night. This will make you feel relaxed & comfortable enough for proper rest every day when the time comes! A high-quality luxury mattress, or calming lighting, bedtime habits, and a stress-free bedroom can all help you stay calm & relaxed too.
Types of stress factors to be aware of and how they impact your sleep:
Stress can affect sleep quality in different ways. Each type of stress you face is different, and it is better to come into awareness to resolve it step-by-step.
- Acute stress: Acute stress that is short-term exposure to a single stressful event or episode, has been found to have relatively little impact on general health and well-being for most adults under normal circumstances. What's more, the natural mechanisms activated by this type of acute exposure are thought to offer some protection against these effects under chronic conditions. On the other hand, episodic acute events, which occur sporadically over time but not continuously, have been shown to take their toll physiologically as they accumulate. Over weeks, months, and years, they pile up with potentially severe consequences across broad domains, including physical health status if left unchecked.
- Chronic stress: Chronic exposure, or repeated exposure to stressors over a relatively long period, exerts the most potent effects on well-being, health, and performance in general. This is because chronic stressors are often associated with changes in brain chemistry that can lead to heightened vulnerability for illness or disease when experienced at high levels over extended periods without relief.
- Acute episodic stress: And finally, acute episodic responses occur in response to an environmental stimulus perceived as stressful. You experience episodic acute stress when you are exposed to a single type of chronic physical/mental/emotional challenge that occurs less frequently but with greater intensity than would typically occur in day-to-day life. This type of stressor can be incredibly potent because it may not give your body and mind time to recover between episodes. For example, toxic workplace issues, family issues, financial issues, among many others.
Over the years, acute episodic events such as these tend to add up and take their toll on health and well-being over time if left unchecked. This is why you should find a way to deal with acute episodic stressors to maintain good physical/mental/emotional health throughout life.
Developing healthy lifestyle habits are just one effective means toward this end, allowing individuals experiencing chronic or repeated exposure under normal circumstances greater capacity than most others when coping with stressful conditions. A healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables provides high levels of energy, causing fatigue, so you have better concentration.
Stress affects sleep quality by activating specific systems within our body through hormones released from the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. These hormones are called glucocorticoids, which significantly impact our behavior, including stress responses and arousal levels, among others.
High cortisol levels that correspond with chronic exposure to psychosocial stressors have been found to suppress immune function while also causing an increase in triglyceride or fat storage within the body. These issues can lead over time to metabolic disorders like obesity, cardiovascular disease, etc., and directly or indirectly impact your sleep.
Effects of stress on sleep are highly individualized and vary quite widely between people. Chronic exposure to intense psychosocial stressors can lead over time to both physiological hyperarousal. It can also lead to the state of being "on edge" and psychological arousal, including elevated levels of anxiety and other negative consequences, which may interfere with our ability to fall asleep at night. High cortisol due to acute episodic events has been shown under normal circumstances only temporarily increase heart rate, blood pressure, etc.
All these issues can disrupt stages one through four non-rem sleep during early parts of the night though it does not appear this effect ling later into the cycle as cortisol levels tend to return toward normal in the later part of the night. This suggests it's not enough for cortisol to cause arousals during sleep, but rather that elevated cortisol may be necessary for arousal, or at least hyperactivation to occur for sleep disruption to occur.
Effects of sleep on stress:
Sleep is a time when your body recovers from the day's tensions, and it allows you to recharge and rest so that you can handle stress better throughout the next day. Sleep helps reduce cortisol levels in the body, linked to increased feelings of anxiety, elevated blood pressure, and reduced memory recall ability.
Sleep also reduces inflammation by slowing down immune system activity- this means fewer aches and pains during waking hours too! Sleep also helps with pain management by increasing melatonin, which reduces the amount of serotonin in your body. This can reduce anxiety and make you happier too!
- Sleep is essential for stress relief: Sleep is when your body recovers from all-day tensions like work or school-related problems. It allows you to recharge so that you can handle stress better throughout the next day easily without getting sick due to increased cortisol levels caused by lack of sleep. It helps reduce cortisol levels in the body linked to increased feelings of anxiety, elevated blood pressure, and reduced memory recall ability.
- Lifestyle benefits: It has long-term effects like improving relationships, decreasing your risk for diseases, increasing brain power (memory retention, creativity), improved moods/reduced depression rates, among other positive impacts sleep can have on health. This means that you will be less stressed and happier too! As we all know, it is essential to get enough sleep to stay healthy and happy. If you do not get enough of your required hours per night, then this will most likely affect the way you feel during the day- including how stressed or anxious you might be feeling at any given time.
- Bedtime habits and sleep: While many factors influence stress levels, such as social interactions and work demands, one thing we can control directly is our bedtime routine and getting sufficient hours of sleep each night. Practicing good bedtime sleeping habits such as going to bed around the same time every evening (and waking up naturally), using a soothing pre-sleep ritual like meditation or deep breathing exercises will help relax both mind and body. These are more beneficial due to the power of habits in our routine so that you can drift off to sleep quickly when it is bedtime. This helps ensure that no more distractions keep you up at night, whether they are outside noises or just worrying about things before bedtime. It helps improve memory and concentration in adults as well- this means less stress at work too!
- Sleep quantity and quality: Getting enough hours of quality restful sleep each night plays a vital role in managing daily stress levels properly. It works by improving moods/decreased depression rates, among other positive impacts, making life easier on yourself while sleeping soundly every night. This goes both ways, as without adequate high-quality sleep, you're going to face issues sleeping soundly and vice versa, creating a vicious cycle.
Stress-relieving bedtime habits and factors:
- Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary. Keep technology, screens, and noise out of it after dark to help you get quality restorative sleep throughout the night. With work from home due to covid, one significant impact on our lifestyles has been blurring a workspace and safe space to relax. Consciously and subconsciously, if you work in your bedroom, you might associate it with stress and the workplace. Try to find other places in your home to work or other options if you feel.
- Keep track of everything you eat by writing down what goes in your mouth every hour or so during waking hours if that helps keep hunger levels low before bedtime. The fuller your belly is when you lay back down at night, the more challenging time you'll have falling asleep because digestive processes are still ongoing while lying flat on one's back.
- Think positive thoughts about what tiredness feels like as part of mental relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation exercises, which help us let go of tension through tensing and relaxing various groups of muscles one by one, including those in the face, shoulders, and toes.
- If you've been having trouble sleeping at night for a few weeks or more, it might be time to visit your doctor to rule out any possible physical problems that could be keeping you up some nights. Sleep disorders like sleep apnea can make lying down too tricky because of blockage in the upper airway passages due to obesity or other medical conditions, including stress-related ones such as anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and depression.
- Suppose you have trouble falling asleep after 30 minutes or so. In that case, it's best to get up and do something relaxing like reading that works well until enough time has passed. You can then wait for tiredness signals to kick into high gear again, which might be another half an hour or more, depending upon how much caffeine you consumed earlier.
- Suppose you can't fall asleep after an hour. In that case, it's best to get up and make yourself a cup of herbal tea like chamomile, which has stress relieving properties, and lavender if that helps calm down anxious thoughts enough for sleepiness signals to come back into play again shortly after that. Try mediation or assistive meditation applications that have calming sounds and techniques you can use to sleep.
- Your bed should be clean before you go to sleep, as sleeping in a clean environment on the right mattress plays a much more important role than anything else. If your sleep environment isn’t on point, the rest of the techniques might not work either. Imagine sleeping in a room that smells and has clothes lying over the bed, except the “cloth chair.”
If you’ve been feeling the effects of stress in your life, it may be time to take a step back and ask yourself what changes can make for less stressful living. Some ways to ease the pressure are by establishing good bedtime habits that help promote better sleep quality. One way is picking up one high-quality mattress that helps relieve strain on joints and pain points, which will also improve how well you sleep at night. We have an extensive collection of mattresses with different styles, features, materials, price ranges - so no matter what your budget or style preferences are we can find something perfect for you! Our SleepID tool can help you choose the best mattress for your bedroom or hospitality establishment.