Stress-Sleep Cycle: What You Need To Know And How to Combat It
No matter what kind of job you have, what your home life is like or what kinds of obligations you have, everyone experiences stress from time to time. However, if stress is severe or frequent enough, it can have some major physiological effects, including negative impacts on the quality of your sleep, in what is known as the stress-sleep cycle.
The more stressed you are the less you sleep. The less you sleep, the more stressed you are, and so on in a circular pattern. Falling captive to the stress-sleep cycle can then go on to affect many aspects of your well-being.
Not only does stress make it difficult for you to fall asleep, it can also result in lower quality sleep. In turn, you may find it harder to function during the day, which can take a toll on your focus and productivity and cause even more stress in your life.
Tips for improving your sleep
Stress and poor sleep can become a vicious cycle if you don’t take steps to intervene. The good news is, there are several things that you can do to break this cycle and improve the quality and quantity of your sleep while you lower your stress levels. We have talked about 5 general suggestions for getting better sleep in the past, but here are a few tips to help you break the sleep-stress cycle:
- Prepare for sleep: Having a nighttime ritual gives you the opportunity to prepare your brain for rest. Set aside at least an hour before you plan to go to bed to wind down and relax. Try to keep your nighttime ritual as consistent as possible. A routine before bed will condition your brain to transition into a restful state. Drink a cup of tea, read a book or do some stretches. Try to avoid using any electronic devices with screens and don’t do any major exercises that could get your adrenaline pumping.
- Turn down the lights: Darkness triggers melatonin production in our bodies, so it’s best to turn your lights off when you’re ready to go to bed. It’s also important you keep your bedroom as relaxing as possible and avoid doing anything in your bed that could overstimulate your brain, like watching TV or doing work.
- Use meditation and deep breathing: Deep breathing and meditation can help you relax and put you in a restful mindset. Even a few minutes of mindful breathing and meditation can prepare your brain and body for a restful night of sleep. Deep breathing gives you an opportunity to let go of the stresses of your day and focus on resting and recharging for tomorrow.
- Lay off the caffeine: No matter how much you love coffee, you should never drink caffeine before bed. Caffeine is designed to keep your body and brain awake and alert, so it’s difficult to try to fall asleep after you’ve had caffeinated beverages. You should stop drinking caffeine several hours before you go to bed so that you’re not too alert or jittery when it’s time to go to sleep. As an added benefit, if you get more sleep at night, you might not feel as reliant on caffeinated beverages during the day.
- Avoid eating before bed: Your body has to work hard to digest your food properly, so it can be difficult to fall asleep shortly after eating. Try not to snack between dinner and bedtime and avoid eating large meals right before you go to bed. This gives your body plenty of time to properly digest your food so that you can enjoy more restful sleep.
Try a sleep supplement with CBD, Omega-3, and L-theanine
Some people need a little extra help to reduce stress and prepare their minds for sleep.
- L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea leaves, is an effective natural relaxant that helps your brain prepare for rest.
- The omega-3 helps improve mood while preventing overactive inflammation that can cause paint.
The combination of these ingredients in a quality supplement can improve your ability to sleep and let go of stress significantly.
Everyone is different and you will find your own ways to let go of stress in preparation of sleep. When you find something that works for you, make sure to stay as consistent as possible. Poor sleep and heightened stress magnify each other, but the right approach to sleep and stress relief can make a huge difference. Be patient and try different things until you find the strategies that help you the most.