How Stress Affects Your Sleep

Stress affects your ability to initiate and maintain sleep. It can have an adverse effect on your overall mental, physical and psychological health. Stress is the cause insomnia and sleep deprivation which can put you at a greater risk of health problems. Also, people who are sleep deprived are more prone to injuring themselves and others.

Other Sleep Obstacles

Not all sleep problems are directly due to stress. For women, hormonal changes that come with menopause or even natural aging can alter sleep patterns. Also, certain medications can affect sleep. Alcohol, caffeine and other things consumed can affect your sleep. Diseases and disorders such as autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, lower back pain, headaches or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can make sleep difficult. Consult your primary doctor to see if one of these other causes could be affecting your sleep.

Stress and Your Health

Stress can cause other health-related problems including:

  • Jaw and tooth pain due to teeth grinding during sleep
  • Hair changes and hair loss
  • Stomach aches and intestinal problems
  • Acne
  • Recurring illness
  • Depression and anxiety

It’s important to learn how to manage your stress. Here are a few tips that can ease your stress and help you get a good night’s sleep:

  • Assess Your Stress: To get a handle on your stress, you need to figure out what is causing it. Is it physical or psychological? Are you in good physical health or do you suffer from joint or muscular pain? Perhaps your stress is due to work, or you’re dealing with circumstances in your personal life. Whatever the case may be, once you identify your stressors, you can take steps to reduce them.
  • Practice Positive Thought Management: You can learn to change the thought patterns that produce stress. How you think, what you think and what you expect from yourself and others will determine how you manage your stress levels. You may want to consider meditation, reading books or listening to audiobooks or podcasts geared toward positive affirmations, thoughts, and exercises. These practices can greatly improve your psychological well-being.
  • Exercise: When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that will help reduce stress.  Also, flexible, loose muscles are less likely to become tight and painful in response to stress. If you have a medical condition or are over age 50, it’s best to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet: Junk food and refined sugars low in nutritional value and high in calories can leave you feeling out of energy and sluggish. A healthy diet, low in sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, can promote health and reduce stress.

Implementing these steps into a daily routine may reduce your stress and help you to develop better sleep patterns. If you continue to have sleep problems after trying these management tips contact Coastal Virginia Sleep Solutions to schedule a sleep study. Dr. William Harper will work with your physician to obtain results from the sleep study and make a determination on how best to treat your sleep disorder.