The average adult requires between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night to feel rested and to experience the positive effects that sleep generally offers.
However, for some, even a few hours a night can be impossible to experience, linked to stress, anxiety and cognitive override. Stress-related insomnia is a thing, it is a difficult experience to progress through and it can result in many physical and psychological health issues.
Yet, the difficulty is, is that stress and sleep are significantly linked, where sleep is necessary to reduce stress levels, and where substantial stress levels, in turn, reduce the capabilities to switch off. This link showcases how turbulent and testing stress-related insomnia can be, reducing the quality of life on a major scale.
If you’re feeling stressed, if you’re lying awake at night, unable to experience a good night’s sleep, if you’re struggling to get outside of your own mind, and if your health is taking a knock, down to a lack of restoring efforts, it’s time to consider professional support.
Here are some sleeping tips when suffering from stress, to alleviate your symptoms and work towards greater resting, relaxing and re-energising results.
The vicious cycle of stress-related insomnia
Lying awake at night is something we all experience at some point in our lives. The tossing and turning, the pleading for a few hours’ sleep and the clock watching can turn painful. For most, down to a lack of sleep, quality sleep will soon follow the next night. However, for those who suffer from stress-related insomnia, that next night will be just as painful to experience.
Without sleep, you’ll likely describe zombie-like traits. You’ll reach for caffeine to energise your body, you’ll maybe even consider harder substances to keep yourself going, and you may even look into sleeping tablets to experience a good night sleep.
While those coping strategies may work for you for the short-term, for the long-term, they are unsustainable and unfeasible, ultimately contributing to an even greater problem.
Low-quality sleep can be the result of a number of different internal and external influences. Yet, in most cases, stress plays an instrumental part in controlling sleep capabilities and quality, making it difficult to switch off or fully immerse into a state of rest.
Down to the impacts that everyday stresses, never mind chronic stress can have on sleeping capabilities, it’s easy to see how a vicious cycle can materialise; where low-quality sleep can influence symptoms of stress, and where stress can influence symptoms of insomnia.
Lying awake at night, longing for a few hours rest is very difficult to experience. Counting sheep, clock watching and overthinking all make those long nights feel even longer.
Now add in the symptoms of stress, where worries over finances, over vulnerabilities, over health and over relationships are all common driving forces.
Combating those thoughts, in tandem with the inability to switch off can result in low quality sleep on a consistent basis, which will have an impact on health, wellbeing and your livelihood.
If you’re struggling to sleep, it’s important that you first understand the essential role that optimal sleeping cycles play, along with how you can reduce your stress to combat the vicious cycle.
Here are some sleeping tips when suffering from stress to try, with the aim to improve the quality and strength of your sleep.
Sleeping tips when suffering from stress
Sleep is a personal experience. It’s where we are at our most vulnerable, where we allow our body and brain to rest, to reach a state of balance and to restore, ready for another new day.
To achieve this, while experiencing stress-related symptoms can be tough, making sleep one of the hardest battles. Through these sleeping tips, aiming for greater rest, along with controlling your stress is the goal, helping you experience a better night sleep, on a consistent basis.
Progressive muscle relaxation
When we’re stressed, our body will hold excessive tension and greater levels of adrenaline. While those feelings may be unknown, our bodies will detect it, making it difficult to switch off.
A commonly recommended stress relief tip is progressive muscle relaxation, which aims to release excessive tension and energy while promoting a state of relaxation.
For example, having a warm bath or meditating before bed can reduce stress levels, while moving the brain from a state of activity into a state of relaxation.
Understanding your stress and its triggers
Without understanding the source of your stress and the triggers that cause it, it can be difficult to fully utilise sleeping tips for coping with stress and anxiety. By getting to the bottom of why you’re feeling stressed, and aiming to overcome those issues, you’ll have a greater chance to unwind and see the necessity of sleep to combat your stressors.
Just before bed, using technological devices is discouraged. Yet, as a nation, we continue to do so, from watching the TV to using our smartphones. Technology in fact stimulates the brain, causing an active response. This will battle against your efforts to switch off, which can in turn promote even greater stimulation.
Unwind before considering sleep
If you struggle with stress-related insomnia, it’s recommended that you unwind before considering the prospect of sleep. Finding a relaxation technique which works perfectly for your lifestyle will be encouraged.
It’s also important to consider your techniques while attempting to sleep. If you lie, counting the hours down, you’ll likely fuel your anxieties. Yet if you attempt to tire yourself out even greater, through reading or going downstairs, you’ll divert your attention from your symptoms of insomnia.
Think about your lifestyle
Your lifestyle can dictate the quality of sleep that you experience. Eating close to bedtime, drinking alcohol, exercising just before bed, and participating in active actions will awaken your body and mind. By changing your lifestyle, nutrition and wellbeing, you’ll have the chance to enter a state of relaxation at a quicker rate, standing as a realistic sleeping tip.
Stress can be difficult to digest. Heightened emotions circulating our mind can be one of the hardest contenders of quality sleep. Journaling can help you transfer those emotions over to paper, can help you rationalise your feelings and can help you plan to tackle those emotions. This is one of the most highly effective sleeping tips when suffering with stress, which allows for your worries to leave your mind and refocus your energy on restoring efforts.
Professional support here at Nova Recovery
Stress is one of the most commonly experienced emotions, reducing the quality and capacity of sleep. Through personal techniques, you may be able to improve the quality of your sleeping habits.
Yet, if you’re still struggling, professional support is available to work through your experiences of stress, symptoms of anxiety and further mental health issues.
Here at Nova Recovery, we can support you through the vicious cycle of stress-related insomnia, helping to improve your quality of life and ability to switch off independently.
Feeling stressed has been normalised, insinuating that it can be dealt with alone. Yet if it’s uncontrollable, impacting your ability to sleep, it’s time to consider the causation of your symptoms. Do so with our guidance, to disable the control of stress.
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