Stress and sleep are closely linked. In fact, it is easy to get caught in a negative stress-sleep loop where it is hard to tell which is the leading issue and leaving you both exhausted and more stressed, thinking ‘What the heck is causing what?!?’
Stress often impacts sleep quality and sleep hygiene. While lack of sleep can also increase stress levels and negatively affect cortisol levels (your stress hormone). Additionally, a lack of proper circadian rhythms and sleep can throw other hormone’s out of balance as well further impacting numerous areas of health including thyroid function, reproductive cycles and fertility, liver, gut, brain and more!
High levels of both stress and also poor-quality sleep have hugely negative impacts on physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual health and wellness.
‘Experts recommend that people aim for 7–9 hours of sleep a night, depending on their age and other factors. Adults need 7 or more hours of sleep per night for the best health and wellbeing. Adults who were short sleepers (less than 7 hours of sleep per 24-hour period) were more likely to report being obese, physically inactive, and current smokers compared to people who got enough sleep (7 or more hours per 24-hour period)’ – https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/data_statistics.html
Prolonged stress levels have been associated with HPA access hyperactivity, decreased sleep duration, as well as reduced REM sleep. This can lead to poorer quality sleep, impaired memory, poorer mood regulation, which can, in turn, lead to more stress. As you can see it is a vicious cycle.
Five tips for increasing balance in the stress-sleep connection:
- Cut out screen time 90 minutes prior to bedtime. Most of our electronics emit blue light. Blue light is great during the day because it can boost attention but at night it can keep us up and make it harder to fall asleep.
- Practice mindfulness, breathing exercises, guided visualizations, prayer, and/or meditation at the end of your day to release pent up stress and negativity from your day. All of these are great activities to address both physical and mental stress to get your whole body ready for sleep.
- Try sleep support through essential oils like lavender and supplements like our Sleep Master. Several studies have shown that using lavender oil for aromatherapy can improve sleep quality. Herbs like linden flower, chamomile and valerian root have been used for centuries for reducing stress and promotion of sleep.
- Try to establish and stick to a sleep schedule. Sleep schedules maintain the timing of the body internal clock. Even small changes can make a huge difference in your circadian rhythm.
- Avoid eating heavy meals, sugar, and processed foods late in the day. As well as try to avoid eating 2 ½-3 ½ hours prior to going to sleep. Big heavy meals although make you initially sleepy can interfere with a good night’s sleep. It prolongs digestions making our body focus on digestion while at sleep vs repairing itself.