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Ripple Effect of Stress on Sleep: The Never-ending Struggle

Author: Gud Sleepz Team

Ripple Effect of Stress on Sleep: The Never-ending Struggle

Ripple Effect of Stress on Sleep: The Never-ending Struggle

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax” - Mark Black

One of the famous professor Robert Sapolsky in Standford University has spent most of his living years understanding and studying stress in the outside world. The reason I quote him here is because of the simplistic explanation he gives for the most complex aspect of stress response in humans. 

If you take a look at the statistic, one of the core reasons for many of the existing diseases today has an underlying stress component. You eat sugar to feel better or you drink alcohol to combat negative feelings. It’s all a stress mechanism which underlying explains the most common question, ‘Why we behave the way we do?’

If we know this, we could actually prevent half of the existing illnesses in our families. So, what does Rober Sapolsky say about stress? He says, when there is a imbalance in the body’s homeostasis, we tend to look for safety and balance in any way possible to bring it back to the equilibrium. Let me break it down for you. Evolutionarily we were posed with dangers in the form of war attacks, famine, plaque or physical dangers. Remember the story of your grandfather telling you about various dangers he had to get through to get here. Yes, so naturally your body’s system activates the button for you to respond to those dangers and increase your chances of survival. But overtime, we (the evolved humans) have been equipped to any stimulus as threats even though it is actually not affecting your survival. For eg. Isolation, job loss, conflicts, fear of possible failures etc. This is how stress is at play in our current world. 

Now when this homeostasis gets imbalanced, our body suffers tremendously in terms of lack of sleep or appetite. And sleep being one of the important fuel to get on with day to day activities, it tends to affects your overall well being. 

Signs your Stress is Affecting your Sleep

You worry about your Sleep: 

It’s as basic as it sounds. If you know you aren’t sleeping enough and you are constantly worried about your sleep. You’ve become the victim to the ripple effect of stress and sleep. 

Your Brain is Busy when you hit the bed: 

Do you keep having constant thoughts about the things that happened during the day or tomorrow’s or worry about future or past. Or just these random things that goes in your head? Result: You are consumed by the stress. 

You are waking up often and trouble getting back to sleep: 

Sometimes it could be nightmares or random awakenings due to sleep apnea or just thoughts. It’s a sign of stress. The physical and psychological symptoms indicate signs of stress. 

You are always tired or fatigues despite sleeping enough: 

Sleep is never enough which means your body is unable to handle the physical and psychological stress you are undergoing and unable to revitalise for the next day’s activity. 


Strategies for Stress-free Sleep: 

Now that you know if you are sleep-stressed, it’s time to take action to combat those feelings of helplessness. 

Grounding Techniques: 

It arises from Mindfulness practice of paying attention to the present moment. You basically have to do a small exercise that reminds you that you are actually not in threat. Whenever you are stressed, pay attention to 5 things you see in the environment and say it out loud. For eg. I see a chair, I see a pen, I see a book etc. In the same way, name 4 things you hear, 3 things you can touch and 2 things you can taste. This would immediately calm you down and make you feel present. 

Thought Record: 

Recording your thoughts is the best way to know yourself and the things that you are worrying about. Because most often these thoughts are automatic and tend to turn on the inner alarm of danger without us knowing. So whenever you can, especially before sleep, write down all your thoughts and worries. It kind of displaces things from your mind to your notebook, thereby reducing the burden. 

Seek Professional Help from a Sleep Coach: 

And finally, despite numerous effects we might end up trying the same thing and failing. That’s when you need someone who could help you figure out a plan and attend to the issues that’s impeding your sleep. 

Imagine your sleep as a journey, you may sleep well someday and someday you may be worried. That’s okay. There is always some way you can get through this! 

Sleep Well!

Please Book a Session with sleep coach to know more about your sleep.

Tags: sleep , stress

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