Stress Keeping You Awake?
Stressed All Day Because You Can’t Sleep at Night?
Stress keeping you awake at night? If so, you are undoubtedly feeling stressed during the day due to lack of sleep! You will certainly feel tired and lack the energy you need for your daily activities. Depending on your “stress type”, you may feel irritable, have difficulty concentrating, feel depressed, doze off at the wrong times, or simply feel lousy.
You may start to rely on stimulants, like caffeine, to keep you going, but using these will make it even harder to sleep at night. You may need to nap, which most sleep experts say interferes with the ability to sleep at night. Getting through the day without adequate sleep is a challenge!
Soon you start saying “I’ve got to get some sleep!” Next thing you know you’re in bed doing your best to fall asleep and losing the battle because you are so stressed out. The harder you try to fall asleep, the more awake you become! How can you break this vicious stress/can’t sleep cycle?
On our Bedtime Tips and Lifestyle Tips pages, we give you some helpful tips on sleep. Putting these into action requires motivation, so we’ll start by looking at why it is so important to have a good night’s sleep (and even dangerous not to).
Why it is so important to get a good night’s sleep
So we’ll start with motivation first by looking at why is it so important to get a good night’s sleep (and even dangerous not to). The National Sleep Foundation slogan “Sleep Well Tonight for a Better Tomorrow!” could well read “Sleep Well Tonight to Have Many Tomorrows”! The benefits of good sleep to health are numerous. What’s more, lack of sleep can be fatal!
Lack of sleep can be dangerous!
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are caused by drowsy drivers each year. According to NSF’s 2002 Sleep in America poll, 51% of Americans said they drove while feeling drowsy in the past year; 17% said they actually dozed off behind the wheel. Lack of sleep has been blamed for all sorts of accidents and mistakes, but we don’t want you to get a lack of sleep worrying about all this! We’d rather encourage you with a little positive motivation – the rewards of a good night’s sleep.
Remember how you felt the last time you slept well.
Try to remember how you felt the last time you had a good night’s sleep and felt well rested. Maybe it took a whole week off (of relaxing, not “power vacationing”) to get rested, but hopefully you can at least remember a time when you were completely rested. Sometimes it’s not until you have a really good night’s sleep or relaxing vacation that you appreciate what a huge difference adequate rest makes to your well-being. Not only do you feel better, but you are more creative and productive during the day.
The tips we provide are especially useful for stress-related insomnia. If these tips don’t help, you’ll need to look further. Some sleep problems, especially those which are long term and severe, may indicate an underlying health condition or a number of specific “sleep disorders” which are treatable. Therefore, it is important to check with your health care provider if this is the case. No matter what your situation, it can be helped!
Relief from Stress Related Insomnia
Let’s look at what makes it so hard to fall asleep when we are stressed. When we go to bed, we may be anxious or worried, affected by some intense emotion, such as grief, or we may even be excited about a positive event. All of these, and a host of other responses to stress, can keep us awake. The stress may come from external sources, such as unexpected events and challenging responsibilities, as well as our own ways of coping (or not coping) with stressors. For example, some of us are quite expert at pressuring ourselves to meet our own overly high expectations. Regardless of what is keeping us awake, we are basically on “stress overload”.
What happens when we are “overloaded”? Our mind and body have to work overtime to cope with all the stress. We go to bed at night with the mind and emotions still very active. The body and mind are, we could say, “unwinding” from the day, and this unwinding produces a kind of activity that keeps us alert. We have not taken off our “problem solving hat” and put on our sleep cap!
Falling asleep is like shifting gears. It involves a whole different style of functioning than the focused state of attention we have during the day. It requires relaxation, and a kind of “letting go”. An active mind at bedtime is not conducive to falling asleep. We need to be able to turn off our minds and “de-focus”.
There are many things we can do to overcome stress-related sleep problems. Relaxation is one of the most important antidotes to stress and insomnia, but “just relax” is easier said than done. On the following web pages we offer tips for relaxing at bedtime, as well as tips for lifestyle changes that you may need to make to support good sleep: