Too Stressed to Sleep? How Stress Affects Sleep & How to Manage it

Are you stressed? Of course you are.

Your job, your family, social media, the traffic-choked daily commute, health concerns and your financial situation can all be sources of daily stress, and that is just to name a few.

However, just because stress is part of your daily life does not mean that you must let it take over your daily life. Dealing with too much stress can seriously impact your daily habits, well-being and functions – and especially your sleep.

April is National Stress Awareness Month and we want to help shed some light on how too much emotional strain can keep you up at night – reducing your productivity and performance the next day. What’s worse, when you’re not sleeping enough and feeling too exhausted to function at your prime, you’re more likely to be even more stressed out.

According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey1, 21% of adults who aren’t getting the sleep they need report feeling more stressed.

Stress can take quite a toll on your overall health and sleep, so it is important to take steps to understand just how it is impacting your shut-eye and learn what you can do easily to manage the excess pressure.

1 https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/sleep

How Stress Affects Your Sleep

If you’re unable to get enough sleep at night, your body responds by boosting your stress hormone levels (mainly cortisol) – resulting in a vicious cycle that exhausts both your body and mind.

The Restless Brain and Circular Thoughts

The Restless Brain and Circular Thoughts

When it is finally time for you to go sleep, have you ever had that feeling of not being able to shut down your brain? If so, you may be too stressed to get the adequate sleep your body needs. Under normal conditions, your body switches your nervous system from active to calm when you fall asleep. However, when you’re struggling with anxiety and stress, your body doesn’t calm your nervous system down and your brain stays in a hyperactive state, oftentimes accompanied by circular, never-ending thoughts.

More Restless Sleep

When you can’t turn your mind off, falling into a satisfying slumber is usually difficult. Stress can make you toss and turn throughout the night – resulting in restless sleep. The US population is already sleeping less than they should be. With added stress, the number of people getting adequate sleep is even lower. If you are spending more time lying awake at night or tossing and turning than you are sleeping, you will quickly find yourself in a relentless cycle of poor sleep night after night.

Reduced Sleep Quality

If you are stressed, the value of your sleep is likely to diminish as well. The APA’s Stress in America survey also found a correlation between stress and the quality of sleep received each night. It was reported that 42% of adults’ sleep quality is classified as fair or poor. In addition, 43% disclosed that in the past month stress caused them to lie awake at night.

Tips to De-Stress and Sleep Better

When you’re feeling too stressed to sleep, it is important to take steps to reduce your anxiety, calm your mind and allow your body to drift into a stress-free slumber.

Determine What’s Stressing You Out

Is it your boss? Your kids? Morning commute road rage? Whatever the source of your stress, you need to work on identifying it. Then you can work on taking the necessary steps to reduce the negative impact it is having on your body and mind.

Assess Your Responsibilities

Have you recently taken on more than you can handle? While you always want to say yes to everything that is thrown your way, taking on too much can easily overload you and quickly stress you out. If you’ve noticed you’re more stressed than normal, you should start with assessing your responsibilities. From there, you can delegate some tasks to your coworkers, friends and family members. The more you can get off your plate, the more soundly you’ll sleep.

Exercise More

There are so many beneficial reasons to exercise. Not only does physical activity make you feel and look good, it can also help reduce your stress levels, so you can sleep better at night. If you decide to give daily physical activity a try to de-stress, don’t exercise within a few hours before bed because it may raise your body temperature and make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.

how exercise improves sleep

Adopt the Sleep Hygiene Cycle™

Since your daily habits play a major role in your sleep quality, it is important to implement healthy routines throughout the day that will help you sleep more soundly at night. With the Sleep Hygiene Cycle™, you can help improve the quality and duration of your sleep in just seven easy steps. Some of those steps include avoiding caffeine and alcohol too close to bedtime, relaxing by reading a book, or taking a melatonin supplement such as REMfresh nightly.

Though stress is normal, the lack of sleep associated with too much mental pressure shouldn’t be. If you are still unable to achieve the adequate sleep you need or fall into REM sleep (phase of sleep characterized by rapid eye movement) when you’re feeling stressed out, REMfresh melatonin may help. This natural sleep supplement can result in you falling asleep faster, staying asleep longer, and waking up feeling refreshed the next morning, all without that drug hangover feeling.