Sleep and Stress…How they relate and how to Ensure a great nights Sleep!!
What is the fastest way to sabotage your capacity to perform and do work? Fall prey to the myth that we can continue to perform on very little sleep. You can go a week without food and primarily just lose weight but give up sleep for even a couple of days and you’ll become completely dysfunctional. Disrupting our normal sleep patterns can cause a lot of havoc to our bodies and minds. Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic says, “sleep is the most underrated health habit. “ and Drs. Stuart Quan and Russell Sanna, from Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine state “Sleep deprivation negatively impacts our mood, our ability to focus and our ability to access higher–level cognitive function…” (2) We are quickly becoming a society that depends too often on caffeine and sugar to fuel our energy throughout the day instead of working on creating healthy sleep habits.
In a strange twist of fate stress is both a cause and condition of lack of sleep. Overusing technology before we go to bed and IN bed, constant states of worry about work, kids and life or the high levels of caffeine and sugar in our body set our body up for chronic states stress even before we try and rest. At the same time Duke University researchers have found poor sleep is associated with high stress levels and a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes. (3)
Here are the 4 stages of sleep;
Research shows that the average sleep cycle takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. The NIH (National Institutes of Health) recommends a minimum of 6 hours with the most effective amount being 7.5 hours per night to not fall into sleep deficit. (4) The first 3 stages set up the body to repair and heal the body from the days work.
Tips For Falling Asleep and A Better Night’s Sleep
- Keep ALL electronics out of the bedroom for at least 1 hour before bed
- Try meditation or mindfulness to help decrease worry and stress (imagine yourself in a place you viscerally remember brings happiness and peace eg. a beach feel the wind on your face, sand between your toes, taste the salty air, hear the ocean waves)
- Envision each area of your body unwinding letting go and relaxing one part at a time start at each toe work your way up
- Reduce caffeine and sugar intake 3-4 hours before going to sleep
- Take a 20 min. nap during the day
- Keep your room dark
- If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep invest in a white noise machine
- 1. Tony Schwartz, CEO The Energy Project, Glei, Belesky Manage Your Day-To-Day 2013, pg 52
- Arianna Huffington, Thrive, 2014, pg74-75
- Sleep Review, The Journal for Sleep Specialists, December 31, 2015
- Gabriella Boston, The Washington Post, February 23, 2016
- Stages of sleep chart, www.findmylifestyle.com, February 21, 2016, science feature