Sleep and Stress: What Is the Connection?
Sleep is one of the most critical aspects of a healthy lifestyle, but not everybody takes it seriously. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans doesn't get enough sleep. Unfortunately, this can lead to many complications, including stress disorders and conditions associated with stress.
However, with the right sleep tips, you can lower stress levels and feel better throughout the day. Let's talk about the connection between sleep and stress.
Health Risks of Stress
A lot of people underestimate the toll that stress takes on our bodies. It's a lot easier to visualize how smoking a pack of cigarettes a day can harm us, as it's a physical toxin that we can see. However, stress flies much further under the radar while still causing plenty of damage.
The truth is that, without realizing it, excess stress can shave years off of our lives. Here are just a few examples of how:
- Weakening our immune systems
- Increasing blood pressure
- Leading to stress-related illnesses
- Worsening or causing mental health conditions
- Increasing risks of heart disease, strokes, obesity, diabetes, and asthma
- Accelerating the onset of Alzheimer's
The list goes on, and these are only a drop in the bucket of what prolonged stress can do to our bodies and minds.
Health Risks of Poor Sleep
Once again, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, obesity, and so many other possible conditions are more likely with inadequate sleep. Our bodies rely heavily on a full night of sleep every night for optimal functioning. For more information, read about the full benefits of sleep, as it's such a vital component of our overall health and wellbeing.
The Connection Between Sleep and Stress
A full night of sleep can help dramatically reduce stress. If you've been to work without enough sleep, you know what it's like to get through the day, and it's a lot more stressful in general. Trying to operate at 100% capacity when your body and mind are nowhere near those levels will lead to excessive levels of stress.
Also, sleep is when our bodies make repairs both physically and mentally. Without it, our cortisol levels (the "stress hormone") are bound to stay elevated throughout the day. If this persists, it could lead to serious long-term conditions.
Not only that, but excess stress can cause a negative feedback loop by hindering your sleep. In that case, finding stress management solutions during the day is critical so you can get the rest you need.
For most adults, we recommend getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night, and more for younger people, especially adolescents. If you find that 8 hours is not enough, prioritize going to bed early and finding a sleep schedule that works for you. Also, it may not be the length that's the issue, you may just need better sleep.
If you have trouble, try to find some sleep tips that work for you. If you want to know how to sleep better, try turning off electronics at night, using a blue light filter on your phone, and getting enough exercise throughout the day!
Get Some Rest
Now that you know the connection between sleep and stress, prioritize getting enough sleep every night. A common misconception is that you can "catch up on sleep", but that's not true. Once it's gone, you can't get it back.
Make it a priority every night and keep reading our latest health and lifestyle tips for more information!