Sleep & Stress
There are few things present in our lives that will do more to rob us of energy, emotional well-being, health and just plain feeling good than stress and lack of quality sleep. These two things often go hand in hand and, especially coupled with poor food and drink choices, can lead to a vicious cycle of worse and less sleep and more stress. The physical, emotional and psychological toll this can take is staggering.
Life can be a stress filled undertaking; kids, jobs, money, relationships, illnesses…can all be causes for great stress. As humans with our big brains filled with things like ego and ideas of self and self-preservation mechanisms, we also tend to cause ourselves great amounts of stress just by our thought processes, judgements and preconceived ideas. How many times have you made an assumption that causes you to become angry or scared only to find out later that your assumption wasn’t correct? Think about it for a minute. We all do it, at least occasionally.
How’s your sleep? Do you get 8 hours or so every night? How do you feel in the mornings? How do you feel right now?
Sleep is one of the most underrated things that can have far reaching, long-term, deleterious effects on our health, energy and even longevity.
The problem is that I would bet most folks think they are getting plenty of sleep. The problem is, it’s not about the number of hours you spend with your head on the pillow, eyes closed. It’s not about quantity, it’s ALL about quality.
Any idea how much deep sleep you get every night? How much REM? How many times you are disturbed but don’t come completely out of sleep? If you’re like most folks you have no idea. This is crux. Even if we can pry ourselves away from our screens and get ourselves into bed, many (most) of us are getting very poor sleep indeed.
Deep and REM sleep are both extremely important for various critical bodily functions. During deep sleep our bodies activate repair, growth, cellular turnover, immune function and energy building processes. Reapairative processes happen during REM sleep as well but this is also when nuerogenisis (nerve growth) happens, neural connections are made and memories are consolidated.
There is a vast array of things that can effect our sleep…and that’s the good news. Most of these things we have control over (or can gain control over) and can change or modify to increase our sleep quality. (Check out my free Ebook offered on this site for some ideas)
Stress is similar…there are many things that can cause and contribute to it, most of which we have some degree of control over and can choose to change. Since our mind is involved with things like thoughts, emotions, judgements, etc….things that may be quite automatic, easing stress can be slightly trickier.
There are lots of things we can do though that are free, cheap or nearly so, that will go a long way towards alleviating much of our stress:
- outdoor walks
- hot baths
- practicing non-judgement
….these are all things that, when done regularly and consistently, will go a long ways towards relieving stress.
Stress and lack of quality sleep have far ranging implications for our health both short and long-term. They actually cause physiological, biochemical and in some cases psychological changes in our bodies that can leave us sick, tired, run down, frustrated, moody and unable to be the people we want to be and do the things we want to do in life.
The good news is that, to a large extent, the most helpful things and efficacious things we can do to help us deal with stressful periods are free, relatively easy and quick to implement.
If these are things you could use some support with, let’s chat and see if we can come up with some ideas that may help.