April is Stress Awareness Month. You may be aware of your stress, but do you know how your stress is affecting your sleep?
Did you know that stress can keep you from sleeping, and vice versa? According to the American Psychological Association, adults who sleep fewer than eight hours a night are more likely to report symptoms of stress. A survey by the APA found that 42 percent of adults reported that their sleep quality is fair or poor, and 43 percent reported that stress has caused them to lie awake at night in the past month.
This doesn’t just affect adults. The survey found that more than one-third of teenagers reported that stress caused them to lie awake at night in the past month. Teens reported higher levels of stress during the school year. Many reported feeling sluggish, irritable, and unable to concentrate.
How many nights have you been in bed, unable to sleep, with thoughts racing through your mind? That’s stress. It doesn’t allow you to relax and let your mind drift off. Then, you feel even more stressed because you are unable to fall asleep. This is the sleep-stress cycle. You’re stressed, so you can’t sleep. You can’t sleep, so you’re stressed.
Yet, sleep is necessary to let our brains and bodies recharge. Without it, our health struggles.
But the sleep-stress cycle is difficult to break. So, how do you manage stress to get rest during this vicious cycle? You need to figure out what the stressors are in your life to see how can be managed. Experts suggest practicing relaxation techniques, writing your thoughts on paper, exercise, and spending time with family and friends. You can also track your sleep with Somnology’s products to better understand your sleep patterns. MobileSleepDoc Pro is a free mobile app available in the iTunes store that allows you to track your sleep patterns and takes you through a detailed questionnaire to determine if you may have more severe sleep issues for which you should consult with your doctor or a sleep specialist. The Plex Sleep Scanner will provide users with a detailed sleep analysis based on breathing patterns and movement throughout the night.
If you continue to have stress and sleep issues, consult with your doctor.