This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation
How does one affect the other?
Stress can impact your life in many ways, including negatively affecting the quality of your sleep. It makes sense: You lie in bed, worrying and feeling anxious, which makes it almost impossible to relax and quiet your mind enough to fall asleep. It’s no wonder people use the phrase “losing sleep over something.”That’s also why people who suffer from chronic stress day in and day out sleep less, have poorer sleep quality, and find it harder to function well during the day.
Unfortunately, this cycle will only continue to get worse: If you don’t sleep enough at night, your body boosts its levels of stress hormones. The brain chemicals connected with deep sleep are the same ones that tell the body to stop the production of stress hormones. As a result, when you don’t sleep well, your body keeps pumping out those hormones The next day, you feel more stressed, the following night you find it harder to fall asleep, and so on. Even worse, stress hormones peak in the afternoon and early evening—just when you should be relaxing and preparing for slumber.
On top of that, the more exhausted you feel, the less you’re able to focus at work and at home, leading to even more stress. You’re also likelier to snap at your friends and family, causing stress over relationships.
More downsides to all this stress? People who have high, prolonged levels of stress have higher risk of heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, stomach issues, and more. They are also more likely to grind or clench their teeth, which can lead to dental problems.
That’s why it’s so important, if you feel overly tense, to try different stress relief methods and to make getting plenty of sleep a high priority. The good news is that there are plenty of simple strategies that you can try tonight!