What to Add to Reduce Stress: Sleep

Our world is moving faster and faster every day. With it, our stress levels have gone through the roof!

Research has shown that a typical college student feels enough stress and anxiety that would have placed them in an institution in the 70s! Think about that! Then think about how many of us wish for the “easier” times that we had back in college!

After college, we fall into the never ending trap of adding more to your day or more to your plate!

In this series, we are talking about what you can ADD to your daily routine to decrease your stress levels and improve your health, well-being and general enjoyment of life!

Today, we are talking about sleep! Sleep is the number one thing that you can add to your day that will help you to decrease stress and improve the way you feel as well as your physiological markers! That’s right, more sleep, will allow you feel better, but also actually improve your health!

How does that work?!?!

Sleep is when your body recovers!

All day long, you are subjecting your brain and body to constant stress and stimuli. As we have added more to our day, the barrage is heavier… Your body breaks down with exercise (we should still exercise!)…poor food choices and environmental stresses. With ALL of these things, your stress hormone, cortisol, is increased. Now cortisol is a good hormone and helps you in many ways, but chronic exposure to this hormone will cause your body to break down.

Elevated and prolonged cortisol levels cause:

  1. weight gain
  2. a flushed and round face
  3. high blood pressure
  4. osteoporosis
  5. skin changes (bruises and purple stretch marks)
  6. muscle weakness
  7. mood swings, which show as anxiety, depression or irritability
  8. increased thirst and frequency of urination.

However, sleep is when your body can recover. Sleep is when your body can reduce the amount of cortisol in your blood stream to help you to feel better. Sleep is when your brain can rest! All of these factors are vital in your overall health, as well as feelings of stress!

In general, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep, every night! Period!

You are not an exception, you are the rule! Some people need even more than this and they should strive for that!

For you to be able to get this type of rest, you HAVE to prioritize it! That means that NOTHING gets in the way of your sleep and bedtime routine. Although this is usually the first thing to suffer, you should strive to make sure that you get adequate sleep.

To ensure you get adequate sleep:

  1. Set a time (and keep it) to start your bedtime routine
  2. Avoid taking substances that will keep you up before bed (caffeine and sugar)
  3. Avoid screens for 2 hours prior to bed
  4. Set a good temperature for sleeping 65-70 degree Farenheit is usually recommended
  5. Ensure an environment where few sleep interruptions are present

By doing this, you can help to decrease your stress levels and live a healthier and happier life!

There are many more ways to decrease your stress that we will be talking about as we continue this series. If you feel that you need more help with your daily routine and decreasing your stress, we want to help! Click the button and let us help you!