Stress and Sleep â€“ Are you getting enough rest?
Stress is now a recognized ailment in the modern world. You probably know of someone who is considered a “stress ball” or maybe it’s you who is stressed out. People are given time off of work to go out on “stress leave”, something that wasn’t heard of in years gone by. So why is it happening now?
It’s not hard to be stressed in today’s world, we all have deadlines, demands upon us, we lead much busier lives than our forefathers, we have certain standards to uphold, actions to perform each and every day and its relentless. Do you ever feel as though you want to get off the merry go round for a while?
Life’s struggles can sometimes be never ending. Life was much easier in the last century. Our grandparents had the butcher, the baker and the fruit and vegetable man come to their house to sell their wares. They didn’t have the battle of the supermarket to deal with. Times were much simpler on many levels. On the other hand, times were tough also, though stress was never as common as it is now.
Many people are living their lives under stress these days and it’s not a good way to be. It can have dire effects on your life, your health and those close to you. It’s not only a mental condition, it becomes a physical one as it affects every cell in your body.
What is stress and how do you know if you are stressed?
Stress is necessary in small doses and at certain times. It’s in our genetic makeup and it enables us able to fight or take flight if we find ourselves in danger. Our heart begins to pump more rapidly, stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released into the blood system for extra strength and endurance, in case you need to run, fight or perform an action that would require strength.
Stress can save your life, when it is needed.
Once the danger is over, your system should go back to its normal state, however in highly stressed people this is where the danger lies. The stress hormones are continually pumped into the system and the body remains in the fight or flight stress mode, and they are continually causing undue wear and tear to their systems.
Our bodies don’t know if it’s a physical or a psychological threat and it responds accordingly. If you have a very demanding job with a lot of deadlines, this can cause so much stress on your system for hours and hours every day. The trouble is that when you leave work, you need to find ways to de-stress.
A major trauma in one’s life can turn the stress button on constantly. Trying to deal with the load of such an event can make us depressed, tired, cranky and unable to deal with day to day life – we quickly become a ball of stress. Talking to a counselor is the best way to get some of the pent up feelings out to make us start to feel better again and not so angry.
Stress can impact on many areas of our lives. Sleep is interrupted very quickly when you are stressed. If you are not getting enough sleep each night, you will not be able to cope well the following day. Unfortunately this becomes a never ending cycle. You just never seem to catch up. You will feel constantly tired and irritable. Add that to the stress levels you are experiencing daily and you have a recipe for disaster.
Stress can affect so much more than just sleep, you may find yourself suffering from any of the following:
- An elevated heart rate
- Pain – Headaches, backaches,
- Stiffness in the shoulders and neck
- Stomach aches, nausea
- Rapid breathing
- Lowered Libido
The stiffness and pain is associated with constantly being uptight and not being able to relax. Being stressed makes you prone to more illness as your system constantly carries around stress hormones which will erode your immune system over time.
Elevated blood pressure can cause conditions such as heart disease. Your reproductive system can even weaken due to stress.
Psychological symptoms of stress include:
- Feeling cranky and irritable
- Frustration, which leads to loss of temper
- Low self esteem
- Worrying constantly
- Finding it hard to focus
Being highly stressed is not something that you can simply “snap out of” it took time to become that highly stressed and it may take some time coming down, but the good news is that there are many things that you can do and take to help you out.
Firstly you have to be committed, this is not going to be an overnight cure and you have to want to learn to be a calm person. It may take as little as 6 months or if you have had a major trauma it could take years.
Firstly being able to get the rest you need is crucial. Taking a supplement to help you sleep is a great idea and there are plenty available that are completely natural and therefore very safe to take.
Supplements with herbs such as Valerian, skullcap and hops will ease tension and induce sleep. There are many preparations on this website under the “stress and sleep” tab that can help you get a peaceful night’s sleep. It also makes sense to reduce your alcohol intake if you are not sleeping well, as alcohol induces false sleep.
Along with some gentle exercise, taking supplements is a great idea, it will help reduce your stress levels while you deal with the problems at hand, and the great thing is that they are completely safe and non addictive. Perhaps you need a change of lifestyle, job or location.
We only live once, and you owe it to yourself to look after yourself. Look at what is stressing you out and take the necessary steps to eliminate them from your life, or at least reduce them. Life will always throw challenges at you, its unavoidable – you need to be able to handle them and not let them stress you too much or for too long.
You will be so much happier and enjoy life when you can live stress free and deal with the day to day events.