Sleep = Less Stress?

Sleep is known to be regenerative. The time where the body and brain recovers from the stresses and strains of the day, where thoughts and emotions are consolidated and ingrained into the mind. The body regulates hormones, resetting many internal systems in preparation for the next day while you sleep.

Unsurprisingly, insufficient sleep and even poor sleep quality has been linked with a number of chronic diseases. With that in mind, a good night's sleep is perhaps the most beneficial thing you can do to support your mental wellness and overall health, yet it’s so often sacrificed!

In previous posts we spoke about how the foods and fluids you consume can impact your mind and mood, heightening stress as a result of haywire hormones. But little is spoken about the impact of sleep on stress and vice versa. 

A quick glance at the scientific literature in this space also paints a painful picture. Currently, roughly 77% of people experience stress to the extent that physical health is impacted and 73% of people experience stress that impacts their mental health. Mental stress increases the risk of developing hypertension by 2.4x, anxiety increases the incidence of cardiovascular disease by 52% and coronary artery disease by 26%. Anxious individuals unfortunately increase the risk of cardiac death by 48%. 

Research has also shown that sleep deprivation significantly increases cortisol levels, the stress hormone, that can also interfere with sleep, leading to the vicious downward spiral of sleep issues. Interestingly being awake for at least 18-hours is thought to be the same as having a blood alcohol content of 0.05%, with 24-hours being the same as 0.1%.

Another quick glance at the research, shows that adults who sleep less than 8 hours per night, report significantly higher levels of stress than those that sleep 8 hours or more. When adults do not get enough sleep, they report feeling more stressed. Most suggest they would feel much happier, healthier and safer, if they were to sleep an extra 60 to 90-minutes per night. 

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that is also linked with stress. Insomnia is defined as a persistent difficulty with sleeping. Short term insomnia is most certainly associated with sudden stressors such as a work, school or financial related issues. This stress can impact almost all physiological functions, including the cardiovascular system, the gut, muscles, the nervous and respiratory systems. 

Sometimes it can feel like it's impossible to sleep when stressed. That’s why it's so important to prioritise and protect your sleep at all costs. Even if that means managing your social calendar and work schedule, sleep should come first. Building a good, scientifically sound sleep routine is also critically important!

Here are some top tips to sleep well, even when stressed: 

  1. Stick to your sleep schedule: have consistent sleep and wake times and protect them at all costs. 
  2. Curate the optimal sleep environment: a dark, cool room, free from noise, light and other distractions.
  3. Take a bath or hot shower: warming the body and drying naturally around 1-hour before bed will lower body temperature, the circadian sleep signal. 
  4. Avoid electronics: TV’s, smartphones and computers, all emit blue light that can interfere with sleep. So either avoid them and instead read a book, take a bath or relax in conversation, or wear blue light blocking glasses. 
  5. Avoid caffeine: stop drinking caffeinated beverages at least 9-hours before bedtime. That means no tea, coffee, energy drinks or dark chocolate.
  6. Diet and exercise: be active and exercise regularly, earlier in the day if possible. Eat well and avoid processed foods.
  7. Supplement: consider supplementing with L-tryptophan (1000 mg), L-theanine (200 mg) and glycine (3000 mg) or drink chamomile tea prior to sleep.

The B.fresh Sleep Shot contains both L-Tryptophan and Chamomile, so is the perfect addition to your wind down routine to promote deeper sleep, and keep stress at bay!

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