If you find that you are stressed and not getting enough sleep, you’re not alone. In a national sleep survey, 40 percent of respondents said they aren’t getting the recommended amount of rest.
Many of the stressors we face in modern life, such as traffic jams, difficult co-workers, or relationship conflicts, can trigger a fight-or-flight response, and prolonged exposure to this stress without relaxation can result in shorter sleep duration and poorer quality sleep.
To improve sleep quality and cope with chronic stress, some strategies are more effective than others.
What will I learn in this blog?
• That sleep is very reactive to stress
• Almost everyone can increase the quality and duration of their sleep
• That good quality sleep is essential for a happy, healthy life
• How hypnosis could help you enjoy the benefits of better quality sleep
How does stress affect sleep?
According to The Sleep Foundation (www.sleepfoundation.org), Insomnia is a aommon sleep disorder. Insomnia is defined as persistent difficulty with sleep onset, maintenance, consolidation, or overall quality.
A person may be diagnosed with chronic insomnia if their symptoms occur at least three times per week for at least three months. Persistent stressors can heavily contribute to chronic insomnia.
These stressors may include:
• Problems or dissatisfaction at work
• Divorce and other marital or family difficulties
• The death of a loved one
• Major illness or injury
• Crucial life changes
Not everyone develops chronic insomnia due to constant stress, but those with anxiety disorder are at higher risk of experiencing insomnia symptoms.
Additionally, changes to one’s sleep schedule that occur due to life events or changes can also lead to insomnia. Once chronic insomnia takes hold, people often feel anxious about sleeping and other aspects of their lives. This increases day-today stress, which in turn exacerbates insomnia symptoms.
Other daytime impairments related to insomnia that can bring about or contribute to stress include:
• Feelings of fatigue and malaise
• Difficulty paying attention, concentrating, or accessing memories
• Impaired performance in social, family, professional, or academic settings
• Irritability and mood disturbances
• Hyperactivity, aggression, impulsivity, and other behavioural issues
• Decreased energy and motivation
• Increased risk for errors and accidents
Acute stress may also occur if you’ve made significant changes to your bedroom or sleep area. For example, new parents may experience insomnia symptoms when sharing their bedroom with their baby for the first time, even if the child is not audibly disruptive. Children may also have sleep problems immediately after they begin sharing their room with a sibling. Visiting or moving to a new location can lead to short-term insomnia, as well.
Short-term insomnia symptoms may begin to dissipate once the stressful situation ends and acute stress subsides. However, some people fall into a vicious pattern of sleep loss and daytime anxiety about sleep that eventually snowballs into chronic insomnia.
In addition to insomnia, chronic stress can lead to sleep apnea. This sleep disorder is characterised by a recurring collapse of the upper airway during sleep, which can cause heavy snoring and choking episodes along with excessive daytime sleepiness and other daytime impairments. Hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and other medical conditions that can often be attributed to stress are predisposing factors for sleep apnea. Obesity is also considered a major risk factor. And like insomnia, sleep apnea can exacerbate stress by disrupting your sleep and wearing you down during the day.
How do I get a good sleep routine going?
If you have difficulty falling asleep, a regular bedtime routine will help you wind down and prepare for bed. Here are some great tips from the NHS. (www.nhs.uk)
Few people manage to stick to strict bedtime routines. This is not much of a problem for most people, but for people with insomnia, irregular sleeping hours are unhelpful.
Your routine depends on what works for you, but the most important thing is working out a routine and sticking to it.
Sleep at regular times
First of all, keep regular sleeping hours. This programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine.
Most adults need between 6 and 9 hours of sleep every night. By working out what time you need to wake up, you can set a regular bedtime schedule.
It is also important to try and wake up at the same time every day. While it may seem like a good idea to try to catch up on sleep after a bad night, doing so on a regular basis can also disrupt your sleep routine.
Make sure you wind down
Winding down is a critical stage in preparing for bed. There are lots of ways to relax:
A warm bath (not hot) will help your body reach a temperature that’s ideal for rest writing “to do” lists for the next day can organise your thoughts and clear your mind of any distractions
Relaxation exercises, such as light yoga stretches, help to relax the muscles. Do not exercise vigorously, as it will have the opposite effect
Relaxation CDs work by using a carefully narrated script, gentle hypnotic music and sound effects to relax you
Reading a book or listening to the radio relaxes the mind by distracting it there are a number of apps designed to help with sleep.
Avoid using smartphones, tablets or other electronic devices for an hour or so before you go to bed as the light from the screen on these devices may have a negative effect on sleep.
Does hypnosis for sleep work?
Sleep hypnotherapy works in reducing the stress factors that can disturb sleep, and in enhancing the depth and quality of natural sleep.
If you’d like to find out more about using hypnosis for sleep, take a look at our sleep page: https://thehypnosisclinic.com.sg/services/sleep/
We offer a free consultation, so feel free to come and meet us.
What did I learn here?
That stress can cause sleep disturbances, and sleep hypnotherapy can help to restore a good sleep pattern.
If you’d like to find out more about how hypnosis can help you, have a look at our website. We offer a free initial consultation, either by a Telehealth video link or at our clinic in Novena Medical Centre.
Or you fancy a chat, just give us a call.