Sleep and Stress
We’ve all been there. Stressful day equals no sleep that night, maybe for 2 nights but what if it’s ongoing? What if you are so tired it starts to impact on your life or even your safety. You know how they say not to drive under the influence? Well yeah, driving tired has exactly the same effect and research backs it up!
Our lives are inherently stressful. We can’t get rid of all the stress in our lives. Sometimes it’s beyond our control. The focus needs to shift from reducing stress to stress resilience. We need to be able to weather the storm. But first let’s understand how stress and lack of sleep actually drive each other then we can look at how to break the cycle.
One stressful day at work becomes a stressful week, month, year. Family get sick, there’s another lockdown, money is beyond tight, groceries and fuel now take up most of your pay and before you know it you are having one after another sleepless night. That’s our scenario. Most of us can relate! Adrenaline and cortisol are key factors here keeping us in a state of permanent fight or flight. Adrenaline is there when we are doing a presentation, explaining to the boss why you need yet more time off or having a near miss accident on the highway. It’s useful then for sharpening our senses, diverting blood flow to our limbs for a quick get away and making sure we survive but it’s short lived. Cortisol, it’s work horse brother, gets us out of bed in the morning. It gives us that get up and go without so much heart racing activity BUT it still keeps us wired. The idea is it’s high in the morning and drops by evening to let us get a good night’s sleep. That’s the theory.
When you are chronically stressed the body releases more cortisol to keep you going. This releases glucose from the liver so the brain can stay well fed and ensures that any function that threatens your survival is shut down like digestion or say, SLEEP.
As time goes by cortisol levels become dysregulated and they are the same at 7am as they are at 7pm. Not ideal just as you are heading to bed. They may even be lower in the morning. Enter wired and tired who needs coffee to wake up wine to go to sleep.
That lack of sleep can actually cause a level of distress that also raises cortisol, so we end up with one driving the other. And, cause that’s not distressing enough, it starts to affect our absorption of nutrients, so imbalances also start to drive stress and sleep further into the ditch. And so it goes, on and on, unless the stress stops. Haha! It’s 2022! Not bloody likely!
So, lets talk about how to break the cycle and improve our stress resilience by getting some good sleep.
Sleep is essential for life. You literally can’t do without it. And bear in mind there are other reasons like hormones, thyroid issues, mineral imbalances (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis can easily answer that one), anxiety, depression, other mental illness and so on. And just like sleep and cortisol drive each other they can also drive any number of other conditions. They are TERRIBLE drivers! Seriously, the worst.
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Hello, hello! Welcome to my blog. I'm Sarah the creator of Simply Healing.
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