Break Free From the Stressed-Out, Not-Sleeping Cycle

How to break free from the stress no sleep cycleStress can really do a number on all sorts of things: your immune system, your weight and even your sleep. Think about how impossible it is to wind down and relax in the evening when all you’re thinking about is work deadlines, your to-do list or that fight you got in with your sister. All that stress makes you toss and turn instead of getting a good night of rest. That might be one of the reasons why around 11 percent of Michiganders report they regularly get insufficient sleep.

And making matter worse is that the less sleep you get, the higher your chances are of feeling stressed out the next day. When you sleep deeply, your brain gets a signal to stop producing stress hormones. As a result, you wake up with much lower levels than you had when you went to bed. But if you never hit that deep stage of sleep, your levels stay elevated. So basically being stressed keeps you up, but staying awake leads to more stress. It can turn into vicious cycle that leaves you frazzled and exhausted.

So how do you break free? Try a two-pronged attack. First work on reducing your stress. Get support from friends and family, exercise, delegate tasks to other people—whatever you have to do! At the same time, come up with a pre-bed relaxation ritual, maybe by taking a warm bath or stretching. You can also take some time earlier in the evening and jot down whatever is worrying you on a piece of paper. That way when you’re about to fall asleep and your mind jumps to those topics, you can assure yourself you have them written down and will deal with them tomorrow.


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Photo credit: net_efekt

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  1. Lately, I just can’t sleep. I just lay there. I don’t toss and turn alot….just pretty much lay there and watch the clock. No matter what time I go to bed I don’t get to sleep until wee hours (4-5). I get up at 6 to let grandson in, lay back down, take him to school at 7:30 and usually lay back down for 8-9:30. I do sometimes sleep then. My boyfriend says I need more fresh air and to work outside. I am sure that would help but I have never been much of an outside person. I am also dealing with depression and anxiety.

  2. READ at bedtime. Shake all that other stuff out of your head. Reread things you have really enjoyed, even if you know whodunit. Enjoy the author’s craft, eh?

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