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What to Do When Stress Spills Over Into Sleep

By Sandy Schroeder

Researchers have shown 95 percent of us struggle with stress some of the time. The two biggest triggers are money and our jobs, and the result is lost sleep.

If you can totally relate to the pressure and the lost sleep, WellAndGood.com suggests you take steps to lower stress and get the rest that you need.

When stress goes unchecked, anxiety, weight gain, high blood pressure and insomnia may quickly show up. Long range, heart disease and other serious illnesses can develop.

How Stress Cuts Into Sleep and Energy

Lost sleep is one of the most common negative effects of stress. WellandGood showed recent research with 63 percent saying stress caused trouble sleeping and 79 percent said it made them feel exhausted.

What's Going On

When stress joins you in your bedroom, several negative things happen.

It is hard to turn off your brain - When you are stressed, your brain circles around the issues. By the time you go to bed, you are exhausted, but the minute you start to drift off your brain starts to replay everything that you are worried about.

Deep healing sleep is lost - Stress can make it difficult to achieve the deep REM sleep cycles that refresh the mind and the body. Instead, the body stays on edge, creating restless sleep and a confused morning.

Stress leaves physical tracks - The next time you are stressed, do a body check. Your shoulders may be up around your ears, your pulse may be rapid, and your jaw may be clenched. Physical stress effects are hard on the body and hard on you. If you never wind down, it is hard to keep up at work and at home, and rest well.

How to Wind Down and Rest Well

Make sleep a priority - Make your bedroom a sleep haven with blackout drapes and an air filter to screen noise. Keep the same bedtime every night and shut down laptops, emails and phones at least two hours before bedtime. Avoid alcohol, spicy foods and stimulating programs right before bedtime. Finally, develop a soothing ritual such as a warm bath or soft jazz to help you drift off.

Use reading or journaling - Reading something from your favorite authors or writing down your thoughts can help your mind settle down and regroup, moving you away from the pressures of the day.

See a therapist if you need to - If you have tried everything to manage your stress and rest better, and you are still feeling tense and losing sleep, you may want to talk with your doctor and consider seeing a therapist to work through the issues.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Valencia, Calif.

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