Stress Management: I’ll Have Some Sleep with That Part 2

Sleep Beats Stress

Because of the cause-and-effect relationship between stress and sleep, it is imperative that sufficient sleep must be the first consideration in any attempt to manage, mitigate, or prevent stress. By prioritizing and managing sleep, we are better able to manage stress—thereby feeling and performing our best—and are better equipped to handle the inevitable stressors that are part of modern life.

Undoubtedly, workplace stress is a leading cause of insomnia. Considered the most common sleep complaint, insomnia increases stress hormones, so it should come as no surprise that adults who sleep fewer than eight hours a night are also more likely to report the symptoms of stress. Not all insomnia is caused by workplace stress, but when stress affects our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, it is essential that good sleep habits are employed—including relaxation techniques, winding down, and not staying in bed when sleep is elusive. More important, insomnia—or any sleep problem for that matter—should never be ignored because persistent sleep problems are linked to serious health problems. Seeking treatment from a sleep specialist for problematic sleep issues is essential to maintain overall health and well-being.

Stress Management

Using both sleep management and stress management techniques and strategies is a synergistic and effective approach to breaking the sleep/stress cycle:

  • Take naps. Research has shown that napping has both stress-relieving and immune-enhancing effects.
  • Make healthy food choices. Sufficient sleep will help you do this, which will help you feel better and less stressed.
  • Get daily exercise. Exercise reduces anxiety and helps you sleep while sufficient sleep makes it more likely to exercise.
  • Practice yoga and meditation to enhance relaxation and sleep while lowering stress.
  • Disengage from work when away from work. Limit work-related emails, texts, and phone calls. Power down one hour prior to bedtime.
  • Don’t make a habit of working overtime. You will work smarter, not harder, with sufficient sleep.
  • Be a list maker. Write a to-do list, a worry list, and a “what I’m grateful for” list well before bedtime.
  • Engage in a relaxing and consistent bedtime ritual, including warm baths, aromatherapy, and soft music to counter nighttime stress.
  • Ensure a quiet sleep environment. Noise is stressful and disrupts sleep.
  • Turn your bedroom into a relaxing sleep sanctuary. Invest in a comfortable mattress and a serene, clutter-free décor.
  • Turn the clock face away from you at night. Watching it will only increase your anxiety and disrupt your sleep.
  • Realize that waking up in the middle of the night is common. You’re more likely to return to sleep if the room is dark and quiet.
  • Avoid harried wake-up routines and harried mornings. Engage in a pleasurable morning routine to make waking up more relaxing.
  • Ensure that your employer or employee assistance program is “sleep aware.” Insufficient sleep and poor sleep habits represent significant workplace health, productivity, liability, and cost issues.
  • Work schedules should support sufficient sleep times. Telecommuting, staggered schedules, sanctioned workplace napping and flex times may be viable, sleep-friendly options.
  • Effective treatment for insomnia is available. Research has demonstrated that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT-I) is an effective treatment for insomnia.

 And the Winner Is … Sleep

 The key to stress reduction in the workplace is to prevent it, or at least mitigate it, whenever possible—and this can be accomplished through sufficient sleep. The dual approach of taking control of sleep and stress will go a long way in stress prevention and improved sleep quality.

The fact is this: sleep is foundational, and as such, it’s imperative that we put sufficient sleep in first place in our efforts to reduce and manage workplace stress. Making sufficient sleep a personal, family, and corporate value may just be the stress reliever we have all been looking for.

 

Blogger: Terry Cralle

Sleep Health and Wellness Professional / BSC Spokesperson Terry Cralle, RN, MS

Sleep Health and Wellness Professional / BSC Spokesperson
Terry Cralle, RN, MS

 

Comments

  1. Getting plenty of rest has always been a key for me and my stress relief. I always recommend at least 6-8 hours of sleep for optimal stress levels.

    I’m giving away tons of free tips for stress relief at my website: http://stressmanagementhints.com

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