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How sleep can reduce stress

Unfortunately, stress is part of life. At some point, everyone experiences stress. Physical, emotional and other types of stress take their toll on our minds and bodies. That’s why sleep is so important. Sleep can help reduce the impacts of stress. Over the next several weeks, I will be going over the ways you can sleep better while stressed.

Sleep Better While Stressed Part 1, woman with sleep mask hugging a pillow

Our bodies use sleep to restore and recover. While we sleep, our bodies carry out important restorative functions. Our brains sort out the events that happened throughout the day. Our bodies repair and restore themselves at the same time. It’s incredible how much our minds and bodies remain active even when we are sleeping.

Those of us with chronic illness tend to be well versed in stress. We also tend to struggle with getting enough restful sleep. It’s a vicious cycle. If we are able to break the cycle with proper sleep, however, we will start to see an improvement in how our stress impacts us.

Stress affects the mind and body

Stress takes its toll on our minds and bodies. It causes the release of cortisol, a powerful hormone that triggers the fight or flight response in our bodies. This hormone can cause overwhelming sensations in the body, raise blood pressure, and cause anxious feelings. Sound sleep helps reduce the levels of cortisol and balance the chemistry in the brain and body. Chronic stress without adequate sleep can raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.

faceless unhappy woman covering face
Photo by Liza Summer on

Stress affects our mood

When we are stressed, we tend to over or under-react. This can lead to an onslaught of problems. Living in a heightened sense of worry or anxiety can result in eating too much or too little, emotional outbursts or withdrawal, or a wide range of other behaviors. After a long day of stress, the best thing to regulate mood swings is a restful night’s sleep.

Stress affects our relationships

Stress changes how we engage with other people. Being worried, anxious, or overwhelmed makes it harder to be present and engage positively with other people. From co-workers to family, stress can fracture relationships if we aren’t careful. Being able to unplug from people and take some time for yourself can help. Sleeping provides a significant amount of time to recharge and get ready to face the world again. Even the act of relaxing in bed prior to sleeping can aid in rebuilding your energy and make it easier to get along with others.

stressed woman sitting in room covering half of her face
Photo by Liza Summer on

Sleep as a remedy for stress

Sleep can be a wonderful remedy for a stressful day. Relaxing in the comfort of your bed and letting go of the worries of the world can give you new perspective, renew your spirit and energy. Sleep can be the escape you need from the pressures going on and give you the uninterrupted time to recover. Making sleep a priority, including naps when necessary, can help your mind and body recover from stress and manage difficult situations easier.

Of course, a lot of this easier said than done. Many of us with chronic illness suffer from painsomnia. Many of us could actually have a low pain day, but that doesn’t help our brains to calm down once we’re in bed. Sleep can help reduce the impacts of stress, but we may need some assistance. If you need some ideas, check out this post on getting a better night’s sleep. If you need some help with managing your stress, try using a planner to keep track of day-to-day tasks.

In the next post, I will be discussing how to use journaling to relieve stress at bed time.

Do you find yourself to be less stressed after a proper night’s rest?

Check out the rest of the Sleep Better While Stressed series:

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The Impacts Of Stress And How Sleep Can Help