Stress and insomnia: a significant connection

Like caffeine and alcohol, stress can and will disrupt sleep.  Experiencing unremitting stress, sometimes throughout the day and well into the night, has a big negative impact on overall health, including sleep.

Stress is both a psychological and a physiological reaction to various events and changes in life.  Stress can be positive or it can be negative, but stress is always with us in some form, as an unavoidable, necessary, and integral part of everyday life.

We encounter all sorts of normal but stressful events just going about our ordinary day-to-day activities.  Stress can result from our daily commute to work, family communication, money, issues with social acceptance, taking a test, decision making, and the ubiquitous stress of too little time to get everything done in a day.

All these factors and more combine to make stress a common culprit that contributes to insomnia, or at least makes it more difficult for many of us to fall asleep and stay asleep.  The effects are so pervasive and so common that you may be chronically stressed right now and not even realize it.

In fact, if you are having trouble sleeping there’s a very good chance of it.

Physiologically, the body responds to stress by producing cortisol, sometimes called the stress hormone.  Although cortisol builds up largely during stressful events experienced during waking hours, after a stressful day it is still present at increased levels in our bodies hours later at night.  This can and does affect sleep by keeping us keyed up and less able to relax.

So understanding and dealing with stress in a proactive and positive way will be of great help in reducing cortisol levels and strengthening your inherent ability to sleep well.

Even though we can’t stop stress or the events that cause stress, we can take specific and deliberate steps to control it.  In so doing, we contribute greatly to better sleeping.

These steps include such simple but powerful actions as learning how to take deep, diaphragmatic breaths.  They include learning how to identify and release stressful thoughts.  There are a number of simple cognitive and behavioral tools you can learn which effectively turn d0wn the dial on stress.

A good cognitive-behavioral based sleep training program like the Sleep Training System includes an effective stress management component, in addition to many other powerful ways to help improve sleep.  By learning and using stress reduction tools, you can significantly improve your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

Explore posts in the same categories: Health, Insomnia, sleep

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2 Comments on “Stress and insomnia: a significant connection”

  1. […] Stress management and controlling anxiety are also keys to good sleep.  One of the very best ways to deal proactively with these mental processes is through cognitive behavioral therapy applied specifically to insomnia.  CBT-I has been repeatedly proven to be very effective for most people.  If you are having trouble sleeping, know that with CBT-I you have a good alternative besides drugs that unnaturally force sleep. […]

  2. […] purpose if they are keeping you up.  By learning to release the negative thoughts, you are then attacking the stress response at it’s […]

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