News & Blog

Too Stressed To Sleep?

Nov 1, 2019

Ever felt like everything was getting too much? Work piling on the pressure? Trying to juggle family and work? Health issues? Financial worries?

With so much going on in our lives, it’s little wonder that many of us are suffering from some elements of stress, with many having trouble switching off and getting a good night’s sleep at the end of the day.

To mark Stress Awareness Week (4-8 November) and Stress Awareness Day (6 November), we wanted to highlight how people under considerable stress can have problems sleeping – with difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep. If stress doesn’t alleviate after three months, and sleep is disrupted for three plus nights a week, it can lead to insomnia. Stress causes hyperarousal which can upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness.

A study by the British Acupuncture Council found that over half of the UK residents are more stressed now than 10 years ago and turn to junk food and booze in a bid to feel better – which may initially make you feel good but doesn’t tackle the root of the problem.

Our own research found that 90% admitted to suffering from some form of stress in their lives, with almost two out of five saying they were regularly, frequently or constantly stressed. Not surprisingly three quarters said they have problems sleeping while stressed, with the catch 22 that almost a third said when they can’t sleep they get stressed, while just over a quarter say the best way to relieve stress is to have a good night’s sleep.

Here are some of our top tips for tackling stress and worry:

  • Try to identify the source of your stress so that you can deal with it effectively.
  • The old saying ‘a problem shared, is a problem halved’ may not be such a bad thing! Sharing your problems – whether that’s with family/friends/work or a professional – can help to reduce stress and relieve anxiety.
  • Take control of the situation. If you’re feeling overwhelmed make a list of priorities and manage one thing at a time.
  • Try to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Consistent sleep deprivation leads to lack of concentration, memory loss and alertness as well as a host of other health issues. Don’t forget for restful sleep you need a comfortable, supportive bed. If you’ve had your bed for seven years or more, it may be time to replace it.
  • Seek alternative therapies such as traditional acupuncture to help combat stress.
  • Keep your bedroom as a sanctuary away from the rest of your home and remember to keep it cool, dark and quiet.  Turn off the gadgets (mobiles, iPads, gaming machines etc) in the hours before bed – in particular, don’t check work emails before you attempt to go to sleep.
  • Learn to say no. When you’re overcommitted and under too much stress, you’re more likely to feel run-down and prone to illness/infection.
  • Think positively. When you’re stressed it’s easy to see only the negatives. Try to reverse those thoughts into positive ones.
  • Exercise may not solve problems but it can help put you in the right frame of mind to do so. Physical activity helps to reduce the adrenaline, caused by pressure and anger, by producing ‘good mood’ endorphins. Regular exercise not only helps to reduce stress but it also improves sleep.
  • Learn to relax. Either use relaxation techniques or do something that keeps you calm. This is especially important on the run up to bed time.
  • Identify some activities that you know make you happy. Make a conscious effort to make time for a few each week.