The effect of sleep on stress- how sleep reduces stress

Partly due to the way our society’s structured many professionals don’t get enough sleep.

If you spare a cursory glance on Quora (a question and answer site) you’ll read dozens of stories of a doctor’s life.

In most cases, he or she isn’t able to get enough shut-eye. Continuous double shifts are the norm. Sometimes a patient develops additional complexities after a surgery is done and so on and so forth. And so is the case for workers in the IT sector. Professionals in the business world to find themselves in a similar jam.

Others— the low-paying workers take double shifts to sustain their family. Needless to say, across all strata sleep is becoming a rare commodity.

Do you belong to any of these categories and suffer from poor sleep?

We have a solution.

How does sleep help stress?

Our internal way of dealing with stress ties in a lot with sleep. Researchers from USC have discovered that during REM sleep, when memories are forged and dreams occur, memories are reactivated and categorized and connected with the whole. That’s also the stage where stressful memories are forgotten because the brain suppresses hormones associated with stress giving more weight to positive sentiments.

Not sleeping enough can wreck our health. Here are the consequences of the same.

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What happens when you don’t sleep enough?

Sometimes people are clueless about the consequences of not getting enough sleep. Sometimes they know full well what they’re losing but are unable to do anything about it.

When you sleep the hours you’re required to sleep it helps in the optimum functioning of the body. Productivity, memory recall, health, mental condition all are at their peak. When you don’t sleep enough the body suffers as a whole. Decreased productivity and cognitive function affect the work you’re trying so hard to accomplish and nothing actually gets done.

What should you do to get enough sleep?

Exercise is one of the proven ways to help with sleep. When you exercise your body triggers dopamine and serotonin and these are called the happiness hormones. These help with insomnia and counteract the effect of stress and stress generated hormones that block sleep.

The link between sleep and mood

Sleep and mood are interconnected. Poor sleep can contribute to increased irritability or stress. We don’t need any research study to prove that. Waking from a bad night of sleep you wake up irritable, stressed and disoriented.

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Researchers from the Pennsylvania University found that people who got only 4.5 hours of sleep per night every day for a week, reportedly felt more stressed, angry, sad and completely exhausted. When they were back to their normal sleep schedules they felt happier, less stressed and near full energy levels.

Mood and the state of your mind can make it either easy or hard to sleep. If you’re anxious you feel agitated and mentally aroused making sleep hard to come by. Anyone who’s under constant stress is always alert and hence awake.

Sleeping difficulty also signals depression. 15 to 20% diagnosed with insomnia will develop major depression later down the road. It’s also seen that depressed people frequently buck normal sleep patterns.

Chronic insomnia ups the risk of mood disorders like depression.  Those who don’t get enough sleep are prone to obesity, diabetes, and cardiac problems. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, it increases if you don’t sleep enough. If you sleep for 7 hours instead of the recommended 8 you’re more likely to be sick. Lack of sleep makes you lose focus and you’re prone to accidents while driving.

Final words

Now that we have approached the end of the article was I able to change the way you thought about sleep?

The importance of sleep in our lives cannot be understated. It’s essential to healthy functioning and clear thinking.

The relationship between sleep and sleep-related problems is pretty straightforward. If you don’t get enough sleep you’re setting yourself on a path that’s going to make your stress levels high, lower productivity, prevent recall and a slew of such problems.

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Exercise, healthy eating and preventing circumstances which cause to build stress up are all that’s needed to prevent the problems that stress brings in our lives.

Doing these things can give us better sleep and better sleep can prevent a lot of problems.

George Mathew

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