Easy Steps to Chronic Insomnia and Stress Treatment
Stress can cause insomnia which leaves you feeling tired throughout the day. You’ll probably be unable to handle your stress effectively. Sort your sleep problems and you deal with your stress better as well.
One of the common symptoms of stress is difficulty sleeping. Insomnia and stress go together.
When your mind is filled with stressful thoughts it is often difficult to relax enough to fall asleep. Or you do eventually nod off but have difficulty staying asleep. Either way, you don’t get enough of the quality rest that your body needs.
A knock-on effect is that you wake up still feeling tired. This in turn will adversely affect your thinking, concentration and memory function, as you will continue to feel fatigued during the day.
When you are experiencing stress it is important that your thinking is clear. You need to be able to manage your stress properly as well as manage your day, but when you are sleep deprived your judgment is impaired.
Normally, the side effects of Insomnia include:
- Decreased mental performance – poor concentration, memory and alertness
- Depression – can be brought on when insomnia becomes chronic
- Fatigue and drowsiness are often accompanied by irritability
- Hallucinations can be experienced in extreme cases
- Headaches can be severe or recurring
- Weight Loss/Gain – because appetite and metabolism are affected
These are what you might expect from common sleep disorders. In addition, chronic stress induced insomnia puts you at an increased risk of:
- Heart attack, heart disease or failure, high blood pressure or stroke
The cortisol (stress hormone) release tends to mess up your digestive system as well. Heightened cortisol levels also interfere with your immune system. This makes you more susceptible to minor infections like cold and flu, and prone to more serious conditions like cancer.
So, being sleep deprived when you are stressed, and increasingly when you have chronic stress, is affecting your long-term health. Insomnia and stress are not a good combination.
Dealing with insomnia and stress problems
If you are having trouble falling asleep, or wake up feeling fatigued then you need to take some basic steps to improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
There is no single solution to sleeplessness but these are some actions that can help you find what works for you.
Clearly you need to deal with whatever it is that triggers your stress – your stressor. Try not to think about it when you go to bed though. Write down whatever it is that is stressing you and come back to it in the morning. Don’t lie awake thinking about it all the time. (Easier said than done, I know). Reduce stress and insomnia becomes less of an issue.
Avoid taking any stimulants before bedtime, like coffee or alcohol or sodas. Some tranquilizers – even antidepressants – can cause sleeplessness.
Remove any signs of work from your bedroom
- Relax in a hot bath or shower before bed.
- Listening to some soft music can help relax you.
- Have a glass of warm milk or a herbal tea before retiring. This can aid sleep.
- Go to bed at the same time each night. Keep your bedroom as a place of relaxation and sleep. Your bed needs to be comfortable, your bedding clean and fresh.
- Avoid watching television or playing computer games immediately before going to bed.
- Do some breathing exercises. Deep breathing for ten minutes can work wonders.
- If all else fails take a supplement like Alteril that contains natural ingredients to calm your mood and aid sleep.
Most cases of insomnia tend to respond well to self-treatment, but if your insomnia and stress does become severe or chronic, then it’s best to consult your medical adviser. Just don’t let stress-related insomnia rule your life.
What I have found to be a useful ploy in combating stressful thoughts, especially when they have become chronic, is to decide on something pleasant and positive to switch your thinking to, once you realise that your thoughts are centered on your stressor.
So, say you are planning a treat for grandchildren, or want to improve your golf swing, you have a great scrapbooking idea, or have memories of a great vacation or music festival, for example……
Every time you are aware that your thoughts are centered on whatever is stressing you, switch your thinking to the pleasant subject.
Chances are that once you make the change you realize a bit later that you are back thinking about the stressful things. No matter. Switch your thinking back to the pleasant subject again. And keep doing it until you can switch off from your stressor. You can use this technique at any time, not just when trying to fall asleep.