Think about a typical day in your life. How stressful is it?
Whether it’s a daily life event, like trying to get out the door on time or getting a last-minute “quick chat” email from your boss, stressors are everywhere. We encounter stressful situations around the clock, from the constant barrage of bad news on social media to challenges at work and home.
Stress can do more than just derail your day — it can also impact your mood and decrease your sleep quality.
What Happens to Your Body When You Are Stressed?
When you encounter a stressful situation, your body releases epinephrine, which increases the heart rate and activates the sympathetic nervous system. This can cause the adrenal glands in your body to release cortisol, the “fight or flight” stress hormone that keeps you on high alert. REF#1908
It’s a natural process designed to protect you from potential threats, but the cortisol spike can be jarring, especially if you cannot get back to a relaxed place once the trigger is gone.
There are two types of stress: acute and chronic.
Acute stress is a short-term situation that resolves relatively quickly.REF#1908 This could include situations like your dog getting out and running down the block or sleeping through your alarm and missing a meeting.
If you’re regularly exposed to stress and don’t have healthy ways to cope, your cortisol levels may stay out of balance. This occurrence can prevent your body from relaxing and lead to sleep problems.
Chronic stress can cause health problems such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, sleep problems, and other stress-related issues if not properly addressed.REF#1908
What Determines How You React To Stress?
The way a person reacts to a stressful situation is pre-determined by a couple of risk factors. These can include genetics and life experiences.REF#1909
How Genetics Affect Stress
Normally, the genes that are responsible for controlling the stress response keep a person on a steady emotional level. However, overactive or underactive stress responses may come from slight differences in a person’s genes.*
How Life Experiences Affect Stress
A strong emotional response to a situation can sometimes be linked to a traumatic life experience. This can be true for people who have suffered abuse, survived traumatic situations, and experienced or witnessed a violent crime.*
How Does Stress Affect Sleep?
Imagine you’re still feeling angry with your partner after an argument. It’s bedtime, but you can’t get to sleep. You’re tossing and turning and revisiting the conversation, thinking of different outcomes to the conversation.
Sleep feels pretty far away, doesn’t it?
Not only can stress keep you up at night, but the lack of sleep may make you even more stressed the next day.
In a prior study, experts found that 43 percent of adults say stress keeps them up at night and that 21 percent feel more stressed when they don’t get enough sleep.REF#1910
Sleep is specifically connected to various hormonal and metabolic processes in the body.REF#1911 If you’re not able to get a handle on your stress levels, your body may not get enough REM sleep.*
How Can a Lack of Sleep Affect Your Daily Life?
When you don’t get a good night's sleep, it can affect your life in many ways.
Sleep deprivation studies have repeatedly shown a negative impact on the following: REF#1912
- Cognitive performance
- Motor function
- Sleep quality
When a person is stressed or experiencing sleep disturbances, the impact this can have on their mental and physical health can be overwhelming.
How Can You Support Sleep Quality?
Everyone is different when it comes to stress relief and relaxation.
You may find peace in the outdoors, journaling helps you work through your worries, or maybe boxing helps take the edge off. The key to managing stress is finding and sticking with methods that work for you.
Below are some sleep hygiene suggestions that can help support your sleep.REF#1913
Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Being consistent is key. Setting sleep habits like getting up at the same time every day, including weekends, can help put you on the path to a better night’s sleep.
Set a Bedtime
Make sure that you set a bedtime for yourself and stick with it. Make sure you choose a time that allows you to get at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep.
Don’t Go to Bed Unless You Are Tired
Making sure you are actually tired when you go to bed can make all the difference.
If it is getting close to bedtime, but you are still wide awake, then maybe doing some restorative yoga or reading a book can help you unwind.
If you’re having trouble sleeping after 20 minutes of being in bed, then get up. This is when you want to do an activity like reading to help you calm down.
It’s also helpful to avoid blue light when you’re approaching bedtime, as blue light can disrupt your circadian rhythm and affect your sleep quality.REF#1914
Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Having a relaxing routine you do every night before bed can help settle you down, get your body ready for sleep, and support your sleep duration. Try to include some relaxing activities in your bedtime routine. This could include applying your skincare, reading a book, or practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing.
When you keep a consistent routine, you may soon find that your body starts to pick up on when it’s time to go to bed. Your body will start taking those cues and winding down, which may allow you to get a good night's sleep.
Make Your Bedroom Comfortable
Making your bedroom a quiet and relaxing place is crucial. Keep the room cool and limit the amount of light exposure, especially in the evenings.
If you tend to get hungry before bed, make sure to have a light, healthy snack on hand. Avoiding large, heavy meals right before bed can help you sleep more comfortably.
Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption
If you like a midday cup of joe, we have some bad news — it’s also a good idea to avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed.REF#1915 This is because caffeine can stay in your system for hours after you consume it, and alcohol can interfere with your sleep quality. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and avoid consuming alcohol before bed.
Reduce Your Fluid Intake Before Bed
Reducing the amount you drink before bed can also help aid in a better night's sleep.REF#1916
If you avoid drinking too much right before you go to sleep, this can help you sleep through the night without getting up for those annoying bathroom trips.
What Else Can Affect Sleep?
There are several lifestyle factors that can affect a person’s mental health, stress levels, and quality of sleep.REF#1917
Some of these include:
- Diet: whether an individual is eating a healthy, well-balanced diet or not
- Activity level: whether the individual incorporates regular physical activity into their daily life
- Smoking: whether the individual smokes regularly, occasionally, or not at all
- Alcohol and drug use: whether the individual partakes in alcohol consumption and/or uses illicit substances
Additional lifestyle factors that can affect a person’s mental health are:
- Whether or not they live in a safe and relaxing environment
- Whether or not they get the recommended seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night
- Whether or not they lead a stressful lifestyle
- Whether or not they have a healthy support system in their life
What Supplements Can You Use To Support Sleep?
If you’re looking for supplements to support sleep, Gaia Herbs can help.
Continue reading for a few supplements that can help support your body’s natural sleep patterns, help soothe the effects of stress on your body, and help you to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
Gaia Herbs has a melatonin-free sleep aid called Stress Response, which can help you get good, quality sleep each night.*
This supplement, which provides adaptogenic support to help the body cope with stress, includes the following ingredients:
Simply take two capsules in the morning to support a healthy stress response.* This supplement is not meant for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your doctor before adding new supplements to your routine.
When you try Relax Gummies by Gaia Herbs, you can help support feelings of relaxation and aid in maintaining your emotional well-being.*
With a delicious lemon taste and sweetened with real fruit, these gummies have no refined or artificial sugar thanks to apple, blueberry, and lemon oil.
It is recommended that an adult chew three gummies once a day as needed.
Each gummy consists of:
Choosing a Gaia Herbs sleep aid can help maintain your body’s natural sleep patterns and support high-quality sleep. This can help you to wake up refreshed and ready to tackle whatever the day has to throw at you.
If you have trouble sleeping and deal with feelings of overwhelm, then SleepThru, which can help support a good night’s rest even during periods of stress, just might be the right option for you.*
SleepThru consists of the following ingredients:
This sleep aid comes in easy-to-swallow liquid Phyto-Caps and also has a tasty gummy option.
If you are looking for a delicious citrus gummy with adaptogenic support to help maintain your body’s natural sleep cycle, then you may want to try Gaia Herbs Sleep Gummies.*
Adults are recommended to chew two gummies one hour before bed. We recommend taking this supplement every night for one month to give it time to get to work.
Each calming gummy consists of the following ingredients:
The Bottom Line
There are many ways that stress can affect sleep and overall health. Fortunately, making lifestyle changes such as setting up a bedtime routine, limiting caffeine and alcohol before bed, keeping a consistent sleep schedule, and taking sleep-supporting supplements can help you get more high-quality sleep.
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