You’re tucked up in bed and you’re ready to sleep, but your heart is pounding and your mind keeps racing through the day’s events like an out-of-control rollercoaster.
Around a quarter of all adults experience bouts of stress each year and in many cases these pressures will cause them to suffer from insomnia.
Our bodies evolved over thousands of years to release chemicals – cortisol and adrenaline – that increase our heart beats, give us a burst of energy, decrease our sensitivity to pain and improve our memories to help us cope with worrying or threatening situations.
In the short term, this ‘fight or flight’ response will help you deal with a crisis in the workplace or get through a big event in your life, but over a prolonged period this coping mechanism can have a negative impact on your health.
Such physical and mental problems include having difficulty thinking clearly, high blood pressure, increase of fat storage, feelings of agitation and sleepless nights.
Stress can interfere with your body clock by creating a state of hyperarousal that makes it difficult to sleep. The seemingly straightforward solution to stress-induced insomnia is to find the root of the anxiety. Of course, actually doing this can be complicated and may require medical expertise.
However, you can improve your chances of getting a decent night’s sleep during a stressful period in your life by following a few simple steps. Make sure you complete any jobs on your to-do list and give yourself plenty of down time before going to bed; if your mind is rushing through all manner of thoughts, then try concentrating only on your breathing; and make use of all the tips and advice in this Sleep Easy guide.