Monday, 11 May 2020

Getting quality Sleep when Stressed


GETTING QUALITY SLEEP WHEN STRESSED

By Elizabeth Scott, MS
Updated October 30, 2019
Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD on February 21, 2017

Sleep is an important resource that keeps you healthy, mentally sharp, and able to cope with stress more effectively, among other things. Unfortunately, stressed and busy people tend to get less sleep than they need. According to a poll on this site, roughly 50% of readers like you are missing enough sleep to triple their risk of a car accident. Learn some of the reasons why stress and sleep deprivation seem to go together, and important techniques for getting the sleep you need.

Factors That Contribute to Lack of Sleep
The following are all common factors that contribute to lack of sleep:
  • Overthinking: Many people take their work home with them, either physically or metaphorically. And it makes sense: with today’s demanding workloads, it’s often difficult to come home from a day of troubleshooting and automatically stop thinking about all the, well, trouble. Stay-at-home parents and students can experience this as well. If you find yourself still trying to solve problems at the end of the day, and the thoughts won’t seem to leave your mind, this can make sleep come much more difficult. It can even disrupt your sleep in the middle of the night as you transition between sleep stages.
  • Caffeine: People under stress tend to consume significant amounts of caffeine to get a boost that gets them going in the morning or helps them make it through the day. Caffeine can actually exacerbate stress levels and significantly affect the amount and quality of sleep you get.
  • Cortisol: This stress hormone is one of the key players responsible for the fight or flight response—that jolt of energy you get when you feel stressed or threatened that enables you to respond. Unfortunately, chronic stress can lead to excessive levels of cortisol, and this can disrupt healthy sleep patterns.
  • Over scheduling: A hectic, busy life can rob you of time you can actually dedicate to sleep. If you find yourself pushing your bed time back further and further to get things done, or getting up earlier and earlier in the name of productivity, you may feel tired a lot of the time but not realize the toll lack of sleep is taking.
  • Anxiety: Like overthinking, anxiety can make sleep difficult and wake you up at night. Anxiety keeps your mind busy as you imagine threatening scenarios and worry about what may happen next. You may become preoccupied with finding solutions. That racing of your mind can rob you of sleep by keeping your cortisol levels high, making sleep harder to achieve.
How to Get the Sleep You Need
Try these tips if you find yourself regularly short on sleep:
  • Maintain Healthy Nighttime Habits: Keeping regular sleep-promoting nighttime habits can go a long way toward helping you consistently get more high-quality sleep. Here are some sleep-doctor-recommended strategies for promoting sleep by maintaining the right habits.
  • Release Your Stress: One great way to purge your body of stress so your mind can relax is to learn progressive muscle relaxation and deep muscle relaxation techniques. Meditation is also a proven tool to relax your body and quiet your mind; it can easily transition you into sleep. Here is how to get started with meditation.
  • Have Sex: A favourite way for many people to relax before bed—one you may have already thought of—is sexual activity. Sex with a loving partner (or solo) can give you a dose of relaxing hormones and provide several other stress management benefits. Unfortunately, many people find that stress zaps their sex drive. Here are some tips on getting in the mood when stressed.
When All Else Fails—Nap
If you've done everything you can and you're exhausted anyway, don’t underestimate the value of the power nap. It's not recommended to take naps if you're having difficulty sleeping because it may decrease your nighttime sleepiness. However, if the problem is not that you can't fall asleep but that you don't have enough time to sleep because you are too busy, fitting some nap time into your day can really help. Napping can increase your productivity and give you a valuable dose of sleep when you need it. And when you're well-rested, you can be less reactive toward stress.

Disclaimer:
The content of this blog is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any question you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Opt4health does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physician, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Opt4health blog. Reliance on any information provided by Opt4health, Opt4health employees, other contributors appearing on the blog at the invitation of Opt4health, or other visitors to the blog is solely at your own risk.

Opt4health:
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Monday, 4 May 2020


COPING SKILLS FOR STRESSED OUT SOUTH AFRICANS
Source Owner: 1Life Insurance Blog, Posted May 27, 2019

It’s no secret that South Africans are stressed! Try these practical methods of de-stressing.
South Africans are stressed out. Not only because of political and economic uncertainty, crime and corruption, financial pressures and high levels of unemployment, but day-to-day stressors like load shedding, single parenting and traffic congestion.
In a survey by the global market research and consulting firm Ipsos, titled ‘What worries the world’, conducted in 2018, results show that aside from these stressors, South Africans are also saddled with worry about education, healthcare, taxes, inflation, and moral decline.
Stress over a long period also wreaks havoc with your mind and body, because it activates your body’s fight-or-flight response, which in turn prompts your adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. When this fight-or-flight reaction stays ‘turned on’, the long-term overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body's processes, leading to anything from anxiety and depression to digestive problems, headaches, weight gain and even heart disease.

People are ‘trained’ by society (school, parents) to ‘keep anger in’
Unfortunately, a lot of us have no idea how to deal with stress, with a result that anger, and frustration levels rise, and we become physically ill. “People are ‘trained’ by society (school, parents) to ‘keep anger in’. Over time, stress can lead to physical illness, e.g. endometriosis, ulcers, spastic colons, or depression, or explosive outbursts of anger when stress levels build too much,” says Johannesburg clinical psychologist, Colinda Linde. “It’s also common for people to lapse into unhealthy ways of managing stress, she says, like alcohol, drugging or taking it out on the family.”
How to deal with stress: Here are some suggestions from Dr. Louis E. Kopolow on how to deal with stress.
Take care of yourself
Get enough rest and eat well. If you are irritable and tense from lack of sleep or if you are not eating correctly, you will have less ability to deal with stressful situations. If stress repeatedly keeps you from sleeping, ask your doctor for help.
Try physical activity
When you’re nervous, angry or upset, release the pressure through exercise or physical activity. Running, walking, playing tennis or gardening are just some of the activities you might try. Physical exercise will relieve that ‘uptight’ feeling, relax you, and turn frowns into smiles. Remember, your body and your mind work together.
Share your stress
It helps to talk to someone about your concerns or worries. Perhaps a friend, family member, teacher, or counselor can help you see your problem in a different light. If you feel your problem is serious, you might seek help from a professional psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional. Knowing when to ask for help may avoid more serious problems later.
Know your limits
If a problem is beyond your control and cannot be changed at the moment, don’t fight the situation. Learn to accept what is - for now - until such time when you can change it.
Make time for fun
Schedule time for both: work and recreation. Play can be just as important to your well-being as work; you need a break from your daily routine to just relax and have fun.
Get involved
One way to keep you from getting bored, sad and lonely is to go where it’s all happening. Sitting alone can make you feel frustrated. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, get involved and become a participant. Offer your services in neighbourhood or volunteer organisations. Help yourself by helping other people. Get involved in the world and other people, and you will find they are attracted to you. You will be on your way to finding new friends and enjoying new activities.
Check off your tasks
Trying to take care of everything at once can seem overwhelming, and, as a result, you may not accomplish anything. Instead, make a list of what tasks you have to do, then do them one at a time. Give priority to the most important ones and do them first and check off each task as it is completed.
Avoid conflict
Do you get upset easily, particularly when things aren’t going your way? Try cooperation instead of confrontation. A little give and take on both sides will reduce the stress of being at loggerheads with someone and make you both feel more comfortable.
It’s OK to cry
A good cry can be a healthy way to bring relief to your anxiety, and it may even prevent a headache or other physical consequence. Take some deep breaths; they also release tension.
Create a quiet scene
You can’t always run away, but you can change your scene. A quiet country scene painted mentally, or canvas, can take you out of the turmoil of a stressful situation. Change the scene by reading a book or playing beautiful music to create a sense of peace or tranquillity.
Avoid self-medication
Although you can use prescription or over-the-counter medications to relieve stress temporarily, they do not remove the conditions that caused the stress in the first place. Pharmaceuticals should only be taken on the advice of your doctor.
The bottom line
Ultimately, controlling stress is about being practical in dealing with the sources of your stress, says Colinda Linde. “Separate what you can control, such as your reactions to a situation, from what is uncontrollable and which only wastes your time and energy,” she advises.

Disclaimer:
The content of this blog is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any question you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Opt4health does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physician, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Opt4health blog. Reliance on any information provided by Opt4health, Opt4health employees, other contributors appearing on the blog at the invitation of Opt4health, or other visitors to the blog is solely at your own risk.

Opt4health:
Cell: +27823716364
Website: http://opt4health.co.za            
Face Book: https://facebook.com/optforhealth/
Linked In: https://linkedin.com/in/aubrey-huntly-89025a1/