Stress Relief – You Need To Sleep on it

Today’s modern world is a high stress environment.  With world news coming at you 24/7, it can be difficult to switch off and relax.  But that is exactly what you must do if you are ever going to reduce your stress levels.

High stress levels lead to difficulty sleeping.  And a lack of sufficient quality sleep causes an increase in the body’s stress levels.  In fact experts believe that around 8 hours quality sleep every night is necessary for adults to function properly.  Anything less than that can lead to chronic stress, and worse.  Stress is thought to be a significant factor in over 60 different medical conditions, including stroke, panic attacks and heart disease.

Sleep allows the body to rest, relax and unwind.  It allows the necessary escape from the body’s stress “fight or flight” response.  It is so important that the body interprets insufficient sleep as extremely stressful.  And if you are stressed, you get fitful, restless sleep.  So if you are not getting enough sleep, you become more and more stressed and when you are stressed you get less quality sleep.  It is a downward spiral! 

Here are five things you can do tonight to help ensure you get a restful night’s sleep:

1.    Read more

Reading is a great way to relax as it makes you slow down the pace of your life, takes your mind off every day things and allows your breathing to deepen.  All of which allows you to release pent up stress and puts you in the right frame of mind to drift gently off to sleep.  And if you are anything like me, you have a stack of books you have always wanted to “read someday”.  Start tonight.  Just think of all those books you’ll get through!

2.    Enjoy A Good Soak In The Bath

At bedtime, nothing beats a relaxing bath for letting the worries of the day float away.  A hot bath raises your core temperature so that when you get out, your core temperature gradually falls again.  And as it falls, you naturally begin to feel drowsy.  So not long after your hot bath, you feel sleepy.  Bliss!

3.    Get Rid Of the T.V

Many people watch TV in their bedrooms these days; and may even fall asleep whilst watching it.  This means their minds never enter a sufficiently stress free and relaxed state for restful sleep.  Take the TV out of the bedroom.  You will find that you are more ready for sleep when you actually do go to bed; you will fall asleep faster and will get more restful sleep as a result. 

4.    Reserve the Bedroom for Sleep and Sex

If you want to sleep better and reduce your stress levels, keep the bedroom space for sleep and sex only.  You will start to feel calmer and more relaxed whenever you enter the bedroom if you do.  Restful sleep will be inevitable.

5.    Stick To A Bedtime

Developing a restful sleeping routine will lower your stress levels and help you sleep more naturally.  Experts believe you need an optimal 8 hours sleep.  So if you need to be up at 7am, then you need to be asleep at 11pm.  This may mean going to bed at 10:30pm.  Stick to your bedtime and rise time every day.  Your body will respond by getting back into a regular sleep pattern, and you will have more restful sleep.

These tips will help significantly reduce your stress levels and will also help you get more sleep.  Give them a go.  You’ll be amazed at the results!

Stress and Cancer

Stress has far reaching effects on your body.  One of those things is that it encourages the release of certain hormones into your bloodstream.  Of these, norepinephrine (adrenaline) seems to have the particularly nasty habit of stimulating tumor cells to do a couple things – break down the tissue surrounding them so they can move about the body more freely, and stimulate the growth of blood vessels that will nourish the tumors.

While studies are still being conducted and new information is emerging regularly, it does seem that stress can indirectly contribute to cancer growth.  

And stress also seems to lessen the beneficial effects of cancer drugs.

Does this mean that every time you have a stressed-out moment you’re elevating your risk for cancer?  No.  It’s not the momentary stresses that cause problems – everyone experiences stress now and then.

However, when stress is ongoing and chronic and when it is becoming an overwhelming part of life, this could be a problem.  Not only does long-term stress increase the chances of cancer cell growth, it increases the chances of a number of health issues.  That’s why we hear so much about reducing stress and relaxing these days.

Stress happens to everyone, young and old, from time to time.  But chronic stress and high stress levels can spell trouble for your health.  In cancer patients, stress can be a bigger problem when the overall stress of the situation along with stress caused by pain, surgery, treatments and the changes that accompany them is factored in.

Take especial good care of yourself when you’re ill.  Stress never helps.  And following a good stress relief program can be even more crucial than ever.