If you are chronically stressed you likely have or have had symptoms of depression/anxiety and you probably have difficulty sleeping.
The two just seem to cluster together.
Endorphins, and neurotransmitters in the brain like Norepinephrine and Dopamine, when in balance contribute to a person’s general sense of well–being and happiness.
If these chemicals are out of balance than a person becomes extremely unhappy.
Chronic stress and shortened sleep cycles can be the environmental factors that put a genetically predisposed person at risk for developing clinical depression and becoming obese. There is an abundance of information out there that will detail specifics about the changes that occur in body and brain chemistry under these unbalanced conditions, but in a nut -shell:
Prolonged stress for the average person typically includes high work volumes and family obligations or busy schedules. This chronic stressful lifestyle causes people to skip workouts, hit drive- thus and have shortened sleep cycles which increases the fight or flight hormone in the body called Cortisol (not to be confused with the corticosteroid Cortisone).
8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night is what a person needs to keep Cortisol down and brain chemistry balanced.
You can improve your sleep hygiene by following the tips below:
- Darken your room (pitch black is best, invest in black out curtains), even alarm clock lights are a no-no
- Keep temperature on the cold side in bedroom. This cues the body to sleep.
- NO ELECTRONICS WHATSOEVER –no televisions, computers, tablets, laptops, phones. Keep the bedroom for sleeping, intimacy and perhaps reading.
- Do not do work or do homework in the bedroom
- Remove clutter and any reminders of your stressors. Make your bedroom your peaceful sanctuary.
- Sleep mask and ear plugs can be useful
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- Get up at the same time everyday
Author: Julie Creighton
Martial Arts Instructor, Nutrition and Wellness Specialist