How Stress Affects your Sleep

How Stress Affects your Sleep

Stress can impact your life in many ways but how does stress affect your sleep? It’s late at night, you’re lying in bed, worrying and feeling anxious, which makes it almost impossible to turn off your brain, relax and fall asleep. People who suffer from chronic stress find they have poorer sleep quality and find it harder to function during the day.

The science of stress

When you experience a perceived threat your body’s stress response is triggered. As a result, your body will experience physical changes such as shallow breathing and a burst of energy from the release of adrenaline and cortisol. This is sometimes described as the fight or flight response, but it isn’t always the appropriate way to deal with the stresses of modern life.

How does stress affect sleep?

If you don’t sleep enough at night, your body boosts its levels of stress hormones. When you enter a deep sleep the brain chemicals tell the body to stop the production of stress hormones. As a result, when you don’t sleep well, your body keeps pumping out those stress hormones. When you wake up the next day, you feel more stressed and the following night you might find it harder to fall asleep. The more exhausted you feel, the harder it is for you to focus at work and at home, leading to even more stress. This can make you irritable with friends and family, causing stress over relationships1.

Sleep and Busy People

Busy people may have trouble getting enough sleep because being busy and not devoting 8 hours a night to sleep can trigger the stress response. This can lead to a cycle of stress and trouble falling asleep. It’s important to allow yourself 8 hours for sleep at nighttime, no matter how busy you may be.

Stress, sleep and your health

People who have high, prolonged levels of stress have a higher risk of heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, stomach issues, and more. They are also more likely to grind or clench their teeth, which can lead to dental problems. That’s why it’s so important if you feel overly tense, to try different stress relief methods and to make getting plenty of sleep a high priority2.

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Sleep and Fibromyalgia

Sleep and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia’s impact on sleep

Sleep and fibromyalgia don’t go well together.

Sleep disturbances are very common for sufferers of the condition. While they may not have difficulty falling asleep, their sleep is likely to be light and easily disturbed so when they wake up they feel exhausted or unrested. These sleep disturbances can cause the feeling of constant fatigue and prevent the body from rejuvenation, which in turn leads to increased pain1.

The severe pain of this condition also means it is difficult to sleep. Research shows that the body has a lower tolerance to pain and discomfort with lack of sleep. Fibromyalgia patients must make every effort to minimise sleep disturbance.

Tips for creating a regular sleep routine:

  • Set fixed times for going to bed and waking up
  • Maintain a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Only retire to bed when you feel tired
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
  • Avoid eating heavy meals late at night

 

How to create the best sleeping environment:

  • Use thick blinds/blackout blinds or wear an eye mask to keep out early morning light or street lamps
  • Maintain a comfortable temperature in your bedroom
  • Use earplugs if there is any noise disturbance
  • Avoid using laptops, watching television, eating, making phone calls or working while you’re in bed
  • Make sure you have a comfortable mattress, pillow and bedding suitable for the time of year

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An Introduction Into Circadian Rhythm

An Introduction Into Circadian Rhythm

Have you ever noticed that you tend to feel energised and drowsy around the same times every day?

This is caused by your Circadian Rhythm, but just what is it?

What is a Circadian Rhythm?

Your circadian rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain. It cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It’s also known as your sleep/wake cycle.

For many, the biggest dip in energy happens in the middle of the night. Somewhere between 2:00am and 4:00am, when you’re usually fast asleep. And just after lunchtime (around 1:00pm to 3:00pm, when you tend to crave an afternoon siesta). Those times can be different if you’re naturally a night owl or a morning person. You also won’t feel the dips and rises of your circadian rhythm as strongly if you’re all caught up on sleep. It’s when you’re sleep-deprived that you’ll notice bigger swings of sleepiness and alertness 1.

What affects my Circadian Rhythm?

A part of your brain called the hypothalamus controls your circadian rhythm. But other factors like lightness and darkness can also impact it.

When it’s dark at night, your eyes send a signal to the hypothalamus that it’s time to feel tired. Your brain, in turn, sends a signal to your body to release melatonin, which makes your body tired. That’s why your circadian rhythm coincides with the cycle of day and night and why it’s so hard for night shift workers to sleep during the day and stay awake at night.

What could help keep my Circadian Rhythm regular?

Your circadian rhythm works best when you have regular sleep habits. When things get in the way, like jet lag, daylight savings time, or a get together that keeps you up into the wee hours of the morning, you can disrupt your circadian rhythm. This is why you can feel out of sorts and can make it harder to pay attention.

If you find it particularly difficult to rise in the morning there are helpful products such as the Lumie Bodyclock that simulate a sunrise to gently wake you from your sleep.

Maybe you are having trouble getting to sleep or want to keep an eye on your nightly sleep pattern, the Beurer SleepExpert Sleep Sensor monitors your sleeping habits  which allows you to identify sleep patterns & take informed measures to tackle them.

Your circadian rhythm will likely change as you get older. And you may not have the same sleep/wake cycle as your partner, child or parents. But the more you pay attention to your body and notice feelings of alertness and drowsiness, and the more time you spend developing good sleeping habits, the better your sleep will be and the more rested you’ll feel.

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Our Most Common Dreams & What They Mean

Our Most Common Dreams & What They Mean

What are our most common dreams & what do they mean?

Every night each person on earth dreams for 90 minutes to two hours or more each night. Dreams are stories and images our mind creates while we sleep. They can be vivid and not always tell a simple story, leaving you feeling happy, sad or scared. Dreams happen anytime during sleep but your most vivid dreams will happen when you are in a deep sleep called REM (rapid eye movement), when the brain is most active1.

What do our common dreams mean?

Being Chased

This dream is most commonly reported. The anxiety we feel in the dream is so vivid, that it makes it easier for us to remember them. Often, the reason for dreaming you are being chased comes not from the fear of actually being chased but rather what you’re running from. Chase dreams help us to understand that maybe we’re not addressing something in our waking lives that require our attention.

Falling


Not all falling dreams are scary. Some dreamers report a type of slow falling that indicates serenity and the act of letting go. When we dream of falling uncontrollably from a great height indicates that something in our life feels very much out of control.

Water


Water represents our emotions or our unconscious minds. The type of water (clear, cloudy, calm or turbulent) often shows us how effectively we are managing our emotions.

Flying


Flying in a dream relates to how much control we feel we have in our lives. Depending on how high or low we fly can represent how much control we feel we have.

Vehicles


Whether a car, aeroplane, train or ship, the vehicles in our dream can reflect what direction we feel our life is taking, and how much control we think we have over the path ahead of us. Vehicles can give us the power to make a transition and envision ourselves getting to our destination or highlight the obstacles we think we are facing and need to work through.

People


Dreaming of people often is a reflection of the different aspects you see in yourself. The people in your dreams can relate to characteristics that need to be developed. Specific people directly relate to existing relationships or interpersonal issues we need to work through. Dreaming of your partner, in particular, is frequently symbolic of an aspect of ourselves from which we feel detached.

School


These dreams are often reported by people who have left school years previously. It’s a very common situation for people in dreams to find themselves in a school or classroom sometimes confronted with a test that they aren’t prepared to take. The “test” or “lesson” we face inside the school or classroom is frequently one we need to learn from our past.

Death


Although dreaming of death is often perceived as negative, it often refers to dramatic change happening for the dreamer. The end of one thing, in order to make room for something new.

Nudity


Our vulnerability is very often expressed in dreams through nudity. The part of the body that’s exposed can give more insight into the emotion that our dreams are helping us to understand.

Baby


Dreaming of a baby often represents something new. It might be a new idea, a new development or the potential for growth in an area of our waking life.

Teeth Falling Out


If you dream of your teeth falling out it may suggest you are insecure about how you are perceived by others and your appearance.

Paralysis

The body is actually encountering a form of paralysis during dreaming, which prevents it from physically performing the actions occurring in their dreams, therefore dreaming about paralysis frequently represents the overlap between the REM stage and waking stage of sleep. Dreaming about paralysis can also indicate that the dreamer feels he or she lacks control in their waking life.

But why do we dream?

There is still no given answer on why we dream but there are many theories. Some researchers say dreams have no purpose or meaning and are nonsensical activities of the sleeping brain. Whereas others say dreams are necessary for mental, emotional, and physical health. They believe that dreams help us work through the problems in our lives, incorporate our memories and process our emotions2.

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Top tips to get your child to sleep

Top tips to get your child to sleep

Getting your little one to drift off can sometimes be a daunting task. Here at SlumberSlumber we have decided to put together a few tips on getting your child to sleep.

Tips on getting your child to sleep

1) The Bedroom

Pay attention to your child’s bedroom. A cool dark quiet room is ideal. Remove most toys, games, televisions, computers, and radios if your child is having trouble falling asleep or is frequently up at night. Climb into your child’s bed to see how their bedroom feels from their viewpoint.

2) The Bed, Bedding and Pillows

Providing your child with good bedding and comfortable bedclothes is vitally important to ensure their growing bodies get the support that they need for a comfy night’s sleep.

3) The Bedtime Routine

A bedtime routine is a powerful “cue” that it is time to sleep. It needs to be simple. A complicated routine that requires a parent to be present makes it hard for a child to go back to sleep. Try writing out the bedtime routine to make it consistent. Share these “scripts” with other caregivers like baby-sitters, grandparents and dads.

4) Exercise

An hour of moderate exercise daily will help your child sleep better. You can break the hour up into 4 chunks of 15 minute slots.

5) Sleepy foods

Food that will help induce sleep include poultry, oats, bananas, honey and green leafy vegetables. Include some of these in the evening meal followed by a glass of warm milk.

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