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Are You Sleeping Well?

A good night’s sleep is crucial as it allows our bodies to rest and brains to recharge. Even a slight sleep deprivation can greatly affect one’s concentration, mood and judgment. Unfortunately, some people have trouble in falling asleep, tend to wake up during midnight or often feel tired and unrested in the next morning despite having adequate sleep.


Common Sleep Disorders Associated with Stress


A common disorder characterized by difficulty with falling asleep, staying asleep throughout the night or both.

Daytime effects of insomnia include:

  • Hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness)
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Delayed reflexes
  • Mood disruptions

Sleep Apnea

A serious disorder that will cause people to stop breathing during sleep.

Common symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Awakened with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache

Potential Health Consequences

Stress happens in everyday life but chronic stress should be managed properly as they can manifest harmful effects to the body silently in the long run.

i) Cardiovascular

The body’s “fight or flight” response to stress can cause the elevation of heart rate and blood pressure. If it happens constantly, the risk of getting hypertension, heart attack or stroke is much higher.

ii) Gastrointestinal

Gut and brain functions are closely related. Stressful experiences may lead to loss of appetite, abdominal pain, bloating or other gastrointestinal symptoms.

iii) Musculoskeletal

Muscle aches and pain are common when the body remains with constant high stress levels. Persistent muscle tension may lead to migraine or pain in the lower back and upper extremities.

iv) Reproductive

Fertility can be negatively affected as a result of diminished sexual desire due to chronic stress. It is also found that pregnant women with high stress levels will affect the fetal and childhood development.

v) Respiratory

Stressful situations often trigger rapid breathing. Over time, a more serious respiratory condition such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COD) may occur.

Sleep Reactivity

A trait characteristic to measure the degree of sleep disruption in response to stress exposure.


The Sleep-Stress Cycle

As stress and sleep have a reciprocal relationship, understanding the cause and effect between them is the main step to break this frustrating loop.

Below are some of the useful tips for better sleep:

1) Schedule Stress Time

Shift negative feelings away from bedtime by expressing your concerns through writing or talking to someone.

2) Avoid Caffeine Intake Later in the Day

Try to avoid caffeine intake as long as full six hours before bedtime.

3) Manage Light Exposure

Keep the bedroom cool, dark and quiet to ensure the environment is conducive to sleep.

4) Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Set a bedtime and wake-up time that fits your schedule and practise it every day.

5) Stay Active

Regular exercise will help to reduce stress and improve sleep quality; however, it is best to avoid vigorous workouts less than an hour before bedtime.

Unwind before bed and sleep tight!

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