Too stressed to sleep?


| 4 Comments
sleeping pic.jpg

Do you ever lay awake at night thinking about 100 different things at once? Many students have found that when they are stressed, they have trouble falling asleep.  But why is it that the more you think about it, the harder it is to doze off?

 

In a study done at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, Dr. Martica Hall shows how stress affects the heart rate before and during sleep.  Dr. Hall measured the change in heart rates by using autoregressive spectral analysis of electrocardiogram interbeat interval sequence in 59 healthy men and women.  The participants were randomly assigned and split into the control or experimental group. The experimental group was given a speech task in order to elicit acute stress. Their heart rates were then monitored during sleep.

 

Dr. Hall concluded that acute stress can lead to disturbed sleep. There are many ways to beat the stress and fall asleep more quickly. For example, you can practice deep breathing; if you watch tv in bed, try turning the tv off at least 30 minutes before sleep, read a book in bed, exercise lightly, listen to soothing music, or even meditation. Many doctors suggest that getting into a regular pattern of going to sleep and waking up at the same time can drastically change the way you feel throughout the day.

 

Citations:

http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/content/66/1/56.short

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-benefits-10/slideshow-sleep-tips


4 Comments

Hey Kyle,

Well written post. I noticed this phenomenon first hand last night when I got an awful sleep because of the exam and multiple assignments I had due today. Theres no doubt that being overly stressed and anxious can lead to a lack of sleep. I just recently wrote a blog post about anxiety which seems to go hand in hand with your post. You can find my blog post here http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/siowfa13/2013/09/understand-anxiety.html

I am totally guilty of attempting to sleep at night while thinking of literally a million thing I have to do the next day or even in the up coming week. I fall into this trap almost every night and sometimes it helps me fall asleep but other times it keeps me up for what feels like forever. I feel like when I go on my computer or use my phone right before I try to go to sleep it keeps me up longer. I'm not really sure why but my mom has always told me that reading a book will help you fall asleep because it can be really relaxing. This article 7 Bedtime Behaviors That Will Help You Sleep is really informative and I fee like these simple remedies would actually help.

I am so guilty of thinking of a million things before I go to bed. Even last night I was because I'm in a sorority and we are going through recruitment and there is so much to do for it each day so I have been finding myself staying up thinking of all the things I need to do the next day. I usually end up on my phone and computer just looking at pointless things. Over the summer I would watch episodes of my favorite show One Tree Hill and after about 4 episodes I am ready to hit the hay.

I found this article really interesting because I am the type of person that hits their bed and quickly passes out. I know a lot of people suffer from over thinking and stress before bed, but its not something I can relate to. I loved reading this because I never knew why this happened to people. I couldn't imagine not being able to fall asleep right away, so I looked up some other remedies that may help. Brittani Renaud of Health.com talks about several remedies that may help you fall asleep right away. One that stuck out to me was to "prep your body." Apparently curling your toes and tightening your muscles gets your body ready for bed. If you want to read more definitely check it out!

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20307249_3,00.html

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