I'm very excited to offer today's blog post, courtesy of sleephelp.org
Feeling stressed? You're not alone. Stress afflicts eight in 10 Americans according to a recent Gallup poll. Often women, parents, younger generations, and those with lower household incomes experience stress at a higher rate.
Although stress is a natural reaction designed to help you face short-term threats, feeling stressed on a regular basis can have a negative effect on your health. Fatigue, heart disease, and slower recovery from illness are just a few of the consequences of chronic stress.
But reducing your stress levels can offer relief and alleviate some of the health risks of stress. While it's not always easy to stop stress from entering your life, you can better manage your reaction to stress and focus on stress-relieving measures.
Sleep and stress often go hand in hand. When you're stressed, you may find it difficult to fall asleep. And when you're sleep deprived, you may struggle to manage stress healthily. Research indicates people who are sleep deprived experience greater subjective stress, anxiety, and anger than those who are well rested. In other words, your threshold for dealing with stress is lower, and you feel more stressed out when you're short on sleep.
Healthy Ways to Manage Stress
Alleviating stress can help you sleep, which may further reduce your stress levels.
Identify and avoid stress whenever possible. Keep a journal and highlight the times of day and activities that make you feel the most stressed. Consider whether you can eliminate these activities, or plan ahead and take steps, so they are less stressful. For example, if you struggle with getting to work on time, consider shifting your bedtime earlier so you can wake up with enough time to leave.
Seek acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture treatment can be a good choice for treating stress you can't shake off, so talk to your practitioner about alleviating stress with acupuncture. In a meta-analysis of acupuncture for anxiety disorders, researchers found acupuncture can be used to treat anxiety and offer fewer side effects than conventional treatment such as medication. Acupuncture was also found to improve sleep, depression, and stress in the elderly.
Make sleep a priority. Sleeping well puts you in a better position to manage stress healthily. Be sure you're making time for adequate rest every night, and talk to your doctor if you struggle with sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea. Carefully consider your sleep environment, choosing a mattress that contours your body, and making sure your bedroom is a calm, relaxing environment free of distractions that could keep you from sleeping well at night.
Focus on relaxation throughout the day. Acupuncture can help you mitigate the effects of stress, but it's not the only option. Consider other activities that can help you shake off stress, such as exercise, yoga, meditation, and reaching out for support from friends and family members.
Talk to a mental health professional. If you're unable to manage your stress or you feel overwhelmed, a mental health professional can help you better deal with stress.
Stress happens, but it doesn't have to affect your life negatively. Use acupuncture, sleep, and healthy stress management techniques to alleviate stress and improve your well being.