Mental Health Week has hit us and I’ve been asked by Kalms (as part of their #keepcalms and carry on campaign) to chat about the stress-sleep cycle and the impact it may have on our mental health and wellbeing. This is not a sponsored post. So first things first: what is the ‘stress-sleep cycle’?
What is the ‘Stress-Sleep Cycle’
Stress is our body’s reaction to pressures from a situation or life event. In many everyday situations it can be seen as a normal reaction that helps keep us awake and alert, but when stress becomes excessive or persists over a period of time the opposite happens.
The knock-on effects of stress can have a vast impact on our mental and physical wellbeing, whilst disrupting the balance of hormones released.
Dr Irshaad Ebrahim, co-founder of The London Sleep Centre and neuropsychiatrist, comments;
“When our internal neuro-chemical systems are working normally, they regulate biological processes like sleep, appetite, mood and energy levels. If we are stressed, the Adreno-Cortical System is dysregulated and our energy sources are diverted, resulting in sleep disruption and mood changes.“
The persistence of stress can in turn worsen our ability to sleep. As we continue to accrue a sleep deficit – the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep, our ability to concentrate worsens, mood drops and productivity decreases, all of which can emphasise feelings of stress and anxiety. The physical effects of stress can lead to a heightened risk of respiratory problems, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Feeling stressed increases physiological and psychological arousal in ways that are incompatible with the conditions your body and mind need to enter a relaxed, restorative sleep. When this process repeats, a stress-sleep cycle is formed.
Dr Irshaad Ebrahim explains;
“Many peoples’ sleep issues are worsened through anticipatory stress, whereby we fear an outcome before the event has taken place. When this happens repeatedly, a cycle begins to form.
“The stress-sleep cycle is when feelings of stress stop you from achieving a sufficient night’s sleep, or when the thought of not achieving a good night’s sleep intensifies feelings of stress, thus exacerbating the cycle and making it harder to break.“
Expert Tips and Advice: How to break the ‘stress-sleep cycle’
Here Dr Irshaad Ebrahim shares his top 5 tips to help break the stress-sleep cycle:
1. “Ensure consistency with your bedtime routine.”
Going to bed and waking up at the same time helps maintain the circadian rhythm – the body’s 24-hour internal clock.
2. “Switch off your electrical devices.”
Bright lights before bed can stimulate us, again interfering with a person’s circadian rhythm. Turning off your electronic devices an hour before bedtime is a powerful intervention to assist sleep –go on try it for two weeks!
3. “Consider trying a traditional herbal remedy (THR)”
Based on long-standing use as traditional herbal remedies, Kalms Night One-A-Night is used for temporary relief of sleep disturbances, whilst Kalms Day is used for the temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress. Both contain Valerian Root.
4. “Relax and clear your mind”
Reducing cortisol levels, and in-turn stress levels, before we go to bed is a must. Try 15 minutes of meditation or breathing exercises beforehand to help decrease anxiety and promote relaxation.
5. “Exercise regularly –but not before bed”
Physical activity is great for helping our body balance hormone levels, improving sleep and reducing stress. It’s a great way to release endorphins and other chemicals in the brain which reduce stress and regulate mood.
The Kalms Range
With over 40 years’ experience, Kalms is dedicated to providing traditional herbal remedies used to relieve stress, anxiety and sleeplessness. Our range offers a choice of remedies that fit into your life, whatever challenges life throws at you.
Kalms Day is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of; symptoms associated with stress such as mild anxiety and irritability exclusively based on long standing use as a traditional herbal remedy. Always read the label.
Kalms Day RRP: £9.35 for 200 tablets, Kalms Day RRP: £6.35 for 84 tablets.
Kalms Night and Kalms Night One-A-Night are traditional herbal medicinal products used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances, exclusively based on long standing use as a traditional herbal remedy – Contains Valerian Root. Always read the leaflet.
Kalms Night RRP: £5.30 for 50 tablets, Kalms One-A-Night RRP £5.63
Kalms Lavender One-A-Day Capsules is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for thetemporary relief of the symptoms of mild anxiety such as stress and nervousness, exclusively based on long standing use as a traditional herbal remedy. Always read the label.
Kalms Lavender One-A-Day capsules RRP £7.16
Kalms products are available to buy at most supermarkets and pharmacies. Alternatively, we can deliver direct to your door.
I want to hear from you! How do you #KeepCalm and carry on?