Workplace woes and the sleep connection
We all experience times of stress in the workplace at some point in our lives. However sometimes it’s a case of chicken and egg when it comes to the relationship between stress and sleep. In fact, too little sleep or insomnia, can actually hamper your ability to cope with stress and make your workplace woes worse.
It’s well known from research that a good night’s sleep can help you to feel more relaxed. However, regular, quality sleep will reduce the production of cortisol – your stress hormone. Cortisol in excess is really not great for the body nor the mind. It increases the body’s anti-inflammatory response, which also lowers our immunity. The irony here, is that cortisol is produced when we are under stress, and actually contributes to a sleepless night!
Adrenal function and circadian rhythms
Our adrenal glands are pretty important little things! Especially when it comes to regulating our circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are our natural sleep/awake cycles and are governed by hormones and light receptors. If you are under severe stress in the workplace, your adrenal glands are put under immense pressure and many refer to the term adrenal fatigue (as a result of workplace stress). Maintaining adrenal health is important for healthy sleep cycles/circadian rhythms. The adrenals not only secrete adrenaline and cortisone, but also have several other functions which are vital to metabolic processes in the body.
If you are having a stressful time at work, it is imperative that you try your best to keep your sleep cycles as normal as possible. There are many over the counter aids that will help to relax you in order that you sleep. Meditation and regular exercise will also assist in maintain your sleep cycles.
Another irony of the sleep-stress relationship, is the ability to handle emotional/stressful situations. If you are experiencing a tough time at the office, but you are getting enough rest, your ability to handle acutely emotional or stressful situation increases. This stops a downward spiral of stress from occurring.
Doctors have found that lack of sleep produces ADHD-like symptoms in children. This could explain why it is so difficult to focus on a lengthy and intricate task when you’ve had a bad night. Maintaining a good sleep routine and gaining restful sleep will help you to remain sharp for your day ahead. In turn this aids you in reducing stress, as you are able to complete tasks more efficiently and with mental clarity.
So before you start dreaming of a perfect island holiday to escape a stressful year….Forget the margaritas on the beach – head for bed!