How Does Stress Affect Your Sleep?

7th November 2018

Slumber Centre

It can feel like a never ending cycle sometimes. You can’t sleep because you’re stressed. Then you end up stressing because you can’t sleep… 1 in 3 people said that feelings of stress and anxiety regularly keep them awake at night. Whether its work, family or finance related, stress can lead you to have regular sleepless nights that affect your day to day lives. This National Stress Awareness Day, we’re taking a look at the link between the two as well as giving you the top tips to feel relaxed and stress free before you turn in for the night.

What’s the link?

Stress is one of the leading causes of sleep deprivation. No matter the reason, when you’re too busy thinking about a stressful situation, you’re unlikely to be able to get to sleep.

The thing is that stress seems to get worse when we don’t sleep. We begin to stress because we can’t sleep and the cycle continues. Whilst this may seem like a psychological effect, there’s actually a level of science to it that our bodies can’t control. You need sleep to allow your brain to release the chemical that processes the stress hormone, cortisol. When our bodies don’t get an adequate amount of deep sleep, they can’t process this stress hormone and it allows the levels of cortisol to increase. This is why stress can sometimes seem to build up and accumulate after a night of poor sleep.

Breaking the cycle

Hopefully it’s clearer to see why this seemingly never-ending cycle exists. But what can you do to break it and finally get the good night’s sleep you’ve been longing for?

The time spent before hitting the hay should be peaceful and relaxing. It’s important to wind down and give yourself a chance to take a break from your working life. Helping to make sure your body feels ready to fall asleep can also help maximise sleep quality.

If you’ve had a hectic, stressful day, here are three ridiculously easy tips to unwinding and settling down before bed:

1) Take a deep breath

It sounds cliché and easy enough, but following a deep breathing exercise helps relieve stress on many levels. Not only does it reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, but focusing on something that seems so simple will actually help take your mind off those stressful thoughts to begin with.

Try following the 4-7-8 breathing technique:

2) Clear head before bed

We all live busy lives nowadays. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our hectic lives that we forget some of the more simple things we were meant to do. When your mind is racing, take a minute to write down everything that’s on your mind. Writing a to-do list of all your tasks will help you prioritise and organise everything you have to do the next day.

To Do List

3) Tidy your room, tidy your mind

If your bedroom isn’t organised, how can you expect your mind to be? Taking 5-10 minutes to organise your room and put everything together neat and tidy can give you some peace of mind before bed. You may want to clear your bedside table or pick up your discarded clothes from the floor so you feel in a more organised and relaxed environment to go to bed.


There’s no exact science or fool proof way to relieve stress. Everyone is different and every will have their own methods. Take some time to read some of more of our stress relieving tips and tricks here.