Yes, we are back on the sleep train again. The more sleep you get the better health you will be in. There are articles upon articles about exercise and diet, but we often neglect the third key component to health and that is sleep. If you are like most people you don’t sleep more than 6-7 hours a day. The sweet spot for sleep is 7-9 if you can achieve that then you’re winning the battle. My self I am hovering right around 5-6 and am working on increasing the amount of sleep I get
I found a good article here about how sleep or lack of effects your anxiety levels.
From the article: The researchers scanned the brains of 18 healthy young adults in two experimental sessions, during which they watched video clips depicting ‘aversive’ scenarios, designed to elicit an emotional response.
One of these sessions occurred in the morning, after the participants enjoyed a full night of sleep. The other session took place on another morning, after they’d stayed up all night in the laboratory, doing things like reading, watching movies, and playing board games (while being monitored to ensure they didn’t rest).
After the sessions, the participants had their anxiety levels measured by a psychological test called the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the results showed the sleepless night effectively triggered a 30 percent increase in anxiety levels.
“Notably, 78 percent of all participants in the sleep-deprived condition reported an increase in anxiety, confirming a robust impact of sleep loss on the escalation of anxiety in healthy individuals,”
Let me say off the bat, that a study of 18 young adults is hardly a large clinical sample but its absolutely a start. The article, and study really get in-depth on the observations and reactions produced. Even for a nonscientist we can make the logical conclusion that more sleep = better outcomes in the context of anxiety.
It sounds simple right? Sleep more. I know it isn’t, I’m fighting that battle as well. I think making sleep a priority is critical for everyone, particularly those of us with stress. So, if you can, knock off the PC or phone 15-30 mins earlier. Start there. As an example, I am trying to commit to hard deadlines. 10PM weeknights (Sun-Thursday) I shut down the PC, I’d like to get to 9:30 but for now its 10PM. Weekends (Friday and Saturday night) its 12PM.
Now I use a setting on my PC that puts it into sleep mode, like an alarm clock on the weekdays. So, If I am on at 10PM the PC begins to shut down. My issue? I sit and look at my cell phone in bed for 15-20 min after that…
I’m no saint here but I’m working on it. See if you can carve out another 15-30 min in the evening where you go to bed earlier and stick with it.