Stress keeping you up? Tips to avoid creating a chronic sleep issue

Health

With the coronavirus pandemic, many people are feeling stressed and anxious, which may be impacting sleep.

Sleep is important to our overall health so when does a lack of sleep become a bigger issue?

Insomnia, or chronically sleeping less than six hours a night, has been linked to an increased risk of certain cardiometabolic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease or stroke.

In a recent study by Penn State Health Sleep Research and Treatment Center, there was also a link between insomnia and mental health problems like depression or dementia in middle-aged adults.

But it’s important to note that insomnia symptoms occur at least three nights a week for a minimum of three months.

Stress or anxiety-related sleep disturbances are normal says Dr. Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, who worked on the Penn State Health research project.

Fernandez-Mendoza says it is important though to ensure current sleep disturbances do not develop into a chronic issue, like insomnia.

Adults tend to take naps, go to bed earlier or sleep later if they feel tired. Fernandez-Mendoza says to resist this urge as those habits will continue to keep you up.

And if you’re laying in bed, tossing and turning, he says to get up and go to another room. Don’t fight sleep but rather take time to read under a dim light or journal about the stresses keeping you up until you feel tired again.

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