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Sleep & Stress - Why You Need to Get This Right

Welcome to Solving Your Stress Mini-Series. This mini-series is all about solving your stress. How to have less stress or, zero stress in your life. Each week I take questions from you. I spent some time on social media asking you questions about stress. The questions you responded to most was, how much stress on a scale of one to ten do you feel you have on a daily basis? And, what is it that specifically stresses you out? This post is focused on stress and sleep. Specifically, how does the lack of sleep exacerbate stress? Sleep is so important. Everyday I see more and more of a divide. There seems to be two schools of thought. One is, I'll sleep when I'm dead. The other, which is starting to really take over, is the appreciation of getting seven, eight, even nine hours of sleep.

The research shows that adequate sleep is huge for performance. So what is the problem when we don't have enough sleep? And why do we feel stressed? It's because our brain is overloaded and we are physically unable to manage the tasks coming at us. When we can't manage those tasks, we feel overwhelmed and as a result, we are stressed out. I have been there, coming from a busy career in law enforcement. Sometimes there just wasn't time to sleep. We used to joke around saying, you can learn to sleep standing up with your eyes open. We would literally get that tired. That's not healthy and we'd all find ourselves on our days off, sleeping 12 plus hours to try and catch up.

Sleep is very important and it is absolutely vital in keeping our stress levels and our feeling of overwhelm at a minimum. A non-fatigued, healthy brain can function. We can problem solve, we can prioritize, we can do everything better with more sleep. I can tell you with people that I've worked with, one of the things that I always ask about is how much sleep they get each night. I can tell you, once they are on regular seven or eight hours a night and even nine hours - some need it. They all said that tackling the day to day is completely manageable whereas before they'd find themselves felling like they were under water, unable to breathe. It's all about walking out that door every morning feeling like you've got it together, so when the little things get added to your plate, you manage them one by one, able to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

If you're reading / watching this and you recognize that you or somebody you know has some serious sleep issues, please go ahead and seek professional help, because again, sleep is vital to our overall well-being. If we are well rested, then we are less stressed.

So take a moment and visualize yourself going into work tomorrow. Maybe you didn't get that adequate sleep you needed and you can track yourself during the week. Does your performance go up or does your performance start to decline because of lack of sleep? You'll know. Trust me, you will know. And so the biggest questions I want to leave with you are:

1. Am I really getting enough sleep? and

2. Is that the cause of me feeling stressed and overwhelmed?

With that, I wish you a peaceful and restful sleep tonight.

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