Stressing Sleep

I'm happy to report that there is a renewed interest in the benefits of sleep, which includes napping.

For too long, it seemed that sleep was seen as something that got in the way of one's life. People were made to feel as if they weren't being productive; they were wasting their time. Feelings of guilt, fed by a culturally-influenced idea that one could be, or should be, doing something better with their time other than sleeping, may be a contributing factor to the lack of zzzzz's heard across the continent.

Stress can impair the quality of your sleep. Cortisol, the stress hormone, can remain in your body for up to thirteen hours. That means that you could have forgotten about the thing that stressed you out that afternoon, but your body hasn't. At bedtime, cortisol may still be in your system. In fact, your untransformed stress may be causing you to stockpile cortisol, which contributes to your inability to get a restorative rest.

Sleeplessness may:

  • Increase pain.
  • Contribute to weight gain.
  • Cause premature aging.
  • Increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
  • Extinguish your libido.
  • Impair your cognitive abilities.
  • Destroy your relationships.
  • Deflate your resilience.

Stress also can also affect you in the same way. Transform your stress and you can improve the quality of your slumber.

Here is my latest post on HealthCentral's Rheumatoid Arthritis site: A Nap on the Couch: Frivolity or Necessity?

This article originally appeared on RA Hub on in 2014. To read my other articles, please see Writing Gig.

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7 Replies to “Stressing Sleep”

  1. Great piece. I am obsessed with writing about TIME because our virtual world robs us of ALONENESS and makes us want to be totally connected all the time. I want to be disconnected, sometimes–free-floating to walk, write, read and SLEEP. Naps are good for you.
    Thanks for this, Beth

  2. Really nice post, Marianna. I too am so glad that we are finally talking about this sleepy secret. I heard something on a radio program the other day about how the Wall Street crowd like to brag about how little sleep they get by on. And we all know that no mistakes or stress-related illnesses (oh that cortisol high) happen there!

  3. Hello Marianna,

    Picture a dirty fish tank. We need sleep to clean our brains or else toxic waste accumulates ~ Maiken Nedergaard #quote

    I tweeted this quote awhile back; thought you might like it. It’s a bit stark, but it sure does get the message across. 🙂

    Here’s to getting our Zzzzzz’s.

    Jackie Yun

    1. Hi Jackie,

      I do like the quote – it’s a perfect analogy. Thanks for sharing and reminding everyone of the importance of sleep.

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