The Sleep-Stress Cycle
When it comes to sleep and stress there is definitely a circular effect.
A lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep activates the stress response (that instinctual response to fight, flee, or hide from a danger). An activated stress response makes for less sleep or lower-quality sleep, and each feeds on the other.
Your mind on good sleep: Your mind is alert. Memories, facts, information, names, and instances are more easily recalled. You are able to understand a problem and think of a solution with confidence. Communication is easier as you are more clear on what you wish to say, whether with text, email, or verbally.
Getting the proper amount of sleep each night results in you being more alert and productive each day. When you are sleep deprived, it takes more time to refocus your attention, and you’re probably not as focused or alert as you’d like to be. When you are rested and alert, you can more easily focus on what you need to do.
Lack of sleep is one of the best predictors of job burnout. A healthy adult needs about 7 hours per night, although individual needs vary. If you are forcing yourself to work each day on less, it will catch up to you in the form of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion. You may doubt your competence and the value of your work.
More than a century of research has established the fact that sleep is a factor in memory. Sleep actually triggers changes in the brain that solidify memories—strengthening connections between brain cells and transferring information from one brain region to another. This means that getting enough rest is key to retaining what you have learned during the day. It also means that you are better able to process what you have learned, resulting in better recall and the ability to use what you learned in the days ahead.
Lack of sleep slows down your thought processes. Sleep deprivation leads to lower alertness and concentration. It is more difficult to focus and pay attention, so you are more easily confused. It also impairs judgment. Making decisions is more difficult because you can’t assess situations as well and make smart choices or respond appropriately.
With proper rest, you have a sense of control over your ability to concentrate and focus on what is in front of you. If you're not sure where to start to improve your sleep, your health coach can help.