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September 6, 2016
Strong Against Stress: Getting Good Sleep Part One
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We have all been told numerous times that we need to get enough sleep. But did you know that the quantity and quality of your sleep impacts your ability to handle and recover from stressful situations?

        Our goal is seven or more hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep. Yes, this is tough. But it is of the utmost importance for good health.

Why is seven hours so important? If we view the chart above, we have 4 different types of sleep and we cycle between them throughout the evening. Our dreaming occurs during the stage 1 “REM” sleep, and our sleep proceeds in deepening waves. We need deep sleep! Seven hours usually gives us sufficient time to move through these cycles to achieve sufficient deep or restorative sleep for our bodies.

Most deep sleep, or often called ‘slow wave sleep’ (stages 3 & 4) occurs during the first two hours after going to bed.  Our cortisol levels decrease during deep sleep, so we start out our day with low cortisol levels in the morning. Without this deep sleep, or we will start out or day with high cortisol also known as your high stress hormone! It definitely isn’t helpful to start the day with high stress if we are looking to combat stress more efficiently.

What happens without enough slow wave or deep sleep? We get fatigued, have trouble concentrating, and we also have trouble regulating our emotions. So, an individual who is stress resilient, gets good sleep. Without slow wave sleep and regulated cortisol, we cannot we will be less able to rebound and be resilient through a stressful situation.

See why sleep is so important in lowering stress?

Source: Preston, J. D. (2016, April). The Habits of Stress-Resilient People. Paper presented at Institute for Brain Potential: The Habits of Stress-Resilient People, Lynnwood, WA.

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To read more of our Strong Against Stress series follow to: Introduction, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

Written by Andy Miller

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