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Sleep Tips

4 Stressful Things You Didn't Know Were Affecting Your Sleep

“Life is too short to worry about the little things."

We've all heard similar words of wisdom about leading a stress-filled life; but oftentimes we put it on the backburner, thinking that it doesn't really affect us right now.

In reality, there is plenty of evidence that stress can directly relate to health issues -- including poor quality sleep. Without a healthy sleep regime, many areas of your life are affected negatively —from work performance to ability to communicate in a relationship.

According to a new Mattress Firm survey -- Dozed and Confused: Why Americans Have Trouble Sleeping -- people who don't get enough sleep (fewer than 5 hours each night) are twice as likely to be considered stressed. Among those not getting enough sleep, the most stressed tend to be women and millennials.

Based on the Mattress Firm survey, here are four things that may be affecting your sleep, and how you can use them to sleep better tonight:

  1. Unplug to Unwind: Keep Your Phone Across the RoomDid you know that those who are stressed are more active with their TV, computer, and mobile device the hour before bed as compared to unstressed individuals?Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of Duke University's Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program, and expert The Daily Doze contributor, stresses the need to disconnect from technology close to bedtime, showing evidence an electronic device in the bedroom is associated with poor quality of sleep.We know it's tough to turn off the phone completely, so Dr. Kansagra put together practical steps that you can easily do to help you unplug and unwind.In fact, 50% of people who are extremely stressed flip on their favorite TV show one hour before bed in comparison to 31% of people who live a less stressed life. Try to avoid the temptation to watch a show on your TV or iPad to relax before bedtime.
  2. Fridge Closed: Avoid Nighttime SnackingAbout 24% of extremely stressed folks indulge in a snack one hour before bed, compared to 11% of the less stressed crowd.There are many food and drink options that encourage a good night’s sleep more than others, including these from WebMd.The foods you choose are important, but what is most essential to your sleep health is the timing of when you eat and drink. Even fighting stress with an afternoon espresso can affect your ability to sleep hours later when your head hits the pillow. Learn more about the connection between what we eat and how we sleep.
  3. Pooch Rules: Lounge on the Ground or Mattress?Did you know that stressed people are also more likely to sleep with a pet? According to Mattress Firm’s recent study, people who are extremely stressed are two times more likely to sleep with furry loved ones than those who are less stressed.There are many personal factors to keep in mind when you decide if it is best to let your four-legged friend hop onto your mattress.Learn more from our sleep expert in this short video.
  4. Inventory Your Sleep PositionDo you have trouble getting comfortable in your bed? Perhaps you're flipping from your back to side to stomach. This could be a sign of stress.40% of stressed folks change sleep positions throughout the night, tossing and turning on their mattress.One easy way to rest better on your mattress is to make sure your body has the proper support and alignment based on your unique sleep position.

Once you figure out your sleep position, you can get the  right pillows to support your body as you lay on the bed.

It's no doubt that those who are stressed want more sleep. Stress and our body's need for healthy sleep are very intertwined, each significantly impacting the other.

Wherever you fall on the stress spectrum, think about what you can easily change today to help you rest better at night. Getting a comfortable  mattress or eliminating web surfing close to bedtime may just do the trick.

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