A man looking stressed

Sleep and Stress: Why are They Linked?

The NHS website advises that adults should aim for eight hours of sleep per night. Of course, how much sleep is needed will vary on the individual. However, working out how much sleep your body and mind require to feel sufficiently rested is vital to your overall mental and physical health.

A whole host of reasons can cause lack of sleep, a prevalent one being stress. The connection between lack of sleep and stress is a strong one, and poor sleep can also affect your levels of stress, creating a cycle of one impacting the other.

A woman sat at laptop with head in hands

Why Does Stress Exist?

So what is stress and how do you know if it is impacting your life?

Stress originates from a fight or flight response that humans have used to survive from potential danger throughout our evolution.

The fight or flight response radically increases the autonomic nervous system to produce hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. The growth of these hormones causes the heart rate to increase to ensure enough blood reaches the vital organs, ready for action.

However, despite a decrease in these threats over time, this response remains, meaning that stress can prevail in less dangerous situations such as work, family or social interactions.

How to Identify Stress

Stress can affect people in a multitude of ways and can produce various mental and physical conditions depending on each person. These could include things such as a loss of appetite, eczema and being unable to sleep, as well as anxiety, racing thoughts and the inability to relax.

Most people will feel stress from time to time, and this cannot be helped. However, if this is how you feel the majority of the time you are awake, this is a cause for concern. An accumulation of stress can have a long term negative impact on your body and mind.

A white clock

The Cycle of Stress and Sleep

The web between body and mind is a complex one, and often when one is affected, so is the other. This strongly applies in the link between stress and sleep as one can impact the other.

For example, stress can cause you to lie awake at night, worrying about the preceding morning. In turn, the lack of sleep the next day will only enhance these feelings of anxiety about the future as your body and brain have not been able to sufficiently rest.

How Does Stress Cause A Lack of Sleep?

Stress reduces the quality of sleep as well as the length of a deep slumber. In extreme cases, stress can cause sleep deprivation through the intense level of alertness, meaning winding down to sleep can be prolonged. Troubling and racing thoughts can often overwhelm the individual and keep them awake with no solution of soothing their worried state.

If you are concerned that you may be suffering from a sleep disorder, you can read further information here.

How Does A Lack of Sleep Cause Stress?

As mentioned, an inadequate amount of sleep can cause you to feel an increased level of stress. Feeling tired can change the way you perceive situations and therefore have lasting impacts on you and those around you, which only elevates feelings of uncertainty and pressure.

Many mental health charities, including Mind.org, emphasise the importance of gaining enough sleep to reduce levels of stress.

The Importance of Maintaining Healthy Levels of Stress

With the potential of stress preventing reasonable levels of sleep and vice versa, knowing how to keep control of your levels of stress is integral to ensuring you are happy and healthy.

A white bath

Improving Your Lifestyle

If you can reduce your levels of stress in the evening, this could have a significant impact on how quickly and how well you fall asleep. Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine is integral to winding down stress levels and preparing your body for sleep.

This could include a comforting hot drink, a warm bath, reading a book or listening to a podcast. Using meditation can also support you to let go of stressful thoughts and can be used throughout the day to keep on top of stress levels.

Taking CBD oil for sleep can support you in feeling more relaxed, which in turn, will help you to fall asleep. For more information about taking CBD oil, discover more about what happens when you first take CBD oil.

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If you cannot improve your levels of sleep, it is vital you seek out the support of a medical practitioner who will be able to help you further.

Ensuring you are acquiring a sufficient amount of high-quality sleep is integral to your overall mental and physical health. By reducing stress levels, you can improve your sleep, and by ensuring you have enough sleep, you can gain a healthier perspective of stressful situations.

andrew riding big wave

A Chat with Andrew Cotton: Professional Big Wave Surfer

One of the UK’s most celebrated and fearless surfers, we took the chance to catch up with Andrew and talk about his experience in professional sports, time in recovery and how he has used CBD over the years.

About Andrew

Known affectionately as Cotty, Andrew’s talents are not limited to sport and surfing. He is an accomplished and inspirational public speaker, having spoken out on a range of topics, from achieving goals and dealing with failure, to the environment alongside charities such as Surfers Against Sewage. Andrew’s other endeavours include global Surf Fitness Retreats and media work.

Surf Career

From humble beginnings surfing the coast of South West England, Andrew discovered a passion for big wave riding that took him across the world to countries such as Australia, Hawaii and Portugal. It was in Nazare that he got to ride some of the biggest waves ever attempted, reaching the dizzying heights of waves in excess of 70ft.

from the water image of andrew riding a big wave

Using CBD

In a devastating accident in November 2017, Andrew suffered from a compression fracture in his spine, which had to be followed by a long period of recovery. Andrew used CBD throughout the recovery process; however, he explains that he had already been using it.

“To be honest, I think I was using CBD before that, I was looking into ways to recover after training; you read loads of different things, and CBD came up quite a lot.”

“I was looking into ways to sleep better and recover faster after training sessions. I tried various different products and methods of taking it.”

When asked his preferred method of taking CBD, he explained he’d tried several different stages, including adding it to food and coffee.

“But I think the best is just drops under the tongue” he adds.

Thankfully, he made a full recovery and spent several months regaining his fitness. As someone who has used CBD for a long period of time, he realises the importance of taking regular doses and allowing it to build up in the body.

“It’s part of something that I’ve put into my daily routine; it’s not something I would take just before a contest, it’s something that I take every day and build it up so it’s constant. It’s getting into your daily routine like you might take vitamins or supplements, I take CBD.”

“We get into this habit of wanting something instant, with CBD it takes time.”

He adds, “With CBD, it’s not like normal prescription drugs, where you feel like you can almost feel the effects immediately. I think it takes time to build up, we get into this habit of wanting something instant, with CBD it takes time.”

image of andrew cotton on beach

He also warns people to do their research before purchasing a CBD product. “There are a lot of different products out there, and some are better than others, it’s not until you start reading into it a bit more you start understanding it. Not a lot of stuff is amazing.”

Admitting he was unsure about its effectiveness before taking CBD, he says: “There are a lot of claims that it does a lot of different things, and that straight away got me quite sceptical. How can something do so much? But for me, it was all about recovery and trying to sleep better, and it did that.”

Andrew goes on to discuss the importance of sleep in both sport and everyday life. “I think sleep and recovery for anyone, whether you’re an athlete or do whatever, it’s really important and I think for me, that’s why it’s helped. It’s what’s helped me get over injury, but it’s also helped me get over training sessions and big wave sessions.”

“Sleep has kind of become hard, it’s hard for me, but I think taking CBD has definitely helped that.”

“It’s surprising how many people don’t sleep as much as they should. I think this day and age, managing to turn the brain off and get a good 8 to 10 hours sleep has kind of become hard, it’s hard for me, but I think taking CBD has definitely helped that.”

He’s also confident with recommending CBD to others:

“My dad’s in his 70s, and I’ve been trying to get him to start taking it for his arthritis, and he’s pretty old school, if it doesn’t work that day, he thinks it doesn’t work. I’ve been trying to get through to him that you’ve got to give it a proper month or a few weeks to get the benefits. Sometimes he doesn’t notice the benefits because he’s living with it, but I think I notice a difference.”

We really enjoyed chatting with Andrew and wish him the best in future competitions!

Visit the ElleVance Sciences website for CBD oil and other related products. We pride ourselves in our maximum strength, full-spectrum hemp extract, which contains our unique blend of CBD, CBDA and terpenes providing all-round balance and support.