With review and feedback from CEENTA ENT doctor Robert Harley, MD (SouthPark)This year has been a very stressful one for everyone. If you’ve noticed sleeping difficulties, you’re far from alone. Stress can cause people to lose sleep. Today we’re going to explain why and what you might be able to do to get yourself a full night of rest.What is stress?Stress is your body’s physical, mental, or emotional response to both positive and negative changes in your life. While the human body is designed to react to stress, it can be a problem if you don’t experience any relief between stressors.Why am I having trouble sleeping?When you’re stressed, your body is keyed up and doesn’t enter the relaxed state needed to fall asleep. Signs that you’re stressed might be a racing mind that won’t allow you to stop focusing on particular thoughts, a racing heart, and tense muscles.Unfortunately, this can be a vicious circle. If stress is causing you to lose sleep, you’ll wake up feeling more stressed, which can cause you to lose more sleep.“Stress is a very common cause of insomnia,” CEENTA ENT doctor and sleep specialist Robert Harley, MD, said. “Prolonged periods of stress and insomnia lead to heightened risks of obesity, hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”How do I know if I’m not sleeping enough?If you’re not sleeping enough, you can have difficulty thinking, concentrating, or remembering, your mood can change, you might gain weight, you might find yourself getting sick easier, your blood pressure can rise, and you’re at a greater risk of getting into accidents because of lowered response times.How can I reduce my stress levels?Fortunately, you don’t have to live with high stress. Potential remedies for stress include mindfulness meditation, muscle relaxation, physical exercise, and family/friend support, Dr. Harley said. “Healthy diet choices, lower caffeine and alcohol intake, and increased exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light during the morning hours can lead to improved sleep quality.”Sleep care at CEENTAIf you are having sleep issues, schedule an appointment at CEENTA. Our doctors can determine if your sleep issues are related to stress or some other medical condition, and come up with a treatment plan to make sure your nights are as stress-free and full of sleep as possible.This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Would you like an appointment with Dr. Harley? Call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.