Sleep it off: Fighting stress

With finals looming around the corner, we all try to find ways to keep the stress at bay. Whether it’s eating, exercising, music, meditation, yoga or cooking, everyone tries to find a way to keep stress levels low and stay sane in these last few days. To all the seniors graduating in a couple weeks, kudos! You’re almost there.

Although this might seem counterintuitive, my best recommendation for keeping stress at a manageable level is sleep. Sleeping is the best way to reduce the effect stress has on our body. Of course, eating healthy and being as active as possible help immensely too!

First off, stress. What really is it, and how does it affect me? In reality, a certain amount of stress is actually healthy — it keeps us alert and ready to avoid danger. However, experiencing continuous stress without enough relaxation or rest can be extremely harmful to the body.

Image via www.today.ttu.edu

Image via www.today.ttu.edu

Stress can cause headaches, upset stomach, fatigue, chest pains, skin conditions, high blood pressure and sleeping problems. Apart from effects on the body, stress can also affect a person’s mood and behavior. Anxiety, restlessness, lack of focus, irritability and even sadness are common effects of stress.

This is why sleep during these last couple of weeks is imperative to anyone’s health if they’re experiencing higher levels of stress. There are a multitude of benefits that come from sleep. Sleeping can help improve memory, reduce inflammation across the body by reducing inflammatory proteins in the blood, spike creativity, help stamina, sharpen attention and improve your mood.

A couple interesting facts about stress, according to WebMD:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a workplace hazard. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

When going to the doctor, many people think they are treating the cause — but in reality, it’s only the symptoms they’re curing. It’s a never-ending cycle!

Being smart about your sleep has so many benefits, it’s hard to see why you wouldn’t do it. Napping and getting your eight hours of sleep during finals will help you tackle these last days successfully.

Don’t forget, stress can be dangerous if it goes unchecked. Make sure you’re sleeping, drinking plenty of water and being as active as possible to ensure you make it to graduation — or simply just summer break — in one piece!

Fight the stress and stay healthy, Devils!

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