It’s a widespread problem that is likely only going to get worse: stress makes it hard for people to sleep on a nightly basis. According to recent surveys, 19% of Americans have difficulty falling asleep, and 29% of people wake up before they want to, which in many cases is due to sleep apnea, These same stressed sensations that can make people imagine nightmares woke them can cause them to grab on to work, financial, or family stress as a reason for their racing heart and sudden wakefulness.

Here’s some advice to help you overcome stress to get better sleep.

Don’t Self-Medicate

People often turn to alcohol to help them deal with stress. Although alcohol can deaden thoughts of stressors and make you feel sleepy, it will actually hurt your sleep. You may fall asleep, but your sleep quality will be worse–along with snoring and sleep apnea–and you’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night.

Have a Buffer between Work and Sleep

One growing problem is that many of us don’t have a clear segregation between work and home. Email and smartphones as well as a changing workplace mean that more and more of us are expected to be available at all hours of the day and night to respond to work concerns. This may be good for business, but it’s bad for sleep.

Put your work aside an hour or two before going to sleep. Stop checking email and text messages. If you don’t have the willpower to keep from doing this, put your smartphone away. Unless you’re a medical professional or otherwise have to be on call, never take your phone into the bedroom.

Talk It out

Communicating your stress to someone can really help reduce your stress levels. Ideally, a spouse, significant other, or friend is a great audience, but it’s not always easy to share all our concerns this way. If you don’t have anyone you can share your problems with, consider counseling.

Treat Snoring and Sleep Apnea

As we mentioned above, sleep apnea can make you wake up many times during the night. If you then have stress to keep you awake, you may lose a lot of sleep every night. And even if you’re not waking up (that you know of), snoring and sleep apnea are signs that you’re not breathing properly during sleep, which means your sleep quality is lower.

This also includes snoring by your partner, which can be just as damaging to your sleep as your own snoring. Don’t invest in earplugs or move to another room to try to escape the sound, snoring can be life-threatening, and the worse the sound, the worse the problem.

If you are having trouble sleeping because of snoring or sleep apnea, please call (402) 493-4175 today for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.