Research has shown that there is a close connection between stress and sleep.
For some, this can feel like a vicious cycle.
“Stress leads to a loss of sleep and a loss of sleep leads to an increase in stress,” writes Sherrie Bourg Carter in PsychologyToday.com.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified perceived feelings of stress – and as a result, poor sleep.
An estimated 1 in 2 Canadian adults have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep. And while there are a number of factors related to bad sleep, stress is one of the leading causes.
Many are facing an abundance of competing pressures like never before – adapting to new teaching and learning technologies, managing COVID protocols in schools, balancing life/work priorities, and the list goes on.
There’s no doubt these are stressful and challenging times.
But it’s important to understand that good sleep is not just a luxury, it’s a necessity.
Sleep plays a critical role in our mental and physical health. It’s when our bodies have a chance to recharge. So, how much sleep is needed to feel recharged? Well, that’s up to you.
Experts recommend that we look at individual needs, lifestyle and habits. The right amount of sleep for one may be different than for others. Try seeing what’s right by how you react to different amounts of sleep – how’s your mood and energy after six hours of sleep versus seven or eight. This can be a good indicator of how much sleep is needed.
To help get a better night’s sleep, here are some tips1:
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed
- Keep your bedtime and waketime regular
- Stay active by exercising regularly
- Practice relaxation and mindfulness techniques
Don’t forget that you are in control. Stress may be inevitable, but you can control how you approach and deal with stressful situations.
If sleepless nights and feelings of stress continue, contact your health-care provider or local public health unit for resources and support.
As we monitor the COVID-19 situation, we continue to provide plan information and resources. For more information on self-care resources or to access frequently asked questions regarding the benefits plan and COVID-related changes, visit www.otip.com/coronavirus.
You can also check your benefits booklet to see which service providers are covered by your plan to support self-care. Your benefits booklet includes benefit plan terms and coverage details, and is updated on a regular basis to reflect any changes or updates. If you need more information that is not already covered in your benefits booklet or online, contact OTIP Benefits Services at 1-866-783-6847.
This article is part of the Self-care and well-being campaign. Visit otip.com/wellbeing2 for more information on the campaign and upcoming activities.
 Are Canadian adults getting enough sleep?. Public Health Agency of Canada. 2019.