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Too much stress to sleep? Try scheduling better

Anyone who has ever said that working full time and going to school is easy, must be as close to super-human as it gets. For the past two and a half years I’ve been doing it and every single day I ask myself why. Well, once I made it through the first semester I figured – “I might as well go ahead because I already paid for a semester”. Four semesters later when I took ‘internal uses of accounting’, I found out that after you pay for something it’s considered a ‘sunk cost’, so you shouldn’t base your decisions on what you’ve already paid for. But by then it was really too late; I put myself through so much misery already I just had to finish my masters for posterity sake.

Well, I’m barreling down on my last semester here and also recovering from a serious medical setback, and things are getting more stressful than ever. While I was ill for three months my doctor prescribed me Ambien CR, for my sleep issues. It seemed like a good idea at the time; just take a little blue pill and sleep through the night, in no time you’ll feel better. After taking the medication every night to sleep for the past three months I’m now trying to limit my usage and I’m releasing just how difficult that is. Every night I feel like a crack-fiend, dividing the tiny blue pill in half and swallowing it down before bedtime. More often then not, an hour later I have to go back for the other half.

I realize that stress is partly to blame for my insomnia and doing things to alleviate the stress would probably help me sleep better, however I don’t see my stress level decreasing significantly until I finish school. What should I do in the meantime?

On the National Sleep Foundation’s website I found the following tips which I’ll be trying in order to help myself get better sleep, maybe you’ll find them useful as well.

• Maintain a regular bed and wake-up time, even on weekends
• Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or hot tub and then reading a book or listening to soothing music
• Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
• Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow
• Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex
• Finish eating 2-3 hours before going to bed
• Exercise regularly, ensuring completion of your workout at least two hours prior to bedtime
• Avoid consuming caffeine before bedtime
• Avoid using nicotine before bedtime
• Avoid alcohol before bedtime

Additionally, the foundation’s site recommends keeping a sleep journal noting what kinds of problems you are having. This will be useful when discussing the issue with your doctor.

Too much stress to sleep? Try scheduling better


Jennifer Bechdel

Jennifer Bechdel, MBA is a freelance and technical writer, as well as a marketing consultant. She focuses on workplace issues, stress, and unemployment topics.


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APA Reference
Bechdel, J. (2018). Too much stress to sleep? Try scheduling better. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 18, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/too-much-stress-to-sleep/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.