help young adults sleep

How to Help Young Adults Overcome Stress & Insufficient Sleep

Do you have a grumpy and moody young adult? Chances are they’re stressed or sleep-deprived.

Sleeping is a crucial part of human functioning. When sleep-deprived, our brain activity changes and it affects our behaviors and mood. When we’re stressed, our body goes on a “flight-or-fight” response and releases a burst of hormones. If you don’t learn to manage stress, your body will be on a continuous heightened alert until it results in health problems like heart disease, obesity, and depression. 

In managing better sleep quality and stress, there is no one-shoe-fits-all strategy. Some practice mindfulness meditation, exercise, or use essential oils, and practice other lifestyle changes. 

Can Sleep Help Reduce Stress? 

Stress and sleep are closely linked. When you follow a regular sleep schedule, it can help you manage your stress better. Sleep calms and restores your focus, mood, and sharpens your mind. Adolescents who are well-rested are more likely to cope with stress better. Meanwhile, you’re more likely to have trouble sleeping when you’re stressed. 

A 2013 survey by the APA (American Psychological Association) showed that respondents report higher stress levels when the quality and length of their sleep decreases. It also noted that sleep deprivation could lead to health issues such as obesity and high blood pressure.

According to the survey, those who lack sleep often experience the following: 

  • More stressed
  • Feel sad or depressed
  • irritable
  • feel sluggish or lazy
  • Trouble concentrating

The research also suggests that if people had an extra 60 to 90 minutes of sleep per night, they could be more likely to be happier, healthier, and safer.

Causes Of Stress and Lack of Sleep In Young Adults

There are many causes of stress among young people. Reasons for stress differ from person to person depending on our life situation and personal resilience. But there are causes of stress that are common to young adults. 

Here are a few of them:

  • Money problems – Many young adults often find themselves struggling with financial concerns. 
  • Expectations and pressure to succeed – Unlike older people who are already have established careers, young people often feel the pressure to achieve more. 
  • Comparing themselves with others – Another cause of stress among young people is comparing themselves with their peers.
  • Pressure over jobs and careers – Younger people are more likely to feel pressured over work-related stress. Since this is the time when they’re still building their careers and finding stable jobs, many young adults feel they have less control and are pressured to take on big roles.

Ways To Help Young Adults Manage Stress And Insufficient Sleep

Since stress can result in an unhealthy lifestyle and affects your overall well-being, it’s important to learn to manage it. Here are some ways that may help young adults manage their sleep:

  • Learn to recognize stress – The first step to managing stress is understanding its cause. Recognizing the source of stress is a key factor in avoiding or addressing it. 
  • Set your goals and aspirations – Stress can lead to negative thoughts and affect your relationships and professional life. When you don’t have a goal, chances are you’ll feel unmotivated and depressed. Make realistic goals and maintain a positive attitude. 
  • Get enough sunlight – More exposure to sunlight can promote a better good night’s sleep. Enough daylight can also help in reducing stress and depression. 
  • Engage in relaxation or meditation techniques – Yoga, meditations, and other relaxation techniques can help improve stress in our bodies. When done correctly, it relaxes our stressed muscles and improves our breathing. Many yoga techniques focus on sleep improvement and relaxation. If yoga isn’t for you, you can simply sit down and listen to relaxing and soothing music. It can calm down your senses and improve your stress levels. 
  • Exercise – Many experts have advised regular exercise to help address stress and anxiety. According to the ADAA (The Anxiety and Depression Association of America), stress impacts the brain and affects the rest of the body. When we exercise, happy hormones like endorphins are released to help reduce stress and improve sleep. 
  • Have a support system – A support system can be your family, friends, partners, or co-workers who understand and know you well. By maintaining communication, you can reach out for emotional support. Some people also find comfort in joining online communities or religious groups.
  • Reach out to a professional – When things get out of hand, it may be best for a doctor for better professional advice. 

It’s crucial for young people to manage their stress so that they can function well. Those people who are having lack sleep due to stress can reach out and seek help.