Sleep, Stress & Weight

Sleep, Stress & Weight

Stress affects everyone differently. Some people stress eat while others lose sleep. Keeping stress, sleep, and diet in balance is key. When it comes to chronic sleep problems, your metabolism can be affected by cortisol levels in the body. Learn more about how to stop stress eating.

Elise Vader is a physician’s assistant at University Health. Vader says stress can be stimulating and can keep you awake at night.

“If you’re carrying those high levels of cortisol into sleep, and this is going on for long periods of time, we think it starts to affect your circadian rhythm,” Vader said. 

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

The amount of sleep you need is determined by several factors, primarily your age. 

  • Infants up to 12 months: 12-16 hours 
  • Toddlers up to 2 years old: 11-14 hours
  • Preschool up to 5 years: 10-13 hours
  • School-age up to 12: 9-12
  • Teenagers: 8-10 hours
  • Adults: 7 hours

Tips to Improve Sleep

“If you’re lying in bed and you’re worrying about everything that happened today or everything that you have to take care of tomorrow, it’s probably going to prevent you from falling asleep,” Vader said. 

There are many ways to reduce stress and get better sleep, including:

  • Create a more relaxed mental state
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid smoking
  • Exercise during the day

“Being social, going out with family and friends can also reduce stress,” Vader said. 

Sleep Studies at University Health

If you still feel tired throughout the day, you may have a sleep disorder. Learn about the sleep labs at University Health.

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