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Poor sleep and stress: the impact and the spa treatments that can help

We all know that sleep has a profound impact on how we feel. We also know that long term stress and sleep problems can also have a more serious impact on our health and wellbeing. But what’s the relationship between sleep and stress?

Why do we sleep badly when we’re stressed?

Stress can have lots of different connotations, but a known issue is that it can impact the quality and quantity of sleep. Why? It’s because of all the hormones it has racing around your body in a bid to tackle the stressful problem. Not a particular issue if it’s short term. In fact, it can be extremely helpful - in the unlikely event you’re being chased by a bear, for example. Less helpful however, is when it’s concerning the ongoing stresses of the daily grind. The ones that have no end in sight.

  • The autonomic nervous system (ANS) releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.
  • These hormones raise the heart rate to circulate blood to vital organs and muscles more efficiently, preparing the body to take immediate action.
  • This reaction is known as the fight-or-flight response. It can often cause rapid, anxious thoughts to occur at night.
  • The knock on effect is that poor sleep then causes you to feel more stressed. So it’s an endless cycle.

What’s the impact of a lack of sleep?

The impact of sleep deprivation or poor sleep can vary. Most of us have suffered a late night or two and felt tired, irritable and foggy as a result. No big deal on the odd occasion. But research highlights that lots of us are probably suffering from long term sleep problems leading to a ‘sleep deficit’, which is a bit more of a concern.

The short term impact includes:

  • Irritability
  • Low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • General inability to function well

In the long term it’s also linked to the risk of more serious conditions including:

  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney disease

Spa treatments can help you sleep better

While it won’t solve all your problems, getting a better night’s sleep is one of the ways to relieve stress and improve overall wellbeing. In essence, if you can find the time to relax and slow down before you go to bed, it should help you to sleep well. That’s what a spa treatment can really help you to do. The key is looking for a treatment designed to help you relax.

How to choose the right spa treatment to help you sleep?

  • Make sure it’s one that’s designed to help you relax rather than to feel energised. All essential oils and massage techniques are designed to have a different impact. Geranium essential oil for example could keep you wide awake!
  • Choose a treatment that’s at least 50 minutes long to really help you unwind.
  • Make sure you leave time before your treatment to enjoy the spa facilities and relax into the experience. Then make time afterwards to continue the feel good factor and remain in heady, sleepy bliss in the relaxation room.
  • Drink plenty of water after your treatment.

Why not try…

Cloud 9 at IDW Esperanza Resort and Spa in Lithuania

Appropriately named for our digital age, Cloud 9 was created when an artist from Vienna used sha philosophy and holistic treatments to create a machine that enables full relaxation of the body and soul. A much-needed experience in the face of daily tensions, stress, and intense emotions. Cloud 9 imitates two clouds floating above each other to form a pleasant environment: Sky decorations, mild flowing lights and colours, sound compositions reminiscent of deep breathing, and light rocking. All together this evokes a warm and cozy cradle; 20 minutes of time spent this way is equivalent to two hours of deep sleep.


Pranayama sessions at Grayshott Spa in Surrey

Not a treatment as such, but a breathing technique that Grayshott Spa specialises in. Breathing is a big part of mental health and how well we sleep. Grayshott Spa offers pranayama sessions that really look at your breathing and help provide you with the ability to control it. That, in turn, has an impact on your capacity to control your emotional reactions.


Aromatherapy massage at Lough Eske Castle, Ireland

Never underestimate the power of a good massage. Bringing it together with aromatherapy on a whole new level, this luxury spa offers The Real Aromatherapy Experience. It is a complete body and mind treatment. You choose your essential oil to balance your physical and emotional needs and leave you feeling deeply relaxed.


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