5 Tips to Stop Stress Impacting Sleep
With the fast paced environment of the modern world, it’s little wonder that many of us are paying the consequences and getting less sleep. Whether it’s a loved one, financial problems, work issues, or something else entirely, a study in 2014 found that 72% of us blame our sleep problems on stress. If we don’t get the sleep that is required, we aren’t going to feel as fresh or as sharp as the modern world demands. Unfortunately, a study found that we get an hour and a half of sleep less each night than we did 25 years ago. Up to a quarter of the population claim they suffer from disrupted sleep, with 45% citing work stress as the main issue.
A natural response to daily life, the right amount of stress keeps us alert and energetic. Too much of it can cause us to become tense and anxious. Common signs of stress can include anxiety, depression, sleep problems, poor concentration, and work mistakes. As a result of the modern world becoming a more stressful environment, it is important that we learn to recognise and manage our stress.
Before you can manage your stress, you must understand where it is coming from. Examine your physical condition and your lifestyle habits. Are you suffering from financial problems? Do you feel overwhelmed at work? Are there any ongoing family issues? Once you’ve identified the source of your stress, you can take steps to reduce it.
Discard Your Thoughts
One problem which many of us suffer from is an overly busy mind. We can often find ourselves lying in bed with a “to do” keeping us awake. Before going to bed, try and note down as many of your thoughts as possible. By making a log of our thoughts in a safe place, we can allow our mind to release them. If you still find your mind wandering in the evening, focus on your breathing techniques. By focusing on your breathing, your mind will start to wander and then choose to let go of that thought and come back to your breathing. You’ll soon find yourself feeling calmer, putting yourself in a good position to fall asleep.
Try Some Relaxation Techniques
Begin practising yoga or meditation in the evening. The focused breathing and mindfulness can reduce our levels of cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone. By regularly practising yoga, we can reduce our stress and anxiety levels, therefore increasing the quality of our sleep.
Take a Warm Bath
Before you get into bed, take a warm bath that will help to relax your muscles. Try and leave an hour between your bath and getting into bed, this will allow time for your body temperature to drop to normal levels. Although you want to relax your muscles, you don’t want to overheat your body.
Lavender is known as an age-old calming and relaxing herb, often used to battle anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Recent studies have found that using lavender scent can increase the amount of time spent in deep sleep. Try and place a couple of droplets of lavender oil on your pillow in the evening. You could even place the droplets in your warm evening bath.
Amend Your Diet
Have you ever heard of the phrase “you are what you eat”? Junk food and refined sugars which are low in nutrition but high in calories can leave us feeling sluggish. By introducing a healthy diet which is low in sugars and fats can reduce stress by promoting a healthier outlook on life.