November 11, 2017
You know that you should already be dozing off at this hour. It’s nearly 12 a.m. and you have an important meeting at 8 a.m. in the office. But for some reason, your mind is way too tired to sleep. Chances are, you’re too stressed for a much-needed shut eye. According to the National Sleep Foundation, stress can be a culprit behind your sleeping difficulties. “Stress causes hyperarousal, which can upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness,” it noted. The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) commissioned a survey to assess the impact of stress and anxiety on sleep. The findings show that more half of adults with a stress-induced sleep problem experience it several times per week. Moreover, three-fourths of adults suffering from sleep difficulties due to stress or anxiety say that their sleep problems aggravated their stress and anxiety.
The root problem with stress-induced sleep problem is stress. So unless you learn to manage your stress level, you’ll have difficulty getting quality zzz’s at night. But don’t worry. There are ways to help you in your predicament. Here are five tips on how to reduce stress and sleep better.
You’re not expected to resolve all your worries before you hit the sack. All you need to do is to take your mind off your daytime stressors to help you get a good night’s sleep. How? By adopting a bedtime routine.
Try this: at least an hour before your scheduled bedtime, disconnect from any electronic gadget (smartphone, laptop, etc.). These gadgets emit light that keep your brain alert, making it difficult to fall asleep. You might also be tempted to check on work emails with your tablet on hand. Then, have a warm shower. This will help lower your body temperature to induce sleepiness. “A warm shower helps initiate that sleepy, tired feeling prior to bedtime because the resulting drop in body temperature slows down metabolic functions like heart rate, breathing, and digestion,” shared Greatist.com.
The key in this sleep solution is consistency. Keep your bedtime routine even during weekends and holidays.
Sleeping while stressed is not an insurmountable task. Stress has become a part of modern-day lifestyle. Most people even consider it a norm. Science, however, warns that stress can cause obesity, heart problems, and cancers. You may not be able to totally get rid of stress, but you can definitely learn how to manage it. Getting your stressors under control is a process. There is no one method; you can do a combination of tested techniques.
Regular exercise has been proven to aid in reducing stress and helping get better zzz’s at night. As study published in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggest that moderate endurance exercise can help one sleep soundly at night. But take note of the recommended time to sweat out in the gym for optimal sleep. Strenuous workouts in the late evening boost the body temperature and stimulate the senses, making it tough to fall asleep at bedtime. Schedule your gym trip early in the morning or before dinner time.
There’s a long line of studies enumerating the amazing benefits of drinking coffee such as cancer prevention, lower cholesterol, and fighting liver diseases. Having a max of four cups of coffee per day is healthy, according to scientists.
Many people blame caffeine for their inability to easily fall asleep. But it’s undeniably a lifeline during stressful days. A study suggests that drinking coffee increases the level of the stress hormone cortisol. Caffeine stays in your bloodstream for six hours, meaning your cortisol are at elevated levels during this period. So avoid this beverage at least six hours before your bedtime to help you fall asleep on time. Opt for hot tea or milk after dinner instead.
Since time immemorial, chamomile has been used for many ailments including fever, inflammation, menstrual disorders, and gastrointestinal problems, among others. It’s also used as a mild sedative to calm the nerves, reduce anxiety, and stimulate sleep. Have a cup of steaming chamomile tea after a warm bath before bedtime and feel sleepiness creep into your system in 30 to 45 minutes.
Looking at your clock every 20 minutes will not help you fall asleep. It can worsen your brain’s hyperarousal in the middle of the night. Stressing over the fact that you can’t sleep will only keep you from falling asleep. Here are sleeping tips if your worries are way above your head:
Your bedroom is your sanctuary. It’s where you shed all your inhibitions without fear of judgment from the world outside. It’s just proper that you leave your stressors outside your bedroom door. Create a conducive sleeping environment. Make sure your mattress gives your body support and your pillows and bed sheets are clean and comfortable. Keep the room temperature low to facilitate sleep. The body temperature drops at the onset of sleep. When you reach the rapid eye movement (REM) stage, in which memory consolidation and muscle repair take place, the brain lets the body temperature adjust to how warm or cool your bedroom is. A hot room can disrupt your sleep especially when you start sweating and feeling uncomfortable.
For some people, bedtime can be a dreary part of the day/night especially among insomnia sufferers. Staring at the ceiling for hours waiting for sleep to come can be exasperating. But don’t lose hope. Take advantage of science-backed sleeping tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.