There’s no avoiding stress altogether, but there is relief available every night. Sleep is an antidote for stress and provides the restorative help you need to face each new day.
Stress affects our mind and body and it’s important to unplug and refresh regularly so you can manage stress better.
There are many strategies that can help you manage stress so that it doesn’t interfere with sleep. Taking time to relax and wind down before bed is important to sleeping well and eliminating the stress of the day. A period of quiet time before bed allows you to step away from daily worries and set them aside before sleep. Try taking a warm shower or bath, getting a massage or doing some light stretching before bed. Certain scents or teas can even help you relax.
These peaceful activities can release physical tension and encourage the onset of sleep. If you find yourself struggling with stress and worry during the night, the following bedtime rituals can help.
- Decide. Try to sort out worries and concerns before bedtime. Choose a time during the day to deal with the stress you’re facing, and keep bedtime a worry-free zone. If you find yourself carrying stress to bed with you, keep a notepad on the bedside table where you can write down your concerns and set them aside before sleep.
- Stay organized. Keeping a clean office, home, and car can help you relieve some of the stress of your day. Clutter can lead to unnecessary stress when you can’t find an important document or the car keys.
- Learn to meditate. Meditation has been known to relieve stress and improve sleep.
- Be grateful. Taking time every day to give thanks for things that are good and comforting to you can help ease stress. Create a practice of giving thanks before bed for the great things that happened during the day.
- Try breathing exercises. Breathing techniques can help you relax. Slow your breathing and start to relax by inhaling to a count of four, holding your breath for a count of eight, and exhaling on another count of four.
Let’s face it, there’s always going to be stress in our lives. And a little stress never hurt anyone. Cortisol actually helps you find food and run away from unsafe situations. You just need to take the time to find out what daily stressors are affecting your sleep and how to handle it. By taking steps in your daily routine to make sure you get the proper amount of rest, you’re already well on your way to dealing with stress in a healthy way. With attention and practice, you can break the sleep-stress cycle, both to feel better and sleep better.