Stress and sleep can easily coincide with each other. High stress levels can keep us from getting healthy sleep. At the same time, not getting enough sleep can make us more stressed out. So, what is the balance when it comes to how to reduce stress and sleep well?
We live in a stressful and noisy world. Schedules are busier than ever. Technology may make things easier, but it can also add to our anxiety levels. Plus, we don’t always practice healthy sleep habits as much as we should.
Finding the balance between stress and sleep can be made easier with a few helpful tips. Some lifestyle changes are all that it usually takes. Once you’re able to do that, sleeping better at night doesn’t have to feel like such a luxury – it can be the norm.
Reducing Stress to Sleep Well at Night
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, seven out of ten adults experience stress of some kind every day. One-third of those adults experience persistent stress or anxiety, and seven out of ten claims that it affects their ability to sleep well.
What does stress have to do with sleep? It can be emotionally upsetting. It also triggers physical responses in our bodies. These responses cause tension and increase arousal in the mind and body. That causes you to feel awake and alert.
When your body is in a state that is ready for action, it’s used as a defense mechanism. However, you’re trying to defend yourself against the stressors of your mind which isn’t always easy.
Getting better sleep starts with reducing stress levels throughout your day. There are also several techniques you can add to your routine to help you relax and sleep better.
Ways to Minimize Stress during the Day
Whether it’s work, family, hobbies, or a little bit of everything, every day can add to your level of stress. Sometimes, it is unavoidable. But, managing it in certain ways can be helpful. Not only will these habits allow you to sleep better, but you may see other health improvements, too.
Try these tips to reduce your stress throughout the day:
- Single-task your day. With so many things going on in our lives, it’s tempting to multitask as much as possible. But, that can lead to extra stress. Focus on one thing at a time whenever possible. Then, move onto the next task.
- Write as much down as you can. One of the biggest culprits of stress is the idea that we will forget something. So, keep a journal or small notebook with you at all times. Whenever you have something you need to remember; a date, a meeting, or even an idea, jot it down. When you know you have everything important on paper, you can reduce your worries of forgetfulness.
- Make a to-do list. This can go along with completing one task at a time. Work through a list each day, so you know what you have to do and you can feel accomplished when it’s done. With that in mind, keep the list relatively short. A to-do list should be realistic, not overwhelming.
- Find a work-rest balance. Taking small breaks throughout the day can avoid stress from building up. Try working hard for 45 minutes, then taking a 15-minute break. You can use that time to take a walk, eat something, etc.
- Unplug devices. It may seem impossible in this digital world, but the less screen time, the better. A good rule of thumb is to turn off your cell phone over the weekend, or at least for one day a week.
- Do something you enjoy. If you constantly fill your schedule with obligations, it’s easy to become stressed. Make time for yourself at least once a week, if not more.
- Go to the gym. If you go to the gym late in the evening, it’s unlikely to do you at harm. You’ll benefit most if you train in the late afternoon. It’s an effective way to release any hidden stress and anger.
How to Reduce Stress Levels before Bed
In addition to alleviating stress throughout the day, there are things you can do before bed to relax and unwind, too.
These tips can help you de-stress, and get better sleep:
- Give yourself 7 to 9 hours for a full night’s sleep.
- Taking a melatonin sleep aid can help you to get a better night’s rest.
- Develop a nighttime routine. It should consist of things that relax you. Listening to quiet music, reading, meditating, or even yoga could be a solution. It should be personal to what makes you calm down and de-stress. As you fall into the routine, you’ll get more used to sleep coming at the end of it.
- Try to avoid napping throughout the day.
- Keep your bedroom for sleeping. Don’t eat, watch television, or read where you sleep.
- Create a relaxing sleep environment. Make sure your bedroom is dark enough and cool enough for comfort.
- Only go to bed when you’re tired. A designated bedtime may not be beneficial if you’re going to toss and turn while wide awake.
- Leave stressors outside the bedroom. Clear your mind before getting into bed.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol too close to bedtime.
- Create a better sleep environment with a continuous white noise machine.
Reducing Stress to Sleep Better at Night
It seems unlikely that the stresses of life will ever go away completely. Getting more sleep can help to reduce your stress levels during the day. But, if you’re too stressed to sleep at night, making some lifestyle and behavioral choices will benefit you.
Use these tips to reduce stress and sleep better at night. Better sleep starts during the day. By finding ways to de-stress throughout your day, you’ll set yourself up for more relaxation in the evening. If you can find a way to make bedtime even more relaxing, do what works for you.