Make Your Bedroom A Sacred Space
To promote calm, you should not have any other activities going on in your room beyond whatever happens in bed. This means you should not have a desk, computer, television or exercise equipment in your room. Make sure the space is tidyno dirty laundry scattered everywhere. No papers waiting for your quick perusal before sleep. All of these things are reminders of all of the things that are yet to be done. If your mind is focused on them it will not be surrendering to a restful state.
Instead, keep your room tidy. Have light blocking curtains on the windows and dimming lights. Make your room and home a stress-free environment that invites rest.
Turn Your Lights Off At The Same Time Every Night
Aim to go to bed around the same time every night, whatever that is. Some studies have found that the actual time you sleep doesnt matterits more about regularly going to sleep at the same time every night. This is, of course, a controversial idea, but it stands to reason that consistency is key when developing a healthy sleep routine, so figure out what works best for your schedule and stick to it!
How To Use The Power Of Your Mind And Body To Reduce Stress And Sleep Better
Melanie Badali, PhD, RPsych
Reprinted from the “Mind-Body Connection” issue of Visions Journal, 2014, 10 , p. 21
Have you ever been so stressed out that you cant fall asleep? Have you had problems sleeping that caused you stress? Sleep difficulties occur naturally in response to stress. Sleep difficulties can also cause stress. Minds and bodies can become aroused and difficult to calm down in both types of situations.
Stress is associated with emotional upset and body tension. Both increase arousal, which is a state of being awake and ready for action.
Arousal alerts and prepares the body to deal with danger. If you actually are in danger, you want to be awake and prepared to fight or run away. If you were a wild animal and you fell asleep when a predator was around, you wouldnt survive very long. But youre not a wild animal. Running away, hiding or fighting are probably not the best strategies for dealing with the types of stressors you face .
The way you view yourself and the world, or what your minds eye sees, can influence how your body reacts. If you see a large dog and hear it barking loudly and running toward you, you may perceive the threat level differently if you know the dog to be friendly than you would if its unknown to you. If it was your pet, you could interpret the dogs barks as excitement.
Envisioning stress as a balancing act between perceived demands and perceived resources allows you to view stress management as the process of:
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Dont Lie In Bed Awake
Lying awake will only give your brain time to start another firestorm of worries and anxieties.
If you cant fall asleep after 20 minutes or so, try restarting that bedtime routine.
Dont turn on bright lights, of course, but go do a low-stress activity like pet your cat or drink a cup of tea for a few minutes to help give your body another chance at winding down for the night.
Visualize The Good Things In Your Life
The power of your imagination can help get you to a place of ease when youre fretting.
Visualization of positive events and relationships in your life will help you increase your connection to positive emotions that are also lying around within you, but you have to work at accessing them when the anxious feelings or thoughts have already shown up, says Cummins.
Calming your body is integral to calming your mind.
Joy Rains, a certified life coach and the author of “Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind”, recommends a progressive relaxation exercise you can do in bed.
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Stress And Sleep How To Master Stress And Enjoy Restful Sleep Instantly
The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research estimates that approximately 40 million Americans have some kind of sleep disorder. This encompasses a wide range of illnesses and conditions that include insomnia, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
Sleep-related disorders are on the rise and many illnesses that people are suffering from during the day, may be connected to poor sleep, at night.
Depression, weight gain and high blood pressure are just a few of the health issues that can be related to insufficient sleep and the connection between poor sleep and stress can be a cyclical one.
Too much stress can cause you to have a bad sleep, leading to mental and physical health issues which can, in turn, cause stress in daily life, leading to poor sleep at night.
Understanding how stress and sleep are connected is the path to getting a handle on the problem and learning how to manage stress during the day can only help improve your overall health and wellness and, hopefully, lead to better sleep, too.
Try Some Natural Relaxation And Wellness Techniques
Meditation, yoga and other relaxation techniques have all proved effective for stress and sleep disorders. There are plenty of guided meditations and yoga routines geared specifically to those with problems sleeping.
Take some time out of your busy day to wind down at the end of it.Even if you have only 10 minutes for a short meditation before you go to bed, you may see a positive result.
You dont need any special skills or to follow any religious dogma, so give it a try. No time? Fall asleep to music or nature sounds geared especially for deep sleep. Here are a few of our favourites:
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Stress Relief Techniques To The Rescue
Activities that switch on the bodys natural relaxation response feel great, Buenaver says. And they have been proven by research to improve sleep. They help by reducing the release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and by slowing your heart rate and breathing. Your body and mind calm down.
Yoga, tai chi and meditation are helpful stress relief techniques. So are these two simple exercises that Buenaver recommends to patients who are struggling with sleepless nights.
- In a quiet place, sit or lie down in a comfortable position. It may help to close your eyes.
- Breathe slowly in and out for about five minutes. As you inhale, breathe down into your belly. Focus on your breath.
- If youd like, repeat to yourself, Breathing in I am calm, breathing out I am coping.
Progressive muscle relaxation:
- In a quiet place, sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
- Take a few gentle breaths, in and out.
- Begin tensing groups of muscles one at a time as you breathe. Hold the tension as you inhale, then release it as you exhale. Take a few breaths as you notice how relaxed each muscle group feels.
- Start with the muscles in your head, neck and face. Move down to your shoulders, hands and arms, back, stomach, buttocks, thighs, calves and feet.
- Repeat for any areas that are still tense.
As you go through this exercise, feel the presence and absence of tension so you can spot lingering tension and do something about it, Buenaver says.
Focus On Something Positive
If all the stressful moments of the day are replaying in your mind, shut them down by thinking about something positive. “Say three positive affirmations about yourself, the day today, or the day tomorrow,” Rogers says. “Get in a positive mindset so your mind doesn’t fill with negative thoughts as you are winding down.”
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Take Relaxation Breaks During The Day
This one is simple: Try taking at least one 15-minute relaxation break during the day. Going for a short walk or even taking time away from staring at a screen can help keep your body in balance . Try to remember that life is short and balance is the goal. Do your best to leave your stresses behind, and you’ll be sleeping like a rock in no time.
Quit Caffeine By Noon
Caffeine’s effects vary from person to person, but in general, if you are having trouble sleeping, caffeine could be the culprit. If youre caffeine-sensitive, try completely eliminating it for a month and see if that improves your sleep. Also consider sneaky sources of caffeine such as chocolate, tea, and soda, and instead opt for water, herbal tea, and herbal coffee substitutes.
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Create A Bedtime Routine
We all thrive on routine- its a calming force, particularly in times like these, when the rest of our routines and circumstances seem so up in the air and out of our control. Creating a bedtime routine for yourself not only helps to train your body into knowing when its time to wind down for sleep, but it can also be calming and centering for us. It doesnt have to be long or elaborate, just a few consistent steps that help you to feel grounded and on schedule.
Put Your Phone To Bed
Just say no to doomscrolling before bed the practice of taking in a barrage of bad news online. Give your phone a bedtime before your own, Dr. Albers advises.
And if anxiety keeps you awake or wakes you up, resist the temptation to break this rule and start using your phone. Your phones blue light signals your brain to turn back on, ultimately making it even harder to get to sleep.
This is a No. 1 no-no for helping you fall back to sleep, Dr. Albers warns.
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Hatch Rest+ Sound Machine And Nightlight
Full disclosure: The Rest+ is technically designed for kids but hear me out. When I used it, it helped me sleep better than it helped my son sleep.
My brother bought it for my son for Christmas and at the time, my son was still sleeping in a bassinet in our room, so I set up the Rest+ near my bed and it didnt take long for me to become dependent on it.
I found the sound machine features incredibly soothing, though other people might find the white noise feature more soothing.
Sound machines can give your brain something for your racing thoughts to focus on and listen to as you lay down to sleep.
The color night light might also be helpful, as you can program it to match your bedtime routine and program the light to slowly dim as you drift off to sleep.
If you prefer not to get a product meant for kids, the company also recently came out with the Hatch Restore aimed at adults specifically. It has many of these same helpful features to create a bedtime routine without any of the baby-focused ones.
Shop for the Hatch Rest+ and Restore.
Tips To Create A Restful Environment For A Good Nights Sleep
Your bedroom should feel like a sleep oasis â stress and distraction-free. While creating the right environment is, to a certain extent, a matter of personal preference, sleep experts offer these sleep hygiene suggestions that are backed by science.
1. The ideal room for sleep is cool and dark. Most experts agree that the sweet spot for temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, 73% of Americans say the darker the room the better. 65% of people use shades, curtains, or blinds to block unwanted light.
2. Peace and quiet make for bedroom bliss. 74% percent of Americans think that quiet is crucial for getting good sleep. That said, many people rely on âwhite noiseâ or some type of ambient sound to help mask disruptive noises like car horns or highway traffic. You can also use a fan or try one of the many soothing sleepcasts or some sleep music from the Sleep experience in the Headspace app. Sleepcasts run about 45 minutes and can help create a relaxing, peaceful environment for sleep. Help create an environment that’s conducive for a restful night’s sleep â .
5. Pick the perfect pillow for you.Pillow fill is important to consider if you suffer from allergies. Fills vary from natural choices like feathers to synthetics like rayon, foam, or latex. Look for pillows that are hypoallergenic to lessen the chance of nighttime congestion and sniffles that can keep you awake.
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Turn Off Your Electronics
Watching TV in bed or scrolling on our phones are both popular pre-bed activities for many of us, but this screen time can wreak havoc on our sleep and further aggravate our stress . Screen time in general makes it difficult to sleep because the blue light emitted from our screens is similar to daylight and can trick our brains into thinking that its time to be awake.
Additionally, the content were consuming on our devices is often stimulating, so it keeps us wired and unable to switch into sleep mode. While this may be a lifestyle change for many, it is important to put all devices away 1-2 hours before bed to let yourself wind down and get ready for sleep.
So What Can You Do To Calm Down So You Can Actually Sleep
Well, first off, theres no substitute for seeking help from a mental health professional.
An anxiety or trauma therapist, in particular, can help work with you to reduce your anxiety and panic symptoms.
According to Hahn, there are specific treatments, like EMDR or sensorimotor psychotherapy, which can be helpful in resetting your nervous system and settling your overactive amygdala thats causing your anxiety disorder.
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Tips To Get Great Sleep No Matter How Stressed You Are
Chances are, you know the frustration of lying awake in bed with a busy mind. Stress from the day can keep even the most exhausted of people up at night. When stress has sent you into a sleep rut, it can feel difficultif not impossibleto get out of it. But these 10 strategies can all help your mind and body calm down so you can get the restorative sleep you’re after.
Turn Off The Electronic Devices
Buzzing, beeping, blinking and flashing light are all ways to promote alertness. Electronic devices are a part of our world these days and they are not going to go away. In fact, over 68% of adults in the U.S. have a smartphone today, compared to just 35% in 2011.
That does not mean you have to be attached to them 24/7. Especially when youre trying to sleep. The blue lights and brightness of your phone, tablets and similar devices directly affect your ability to sleep. Heres a video that goes a bit more in-depth into why blue lights inhibit your brains ability to shut off and de-stress.
At least an hour before bed, turn off and put away all electronic devices so that your overstimulated mind can have a break. This is a sure fire way to help you wind down before bed.
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Slow Your Breath Slow Your Mind
With your breath, you have a ready-made tool to relax your body and slow down the thoughts that keep you awake. Try this: Place a hand on your heart and feel its rhythm. Breathe in deep for 4 seconds, then take a long, slow breath out. Repeat this pattern until you can feel your heartbeat slow down. Your thoughts should soon ease up as well.
Make Your Bedroom Your Haven
Having a safe and cozy place that is all your own, your little refuge from the rest of the world, can be very calming, so its worth spending the time to make your room feel personal and soothing. This means getting rid of excess clutter, keeping your space clean and tidy, decorating in a way that makes you happy, and turning it into a space that you love being in.
Investing in good bedding can also make a world of difference and having a comfy bed to curl up in is a mini de-stressor in itself! Create your own cozy bed with our selection of organic cotton and linen bedding and responsibly sourced down products.
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Settle Into Your Routines
When it comes to sleep, routine is your best friend.
- Eating at the same time every day helps regulate your circadian rhythms.
- Eating breakfast signals that its time for your body to wake up.
- Regular daytime exercise releases endorphins and decreases levels of cortisol, the hormone behind stress.
- Going to bed at the same time every night teaches your body to get sleepy around the same time.
But if you want to lessen nighttime anxiety, its still important to implement a specific nighttime routine.
You cant expect to go from 100 mph and then suddenly stop, Dr. Albers says. Instead, institute a 30-minute transition between bedtime and the rest of your day.
Try quiet, tech-free activities that reduce your cortisol levels and help ease you into sleep, such as:
- Taking a bath.
- Doing yoga stretches.