In a survey conducted by the Huffington Post people were asked what their #1 stressor was. Lack of sleep was one thing that dominated the results.
Without a doubt, there is a direct correlation between how much sleep you get, how stressed you are and how well you function throughout the day.
People who don’t get enough sleep tend to be lethargic and experience energy slumps throughout the day. Lack of sleep also tends to cause irritability, which makes it hard to fall asleep later on. It’s a vicious cycle that can cause mental distress and even wreak havoc on your physical well-being.
The reverse is also true. When you experience an exorbitant amount of stress during the day, it causes you to lay awake thinking, which leads to more stress through the coming day.
Stress and lack of sleep combined can cause you to lose mental clarity and they can put more pressure on your body to perform at less than optimal rates.
So it’s vital that you learn how to implement stress relief measures that also work to lull you to sleep at night. Because when you wake up well rested and refreshed, you’ll be able to tackle the world and anything it throws at you!
Rule 1: Institute a Bedtime Technology Ban
Remove TVs, laptops, iPads, cell phones and any other digital devices from your bedroom. It sounds simple but for many of you this won’t be so easy to do.
If you want to toss and turn, have trouble getting to sleep or want to stay awake, just keep your cell phone or iPad right by your bed. For some of you, that won’t be a problem – but for many people, it’s become an addiction that disrupts their sleep routine and causes a lack of sleep.
Some people have their computer right beside the bed and the glow of it lights up the room at night. The same applies to notifications sent to your cell phone, sometimes with lights and sometimes with the inclusion of sounds.
The physical distraction of the computer glow tricks your body into thinking it’s time for you to be awake. Consequently your body won’t produce the melatonin it needs and help you get (and stay) asleep.
It’s not enough to remove technology from the bedroom – it needs to be shut down one to two hours before you go to bed. Your mind needs time to disconnect and wind down, and it can’t do that if you’re constantly feeding it information.
If you go to bed at 10 PM, try disconnecting around 8:30 PMM. Let your stress melt away and your mind relax. I know, this is not an easy habit to break, but you can implement it. Start with baby steps and experience for yourself just how much better you’ll sleep.
Rule 2: Make Aromatherapy part of your Bedtime Routine
Aromatherapy soothes mind and body and scents are powerful elements in our lives. You can put aromatherapy to work and use it to help you feel more rested.
Start off by choosing calming scents helping you unwind, let go of anxiety the day brought and getting good sleep. You don’t want anything invigorating scents for bedtime – like peppermint. That’s a scent that’s perfect to help you start your day – not end it.
You want to look for scents that soothe and relax. Here are some possibilities:
What’s the best way to use these to unwind and get better sleep? There are many choices, find one that works and helps you fall to sleep.
You can find scented bath products (if you enjoy a bath before bed). You can use candles, diffusers, wall plugins and more. Some people like to create or buy a special mist that they can spray on their pillows at night or put on their wrists.
Last but not least, create and follow a bed time routine.
Our bodies are built for routine. But if you constantly change things up, leading to a disruption in your sleep pattern, it may lead to insomnia or other sleep problems over time.
Follow your night time routine as closely as you can and you will be rewarded with better sleep.
Rule 3: Look at what you Eat and help yourself Sleep!
The food you eat affects everything you do … and sleep certainly is no exception!
Foods are one area where what you eat can benefit or damage both your sleep and stress levels. If you want to alleviate stress and get better sleep, limit or better yet eliminate alcohol and caffeine before going to bed.
While alcohol initially seems to relax, allowing you to distress, it can lead to signs of heat in the body. Heat causes most of us to feel irritated and agitated, hence disrupting our sleep.
So stay away from alcohol and caffeine late at night, just before bedtime.
Even though for many people alcohol may not cause any problems whatsoever, if you have a tendency to problems with sleep, alcohol consumption will make your problem worse.
What you want to do is eat foods that will help you with sleep and handling stress. That means eating good protein like turkey or lean chicken, salmon, avocadoes, nuts like almonds or walnuts, and apricots (which soothe your muscles). In general, choose and follow a well balanced diet.
In addition to quality foods, eating regular meals is important as well. You want your blood sugar levels stable so that you don’t have to deal with mood swings and energy highs and lows throughout the day.
And one more thing, don’t eat too late at night.
Depending on your schedule and daily routine, take your evening meal between 5 and 7PM, but no later than 8PM. Not only will you avoid the “bulge”, you’ll also avoid disruption in your sleep because your stomach is too full and you’re still digesting.
Have a good night!