5 Ways to Release Stress and Sleep Peacefully (Even if You’re Anxious)
Stress is a fundamentally human experience — and, for many of us, stress affects our sleep.
Unfortunately, restless sleep leads to more than morning grogginess and grumpiness: it can also cause a decline in health, productivity, and well being.
But if you have busy, stressful days and often feel anxious, how are you supposed to let go of all your worries at night for a peaceful sleep?
Fortunately, it’s actually not as hard as it sounds.
All you’ve got to do is apply some self-reflection and self-love while making your sleep hygiene a priority.
How To Put Your Worries To Bed
A busy life can lead to a busy mind, which can lead to a busy night of thoughts, if you’re not careful.
The key to releasing bedtime stress is to treat bedtime like an important event that you need to be clear minded for — and prioritize it accordingly.
To combat the day-to-day stressors that keep you awake at night, here are some tips and tricks to help your restless mind fall (and stay) asleep:
1. Routine, Routine, Routine
The importance of a sleep routine cannot be overstated.
Having a strong sleep routine reminds your body and brain that your nightly actions mean it’s time to go to sleep. And over time, this consistency helps your mind clear itself automatically at bedtime.
Whatever your routine entails, make sure it includes reflecting on your day and letting go of your thoughts about the next day, as processing and releasing your thoughts are critical to getting a good night’s sleep.
Until it becomes routine to clear your mind before bed, practice introspection and mindfulness (focusing on the present) while you’re awake, to help your brain get used to releasing anxious, stressful thoughts (1).
2. Banish Your iPhone
Unless you’re a superhero or a secret agent waiting to pull off a heist, chances are you don’t really need to look at your phone right before bed.
Even if you’re on call for a shift, all you’ve got to do is make sure your ringer is on before putting your phone in your drawer.
Because using your phone before bed doesn’t just expose you to sleep-disrupting blue light — it will likely also stress you out by exposing you to things that could have waited until the next day.
3. Hit 100% Blackout
You may already know that a dark environment is crucial to getting good-quality sleep…
But did you know that the faint glow of a nightlight or even those tiny lights on your laptop can keep you in a state of light sleep all night, without you even noticing?
If you feel like you’re getting enough sleep but still feel tired or groggy in the morning, make sure you’ve eliminated all of the light in your bedroom.
4. Just Chill
The ideal temperature for sleeping is lower than you might expect: 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (around 15.5 to 19 degrees Celsius), to be exact (2)!
That’s because your core temperature drops one to two degrees while you sleep — and cooling down is much more work for your body if you’re sleeping in a warm room.
So keep your bedroom cool by sleeping with fewer blankets, especially on warm summer nights.
5. Obey the 20-Minute Rule
If you aren’t drifting off to sleep within about 20 minutes of getting into bed, get out of bed and do an unstimulating activity, like reading or knitting.
You want to associate your bed with sleepiness and sleeping only.
The longer you stay in bed tossing and turning, the more anxious, awake, and frustrated you will become (3). And the longer you lay there counting the seconds, minutes, and hours that you’re awake, the harder it will be to fall asleep next time.
Treat Yourself To Peaceful Sleep
If you don’t treat your sleep like a priority, you’re likely to feel the consequences.
But if you invest your time and energy into YOU — your thoughts, actions, mindfulness, routines, mental and physical health, etc. — you’ll reap the rewards.
By establishing a routine that works, you can start practicing healthy sleep habits tonight.
So ditch the electronics, black out your room, take the extra blanket off your bed, and follow the 20-minute rule.
What’s your sleep routine? Which part do you think makes the biggest difference, and why?
(1) “Mindfulness." Psychology Today, www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/mindfulness. Accessed 25 Mar. 2019.
(2) “The Ideal Temperature for Sleep." Sleep.org, www.sleep.org/articles/temperature-for-sleep/. Accessed 25 Mar. 2019.
(3) Everett, Lucinda. “25 tips and tricks to help you get a better sleep.” The Telegraph, 7 Mar. 2015, www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/mind/25-tips-and-tricks-to-help-you-get-a-better-sleep/
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