If you are struggling to get to sleep at night, stress may be the cause. Stress can take a toll on every aspect of our lives and sleep is no exception. The 2010 Stress in America Study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 40% of us are laying awake some nights because stress is keeping us from sleeping. Whether stress keeps you up at night, wakes you up early, or just has you tossing and turning all night long, learning to manage it may be the key to getting the sleep you need. And one of the best things about getting a good night’s sleep is that it is great for reducing your stress level.
Here are 6 ways to lower your stress level and turn the problems jumping around in your head into sheep jumping over a fence.
1. Give Your Stress a Name and Make an Appointment with it…..Tomorrow
If you feel like there are 101 things running through your mind each night when you are trying to fall asleep, taking a few minutes to write them down can help you fall asleep faster. The act of committing your worries to paper may give your mind permission to let them go because you don’t have to worry about forgetting them.
2. Draw Better Boundaries
In today’s world, many of us have trouble drawing the line between work and life. Our work follows us wherever we go. Mobile devices make email connectivity possible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and all that connectedness makes us feel like we have to be available all the time. With the number of times many of us bring work home with us at night and even into bed with us, it’s no wonder we are having so much trouble sleeping. Make the boundary between your work and your life more distinct to help get a better night’s sleep.
3. Simplify and Let Go of Keeping Up with Anyone
According to the study above, the three most significant stressors in our lives right now are money, work, and the economy. We feel driven to earn more so we can have all the things associated with the American Dream, but then are stressed and unable to sleep because we worry about paying for all those things. And then, we end up working too much in our attempt to afford them. One cure for stress is to step off the fast track, simplify, and find ways to be satisfied with less. Your stress level and your sleep will thank you.
4. Lighten Up and Laugh a Little
They say that laughter is the best medicine and when it comes to stress, they may actually be right. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter makes your stress relief response kick in and helps you relax.
5. Phone a Friend, or Better Yet, Go See Them
Groundbreaking research at UCLA has shown that women, unlike men, have a third aspect to the fight or flight stress hormone response. When women are stressed, they often focus on tending to their children and seeking out the company of other women. These things actually reverse the stress response by replacing cortisol, our primary stress hormone, with oxytocin, which is calming. So, if you are feeling stressed, plan a night out with some friends and look forward to a good night’s sleep.
6. Get Moving
Exercise is one of the best stress busters you have and yet many of us are too stressed to find time to exercise. Exercise also helps you sleep, so finding time to fit in some activity is a double win.
- 4 Mistakes You Might Be Making that are Costing You Sleep (valleysleepcenter.com)
- The Correlation Between Friends and Sleep (valleysleepcenter.com)
- Why Women Have Difficulty Sleeping (valleysleepcenter.com)