Do you lie awake in bed and just can’t shut off your brain?  You’re thinking about all the things you did, have to do or should do.  Do you find yourself looking over at your bedroom clock thinking about all the hours of sleep you’re not getting? If you’re losing sleep because you’re too busy stressing, then you’re exacerbating your symptoms and that is no way to get a good night’s sleep.

Often the stress of a work deadline, a school paper or that little disagreement with a friend is hard to just stop thinking about, especially if it’s unresolved.  But these things are best left until your mind is refreshed and sharp enough to handle it. Have you ever lashed out at someone because you were too tired to think clearly?  Pay attention to your bodies need for sleep and you will be better able to tackle your issues with a clear mind.

Try establishing some new bedtime routines that help you relax, like 30 minutes of light meditation or running a warm bubble bath with lavender candles.  Implementing stress relieving habits into your bedtime routine will help lower your blood pressure, slower your heart rate and help calm your nerves.

Stop stressing, relax.

Write a To Do list: Grab a pen and paper. It’s time to get all those unsettling thoughts of what you want to accomplish out of your head and onto paper. You can revisit the list tomorrow when you’ve had enough rest to tackle them. For the more creative type, try starting a stress journal.

Clear the clutter/noise: Having clutter like unfinished papers stacks or dirty cloths lying around along with busy body items like your laptop or cellphone can stir stressing thoughts and make you prolong your sleep time.  Take control of your thoughts by tidying up your room and turning off the electronics.

Bath, don’t shower: Don’t take a shower.  Showers help wake you up.  Instead run a warm bath, light candles and relax.

Don’t lie in bed awake: There’s nothing worse than lying in bed thinking about how you’re not sleeping.   So, get up.  Do something boring like reading boring literature (or, if you’re a student, grab a textbook!) and return to bed when you’re tired and ready to sleep.

Yoga or meditation: You don’t have to be a yogi or spiritual person to practice yoga or meditation.  It can be as simple as doing a little light stretching or taking time to lye or sit in a quiet place.  This can help prepare your mind for rest by pushing out all of those worrisome thoughts and bringing you to a peaceful state so you can relax for sleep.

Think positive: In a time of stress it’s hard to come up with even one thing that’s positive.  You can remind yourself of those things by changing the way you think.  Try writing positive thinking or inspiring quotes like “positive things happen to positive people” to help uplift your downer mood.

Implementing good sleep habits like, going to bed at a decent hour (routinely) and avoiding caffeine or alcohol which may actually exacerbate your stress symptoms, should be practiced daily.  The best thing that you can do is to develop a healthy sleep routine.  Get up at a decent hour, have an active day, exercise early and avoid consuming food or doing activities like playing on your phone before bed.  If you find that your stress continues to keep you up even after practicing good habits, you should see your doctor.

Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients.  Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems.  They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare.  For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900;