Sleep is a process that takes up most of our lives and some studies say that the average person will spend up to ⅓ of their life in slumber. The length, quality and frequency of sleep can affect everything from your height to your weight to your mental faculties and even your lifespan.
Sleep gives our bodies, mind and time to rest, recuperate and work on important physiological processes. It’s no wonder that when problems do start arising with our sleep routines, these can affect every aspect of our lives negatively. You will also want to read doctors reveals what to do to sleep soundly like a baby
Stress on the other hand is one of the biggest sources of persistent health problems, both physical and mental. High levels of stress have tied into issues such as anxiety, weight fluctuations, migraines and persistent fatigue. The last symptom is tied directly to how stress affects our sleep.
Stress and your sleep cycle:
Your sleep can be greatly affected by your stress levels. One study from the American Psychology Association showed that people with lower stress levels sleep longer, have fewer disruptions in their REM cycle and report better quality of sleep than those with high stress levels. Symptoms of stress, such as panic, being in a constant state of tension, elevated heart rate and physical discomfort all tie into poorer quality sleep. In extreme cases, people with long-term high stress levels can develop serious sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia.
Stress is almost impossible to avoid, so likely there have been times where you’ve struggled to get your snooze on because of it. So how does one treat stress-induced sleep problems? Before you reach for the sleeping pills or max your card out at a mattress sale, try these four methods to improve your sleep when stressed.
1. Set a routine
An inconsistent routine can not only contribute to your stress levels due to exhaustion but also damage your sleep cycle. Our bodies are naturally programmed to feel more alert during the day and tired at night time and you should attempt to follow these natural cues as much as possible. Taking short naps is also not a proper substitute for a full night of uninterrupted sleep.
Building a set routine can have a pavlovas effect on your brain by getting you in the mindset for rest and relaxation through repetition. Your routine for bed can include turning off all electronic devices, washing up, changing clothes and reading a book before switching lights off at a set time. Sticking to this nightly routine will eventually help your body to regulate your sleep, even when stressed and you should find yourself getting sleepy and waking up at set times.
2. Engage in Meditation
Meditation has been shown to be an effective way to reduce stress levels. In addition to helping relax the mind, a proper meditation session can lower your heart rate, decrease blood pressure and calm breathing. All of these factors can help get you in the right state for an easier, more restful sleep.
For best results, set aside time to meditate before you usually go to sleep. Set the mood by dimming the lights, putting on calming music or spraying a relaxing scent before beginning. Meditation can be done in many forms but beginners can use guided meditation videos and breathing exercises to help develop their routine. You can also meditate while doing some light stretches or yoga poses to work both your body and mind.Once your session is concluded, go straight to bed without delay to avoid breaking out of your peaceful mindset,
3. Use Herbal supplements
If you prefer to avoid prescription medication for sleep issues, there is always the option of taking over-the-counter natural supplements to aid with your slumber. Melatonin, the hormone that signals your brain to prepare for sleep is an increasingly popular supplement for those with chronic sleep issues.
Other natural supplements for sleep include lavender, chamomile and valerian root, all of which are note for their calming effects. CBD derived products are also showing increasing promise for sleep improvement and stress reduction. It is always best to consult a physician before taking any supplements and to use them sparingly to not build a dependency. You can also consume some of these supplements in tea or lotion form in place of pills.
4. Use Sleep aids
Sleep aids are products that can be very beneficial to improving your bedtime experience. Common sleep aids, like an eye mask or earplugs, help block out light and noise to keep you in deeper slumber. For specialized sleep aids, you can try items such as a white noise machine that helps block out external sounds and create a relaxing environment that is ideal for lulling you to sleep.
A popular sleep aid for those with anxiety and stress is a weighted blanket that is said to improve sleep quality through comforting pressure. Additionally, investing in good quality bedding, pillows and a supportive mattress can greatly improve your rest time. Remember, you spend a great deal of your time in slumber so investing in equipment that will support your rest is worthwhile.