How to Get Quality Sleep When Stressed
Sleep is a vital part of living a healthy life, and equally important as eating a balanced diet and exercising. When you get proper sleep, you will be mentally sharp and able to cope with daily stress better. However, if you are very busy and experiencing a lot of stress, you may have troubles falling asleep at night. Learn why stress and sleep deprivation go well together, and how to get quality ZZZ’s when you are stressed.
Factors That Contribute to Lack of Sleep
Many factors can contribute to lack of sleep, but the most common are overthinking, caffeine, raised cortisol levels, anxiety and overscheduling.
Overthinking: When it comes to overthinking, the problem is that most people take their work home with them. While some people do it metaphorically, others do it physically. Either way, it’s not good. Unfortunately, with today’s demanding workloads, it’s rather hard for people to stop thinking about their job. Stay-at-home parents and students can experience this as well. If you are spending the entire day thinking about your problems, and your mind is simply racing, most likely, you will have difficulties falling asleep at night. Even if you fall asleep quickly, you may wake up in the middle of the night as you transition between sleep stages.
Caffeine: When you are under a lot of stress, you may need to consume huge amounts of caffeine to keep yourself going through the day. This is definitely not a good idea because caffeine can exacerbate your stress levels and prevent you peacefully falling asleep at night.
Cortisol: This stress hormone is raised when you experience stress. However, cortisol is also responsible for those fight or flight responses. This hormone can give you energy when you feel stressed or in other cases simple paralyze you, and prevent you from responding. Chronic stress leads to excessively high levels of cortisol which may disrupt healthy sleep patterns.
Overscheduling: A hectic work schedule and life can definitely rob you from sleep. If you push your bedtime further and further to get things done, or getting up earlier and earlier to be more productive, you will eventually burn out and become chronically tired.
Anxiety: Like overthinking, anxiety can make falling asleep very difficult or even wake you up in the middle of the night. Typically, when we are feeling anxious, we come up with threatening scenarios and worry about the future. We also become preoccupied with finding the right or possible solutions. Anxiety can heavily affect your mind, keep your cortisol levels high, and make sleep seem like a faraway dream that will never come true.
How to Get the Sleep You Need
If you are suffering from anxiety or experiencing a lot of stress, and it has started to take a toll on your sleep, it’s vital to do your best to change some of your sleeping habits and get the rest you need. We recommend the following tips for healthy and more quality sleep.
Maintain Healthy Sleep Habits
Improving your sleeping habits is very important for getting the amount of rest that you need. For healthy sleep, it’s vital to sleep on the best mattress you can afford, meaning it should be very comfortable, but at the same time, it must provide quality support for your back. You should avoid any stimulating activities at least one hour before going to bed. For example, you should avoid watching TV or using your phone. To unwind a bit, it’s better to read a book or take a warm and soothing bath.
Release Your Stress
To reduce stress before bed, you should try progressive muscle relaxation or deep muscle relaxation techniques. Apart from the mentioned, you can also try meditation. Meditation is a proven tool for relaxing your body and quieting a racing mind.
If you are not that into meditation, there are also other things you could try, such as having sex. Having sex before bed should work as a great stress reliever. Making love with your partner will give you a dose or relaxing and happy hormones and ensure you fall asleep like a baby. Unfortunately, many people’s sex drive is negatively affected by stress. However, to get in the mood, you can make a romantic dinner, or do something else you and your partner enjoy doing together.
When All Else Fails—Take a Nap
If you have tried everything and you are still exhausted during the day, never underestimate the value of a good nap. If you have troubles falling asleep at night, long naps are not recommended because they can further disrupt your sleep patterns. However, if you don’t have enough time to rest properly during the night, fitting some naptime into your day can really help. Napping will also increase your productivity and give you enough energy to go through the day. And only when you’re well-rested, you will be less reactive to stress.