How To Maintain Sleep Wellness While Under Stress
By Elaina Hundley W
hile some people deal with insomnia all the time, many more may strug- gle with falling asleep when they are going through an especially stressful period. Whether you have a documented anxiety dis- order or simply a lot on your mind, it can be challenging to relax and power down your brain at night. When you are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and uncer- tainty—or a stressor that upends your normal routine—it is paramount to take care of your- self and acknowledge the toll these factors could be taking. We’ve rounded up some techniques for get- ting good rest, even when it feels like every- thing else is tumultuous—because any conflict is hard to handle if you aren’t sleeping well.
What You Do During The Day Matters We often talk about how important your nightly routine is when it comes to going to sleep—but what you do when the sun is up also matters. It’s important to structure your day and make it feel full: a list of tasks, ac- tivities or exercise can help you wear your- self out and sleep better at night. When you can’t control what’s going on around you, being in charge of creating a consistent daily routine—even if it’s temporary—can help you better organize your sleep.
Don’t Engage With Heavy Media Before Bed Reading and watching TV before bed are ways that most of us chill out in the evening. But when you are in a state of heightened stress, sometimes staying away from serious content right before bed can be helpful. Try cutting out news, intense TV shows, movies or literary plots and instead read a soothing poem or watch a funny sitcom—keep it light and give your brain a pre-sleep break.
24 Sleep Retailer / Spring 2020
You Already Know This One … Put Your Phone Away Yup, put it away. Place it on charge, set it to do not disturb or power it down and leave it. That’s it, that’s the tip!
Make Getting Ready For Bed An Event If you don’t already, establish a routine be- fore bed that isn’t a chore but a treat. Wash your face with a luxurious cleanser, exfoli- ate, moisturize. Spritz a scent you like over your bed, light a candle, make some tea, wear real pajamas. Go to bed feeling like your best self every night of the week, re- gardless of how the day went. When you are experiencing higher stress levels than normal, it’s important not to repu- diate yourself if you don’t stick to the sched- ule you planned or if you sleep in late or stay up too late. Keep reminding yourself that to- morrow is another day—and every day is an opportunity to get into a healthy habit. Take these tips to heart for yourself, and consider sharing them with your customers!
When you are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and uncertainty— or a stressor that upends your normal routine—it is paramount to take care of yourself and acknowledge the toll these factors could be taking.
Use Some Specific Techniques To Stop Stress In Its Tracks
In times of stress, it can sometimes be hard to turn your brain off in order to fall asleep. If you find yourself in bed worrying about the future or catastrophizing something you saw on the news, try bringing your mind back to the present with this technique: 1. Name 5 things you can see. 2. Name 4 things around you that you can touch.
3. Name 3 things around you that you can hear.
4. Name 2 things that you can smell (you can also imagine two scents you like).
5. Name 1 thing that you can taste (or imagine one).
You can say these aloud or in your head, but sometimes the act of slowly saying them out loud can help ground you and interrupt any anxious or panicky feelings. The point of this exercise is to slow down and tune-in to the present moment. Ob- serve it thoughtfully and by the time you get to one, whatever loop your brain was running in should be broken.
Mindful breathing can be a very effective way to slow your anxious self down. Try lying on your back with one hand on the top of your stomach and the other on your heart. Let your shoulders be heavy. Open and relax your hips as you inhale deep- ly through your nose while you count to five, let the air fill up your belly, then rib- cage, then upper chest. Once you feel like you’ve gotten a full breath, hold it— then exhale through your nose in a long, smooth motion. Doing this for five to ten minutes before bed can help you put anx- ious thoughts away (you can even set yourself a timer!).
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