It’s perfectly natural to feel stressed from time-to-time. Work, life, love and everything in-between can keep our minds preoccupied with disruptive thoughts.
This can have a negative impact on our sleeping patterns because when we’re stressed our minds are ‘hyper aroused’, preventing us from reaching a content state at bedtime.
It’s a vicious cycle too. Stress prevents sleep and lack of sleep impacts our mental well-being.
There are ways to combat this though. Our resident Sleep Expert, Dr Nerina, lists 5 tips on de-stressing for a better night’s sleep to improve our mood and outlook.
As always, if you’re suffering stress or any of the issues discussed in this article, we advise seeking professional support from a qualified practitioner.
Sleeping well with a stressful life
How to reduce stress and improve sleep with these 5 tips
Take technology breaks
The blue light emitted from screens, including your mobile, suppress melatonin, which is the hormone that dictates your sleep pattern. Taking breaks from our screens, particularly before bedtime, can help maintain that important sleep pattern through the night.
Most of us are a little reliant on caffeine, particularly first thing in the morning, but it has a disruptive effect on our sleep patterns because it’s a stimulant that promotes alertness. Try to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks after 2pm, this will allow enough time for the caffeine to leave your system before bedtime. Caffeine also increases your levels of cortisol, which is known as the ‘stress hormone’; acerbating stress levels rather than soothing them.
Breakfast helps regulate our melatonin production – the hormone we need for a good night’s sleep. Pick a breakfast recipe rich with sleep-boosting foods, such as whole grains, seeds, nuts, yoghurt and fruits including bananas and oranges in particular. These all contain nutrients that enhance the production of melatonin.
Take regular breaks through the day
According to Dr Nerina, our energy levels run on 90 minute cycles, that’s why it’s important to take a break every 60-90 minutes. That could simply involve leaving your desk for 5 minutes to walk, read a book or make a brew – these little snippets of ‘me-time’ can help you take a breather to re-focus.
Spend time with family and friends
It’s important, particularly when you’re stressed, to spend time with those who matter the most and who remind you what’s important in life. Allocate time on evening and weekends to spend time with your friends and family to help improve your overall well-being.
It’s also key to seek support when you need it and remember, ultimately, it’s not all on your shoulders.
Do you have any tips for beating stress and improving sleep quality? Let us know in the comments section below.