We all experience stress in our daily lives, but few of us realize the depth of the impact that it has on us. Chronic stress has been linked to a number of significant health problems as well as daily challenges, like poor concentration, low energy levels, and mood problems. Stress is also closely linked to quality of sleep, and it becomes a bit of a cycle – the more stressed you are, the more difficult it is for you to sleep, and when you are deprived of sleep, your stress levels rise.
When you feel stressed, what you really need is a good night of sleep to feel refreshed. Unfortunately, chronic stress can cause insomnia or other sleep problems. If you truly want to get a good night’s sleep, try out some of these stress-busting tips:
- Identify your stressors and correct them – The first step in dealing with your stress is identifying the things that are causing it. If you are overloaded at work, consider delegating a few tasks. If you suffer from pain that causes you stress, make an appointment with your doctor. Sometimes a simple change can do big things in terms of reducing stress levels.
- Make changes to your diet – When you fill your body with junk foods that are low in nutritional value, you may find that you are low in energy and that you do not sleep well. Making healthy changes to your diet by increasing your intake of fresh produce, lean protein, and whole grains can drastically reduce your stress levels and improve your sleep.
- Incorporate some exercise into your life – Something as simple as getting outside for a 20-minute walk or a quick jog can greatly reduce your stress levels. Exercise helps you blow off steam, and it will help you improve your overall health, which will have a positive impact on your quality of sleep. You do not necessarily need to start training for a marathon – just try to get 30 minutes of exercise in three to five times a week.
- Engage in positive self-talk – We are all hard on ourselves from time to time, but if you are constantly putting yourself down and blaming yourself for mistakes, you will only be contributing to stress. Cut yourself a break and try to become more intentional about reducing negative self-talk. Be mindful of your thought patterns and try to focus on the things you do well and the things you are able to change rather than dwelling on the negative and things you have no control over. When you clear your mind, you will be less stressed and better able to sleep.
- Create a nighttime ritual – Many people find that keeping a regular routine not only helps them to de-stress at the end of a long day but that it helps to encourage healthy sleep as well. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day and take steps to encourage good sleep hygiene. Keep your room dark when it is time to sleep and avoid using electronic devices within 30 minutes of bedtime.
Stress is a natural part of our daily lives, but it does not have to control you. When you take steps to reduce your stress, you will find that many other areas of your life improve, including your quality of sleep.