How To Sleep When You Are Stressed
You know the drill. Things are overwhelming at work. You’ve been going in earlier and staying later and you are still behind. You don’t see how you are going to get your head above water. Or maybe one of your kids has decided to stop turning in homework lately. Might be that every time you look at your bank account it seems to be going on the wrong direction. Or one that’s been on my mind a lot lately – worrying about having enough money for retirement. The stresses are all around us! And as I’ve written before stress can take a toll on our mental and physical well being. No where is this more evident than when we lay awake at night worrying about everything under the sun. Let’s see if we can figure out how to sleep when you are stressed.
Why Am I Awake?
It’s one of those things that is extremely frustrating. Your body is exhausted after a super long day. Literally all you want to do is fall asleep. Then your body hits those wonderful sheets in your super cozy bed and……BAM!! Your eyes won’t close and your mind won’t shut off. Why?
Stress is one of the major reasons why we can’t shut our minds off at night and go to sleep. Other factors can contribute of course. Things like drinking caffeine later than we should. Another common one these days is staring at a computer or phone screen up to the time you finally turn the light off. Chances are if your mind is racing about to do things or worrying excessively it’s probably due to stress. Let’s look at some things to help you figure out how to sleep when you are stressed.
How To Sleep When You Are Stressed
It’s too late to go back and do something to relax before bed. So when those nights hit that you can’t sleep because of stress keeping you awake, here’s a few tactics to try out.
Read A Book
I’m starting this list with my personal favorite, read a book. It’s common practice for me to read a book for 20-30 minutes before I turn out the light. Most of the time it’s fiction but sometimes it’s more educational. In any event it’s a great way to get your mind onto the book and not stressing over the day you just had. Or how you’re going to fund your retirement. Maybe the rest of this week at work. Or…..you get the point. A book will help you unplug from your day and relaxes your mind. It’s amazing to me how many people I talk to truthfully can’t remember the last time they read a book.
Make a To Do List
Another personal favorite of mine. My wife likes to say I make list with such item’s on its as “take a shower” or “eat lunch”. Which isn’t that far from the truth. The way this helps me is I have put together a list of what I need and/or want to accomplish the next day. That way I feel like I’ve got a clear vision for the upcoming day before I go to sleep. And I can effectively turn off my mind and not worry about it because I’ve already made my list. I do this Sunday’s nights as well for my upcoming week.
Do a Guided Meditation
Do you think meditation is too hippy like? Only for the granola heads? I used to think that. Heck, I used to be hippy like! Maybe I still kind of am but I am now getting off point. My point is many people have a preconceived notion about meditation. I used to as well. Then I tried it and it helped me sleep better every single time. My suggestion to you is to download one of many free guided meditation apps and give it a shot. I have one that I absolutely love that is right at 20 minutes long. I will usually do it an hour or two before I got to bed and it never fails to relax me. Free of charge + 20 minutes of your time = a restful night free of stress.
Focus on Your Breathing
If you’ve ever tried this tactic you know it can actually work. This is similar in some ways to the guided meditation. Focused breathing is part of meditation. The next time stress has your eyes wide open try focusing on your breathing patterns and see if it doesn’t help relax you. The focus on the in and out, in and out, in and out might help lull your body to a nice relaxed state, allowing you to finally fall asleep.
Snack on some Carbs
Having a big meal or heavy duty snack right before bed isn’t going to do your digestion or your sleep any favors. Same thing if you have a bunch of refined sugar, hello insomnia. Carbohydrates on the other hand produce serotonin which is something your brain needs to regulate sleep. Next time you can’t sleep try getting up and having a light carbohydrate snack. Something like some popcorn or a big handful of whole grain crackers should to the trick. Give it a shot.
Turn on White Noise
I’ve slept with a fan going in my bedroom for as long as I can remember. It’s close to essential for me having a good nights sleep. Actually I don’t know how much it helps me through the night but it’s a great aid to help get to sleep. Something I use when I am traveling and staying in a hotel room is an app on my phone. You can download free white noise or fan apps. I actually have one that has the noises for a running stream or wind rustling through the leaves. It works great.
Here’s a few items that can help you in your quest of how to sleep when you are stressed.
YnM Weighted Blanked – by YnM
AVANTEK White Noise Machine for Sleeping – by AVANTEK
YogaToes GEMS: Gel Toe Stretcher & Toe Separator – by Yoga Toes
Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Machine – by Marpac
Neurobiologix Neuro Night Essentials Sleep Supplement (60 Capsules) – by Neurobiologix
We all get stressed, it’s a way of life. Well, maybe not everyone but most of us do. When stress has your mind racing at night check out one of the above tactics to help get to sleep. Hopefully one of them will help you solve the riddle of how to sleep when you are stressed.
In good physical AND mental health,