One of the most common reasons behind fatigue and burnout throughout the day is due to an inability to fall asleep at night. Are you restlessly tossing and turning throughout the night, unable to find relief? Does your mind race when you get into bed, leaving you feeling like you can’t shut your brain off? This is a very common and frustrating thing for many people, and it often stems from stress and anxiety in daily life.
How Stress and Anxiety Impact Sleep
Stress is one of the most common reasons for trouble falling asleep at night. When a person is under stress, their body releases several hormones including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones boost your energy level, increase alertness, raise your heart rate and blood pressure, and prepare your body for “fight or flight” mode. Anxiety typically goes hand in hand with stress. It causes your thoughts to race, initiating heightened emotions and leaving you feeling overwhelmed. Stress and anxiety directly relate to sleep issues including:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Trouble staying asleep
- Fatigue throughout the following day
We all have experienced mind restlessness due to stress or anxiety at some point in our lives, and there are ways to fix them. Here are some relaxation tips and techniques that have been suggested by sleep experts to shut your mind off and get you to sleep faster and longer.
Deep breathing is a powerful and effective way to clear stress from your body. It slows your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure, and stabilizes your metabolism. Along with simple deep breathing, there are several structured breathing exercises you can try. One is called 4-7-8 breathing:
In a comfortable position, with your eyes closed:
- Inhale for 4 seconds
- Hold breath for 7 seconds
- Exhale slowly for 8 seconds
Deep, steady breathing right before bedtime will let your body know it’s time to relax and rest. Give it a try next time you’re under a lot of stress before bedtime.
Similar to deep breathing, meditating allows your body to enter into a calm resting state. The most common form of meditation is what is called mindfulness meditation. This involves simply paying attention to your body and nothing else. Here’s a step by step guide to try mindfulness meditation yourself:
- Find a quiet and comfortable area
- Try to put aside all thoughts on your to-do-list and remain in the present
- Become aware of the sound of your breathing or the feeling of the floor underneath you
- Remain calm and return to the present if anxious thoughts enter your mind
- When finished, remain seated for a few minutes and reflect on where you are in the room
Our sense of smell is directly connected to the brain’s centers that control our mood and behavior. Use of essential oils will relax your brain and let you know it’s time to unwind. Here are some popular essential oil scents that have been linked to relaxation and sleep. You can add a few drops of your favorite scent to the foam strips in your BedJet aromatherapy kit and you'll have instantly refreshed sheets and a relaxing sleep environment:
- Rose and Geranium
Biofeedback is a very effective method used to deal with stress and anxiety. It is a mind-body technique that uses visual or auditory cues to gain control over our involuntary body functions such as heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure. Biofeedback sessions allow you to train your body to understand when it is experiencing stress or anxiety and how to return to a normal resting state. This technique will be able to get you to slow your body down and put your mind to rest before bed.
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