The Sleep and Stress Connection

You Really Do Need Great Sleep

You’re busy every day and some days there’s too much going on.

Plus, you’re struggling to get to sleep, wake during the night with your brain in a state of overdrive, or you feel sluggish in the morning.

It’s wearying and can have you feeling ‘out of control’.

One of the keys to staying in control of your thinking, your emotions and your actions is the quality of your sleep. Evidence for the health benefits of adequate, restful sleep is overwhelming.

So why aren’t you heeding the advice surrounding sleep?

Decades of research has shown that sleeping between 7-9 hours per night can relieve stress and anxiety, increase your ability to focus, improve memory and all your thinking functions, reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, and more…

Sleep problems increase the intensity of stress and anxiety, not so good considering you need all your faculties to operate at full speed.

Let’s look at 2 steps towards achieving great sleep.

  1. Start preparing for a decent sleep during the daytime

Here are some general guidelines on how to begin the process of obtaining restful sleep:

  1. Get up regularly half an hour earlier than your usual getting up time
  2. Exercise in the morning is best as you benefit from the increased endorphins. Late exercise is to be avoided
  3. At least three times a week, take twenty to thirty minutes exercise maybe at the gym or walking around the block
  4. Make a real effort to leave your workplace during the day for a 10-minute break to clear your mind, breathe in some fresh air, and receive the sun’s energy. Leave your phone at work/turn it on silent so you can enjoy uninterrupted quiet time
  5. Take in most of your liquids/fluids in the morning and early afternoon, restrict the intake after 3 pm
  6. Avoid all caffeinated drinks after 3pm – caffeine takes 6-8 hours to work through your system. For many, caffeine gives a temporary lift in energy but it’s a stimulant which messes with your body clock and delays sleep

When I prayed for success, I forgot to ask for sound sleep and good digestion.  – Mason Coole

2. Stop lying awake – it’s futile

Here are some simple guidelines to follow if you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep:

  • Listen to relaxing music, or an app to get the mind and body into a state of calm
  • Use ear plugs if there are loud, disturbing or distracting noises outside
  • Sleep can be difficult if your body is overheated so get up, cool off and return to bed
  • Have a warm, comfortable bed in a room that’s not too hot
  • If you are lying awake in bed for more than 20 minutes, get up and do something boring, something non-sensory that doesn’t excite the brain, like fold the washing, empty the dishwasher
  • This relaxation technique slows down the breathing which will help slow down your overactive mind: Breathe in through the nose to the count of 3, hold for 5 and breathe out through the mouth for 6
  • Remember, if you have young children in the household your sleep patterns many well be disturbed!

Quote for today: When I prayed for success, I forgot to ask for sound sleep and good digestion.  – Mason Coole

Next time I’ll cover 2 more steps towards achieving great sleep.

Linda Wells

Business Stress Specialist