Busy schedules, demanding jobs and chaotic lives can wreak havoc on stress levels. It’s crucial that you don’t allow that stress into your nighttime routine, however. Stress and anxiety at night can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and negatively affect your overall health and wellbeing.
How does stress affect sleep?
Have you ever laid awake at night, anxious about your long list of errands and tasks for tomorrow? Or, debating whether or not something you said was the right approach? Stress has no place in the bedroom because it disrupts your natural hormone levels and can inhibit the brain’s ability to shut down properly.
This can keep your mind racing, sap hours out of your nightly sleep schedule and leave you feeling drained and cranky the following day. This, in turn, can actually worsen the side effects of stress and heighten anxiety levels.
Relaxing at bedtime
With the busyness of everyday life, many people find that bedtime is the only chance they get to enjoy some peace and quiet. It’s important, then, that you’re not taking stressful thoughts to bed, but are instead keeping those precious minutes as relaxing as possible.
Activities that are slow, mindful and focused on self-care are great for slowing the heart rate and breathing. This should help your body prepare for sleep and clear your mind enough to drift off peacefully.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to ensure your nighttime routine is relaxing and stress-free. Here are just five of the many different ways to calm the mind and prepare for a restful night’s sleep.
1. Write a to-do list
The perfect way to start a nighttime routine is to turn away from the day and enter a new mindset. Take worries about tomorrow off your mind by writing them down; visualizing and organizing tasks onto a page can ease feelings of impending stress and give you a jumping off point for tomorrow. This will make it much easier to forget about your anxieties and enter your bedtime routine with a clear head.
2. Try yoga or stretching
Depending on which best suits your interests, both yoga and stretching are great ways to prep your body and brain for sleep. The slow, breath-focused movements will help you shed the day’s stressors and relax your muscles. It’s a great transition into the sleep mentality, gradually slowing your movement and refocusing your mind. Consider a full-body stretch or bedtime yoga routine for ten minutes before settling into bed to ensure better, relaxed sleep.
3. Take a warm shower
Although most adults like showering in the morning, bathing at night definitely has its advantages. Not only does it allow you to crawl into bed feeling clean, but the hot water can also melt away stress and tension. Plus, moving from a warm, steamy shower into a cooler bedroom simulates the body’s natural transition into sleep and should make it much easier to get the sleep you need.
4. Read a book
Next, read a book for pleasure. Most adults suffer through a lot of work-related reading throughout the day, but finding joy in a favorite genre can melt away your anxiety. Take this time to escape into a different world, learn something interesting, or laugh. Reading for fun can boost serotonin levels which reduces stress and increases feelings of sleepiness. Find a book that strikes your interest and allow yourself to drift off.
5. Settle in for sleep
A good night’s sleep depends on comfort and relaxation. After you’ve taken the steps to de-stress, it’s now time to sink into a comfortable environment and drift off. Make sure your bed is cozy by equipping it with a supportive mattress, cool pillows, and breathable sheets. Avoiding discomfort and body aches throughout the night will allow your mind to drift off and drastically improve your sleep length and quality.
SensaCalm Weighted Blankets
If you still have trouble falling asleep, consider investing in a weighted blanket. The additional weight can help address anxiety, PTSD, sensory disorders and insomnia issues that may disrupt sleep by creating a pressured touch and calming the nervous system. This additional sleep luxury should improve your rest and allow you to wake up stress-free.
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