Stress-busting Tip #1… Get plenty of sleep
There is a huge correlation between stress and poor sleep. It can be a vicious circle to break free of, as stress can cause you to be in a high arousal state which can keep you awake at night and unable to function in the day.
Keep your circadian rhythm in balance
We have an internal clock known as our circadian rhythm, which regulates feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period. This clock responds to cues in our environment, so for example when there is less light, it tells the brain to produce the sleep inducing hormone melatonin. When circadian rhythms are out of whack, sleep patterns become erratic, hormones go out of sync, and the digestive system is less effective. My 3 tips for keeping this clock ticking along nicely are:
• Avoid blue light in the evening The blue light emitted from smartphones, tablets, laptops and televisions etc. disrupts the circadian rhythm affecting levels of the sleep inducing hormone melatonin.
• Avoid alcohol in the evening as again it is known to affect levels of melatonin. It can also contribute to sleep apnea, snoring, and disturbed sleep.
• Go to bed and rise at a regular time every day, even on weekends.
Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary
• Remove distracting items like televisions, devices, and books from the bedroom so that you learn to associate the bedroom with sleep
• Keep the bedroom at a comfortably cool temperature. Being too hot or too cold can cause considerable sleep disruption. Using cotton bed linen and nightwear can also help to keep your body temperature regulated.
• Minimise external noise and light, and use soft warm lighting
Practice self-hypnosis or meditation
Clock watching can increase the anxiety of not being able to get off to sleep. Having the ability to take yourself into a wonderfully relaxing meditative state can be very beneficial, and provide a comfortable place to wait for sleep to come upon you. There are lots of apps with guided visualisations, meditations or self-hypnosis audios that can help to calm your mind if you find meditating difficult. You can download my Sleep Well self-hypnosis track for free here.