Now we will discuss how sleep can help us cope with stress. Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed. You can do this!
Sleep is one of the most important tools in dealing with stress. However, a lot of us can have trouble with sleeping. We often read about how 8 hours of sleep is must but somehow we don’t seem to get even 5!
Some of us also have trouble falling asleep at all - a condition called insomnia! People who experience high levels of stress often don’t get enough sleep. But, science tells us when we are experiencing REM sleep (a stage of sleep where our brains become more active and we dream), our stress hormones are actually very low.
SO, HOW CAN WE GET MORE SLEEP?
The first step is to understand that it can be difficult to fall asleep or sticking to a sleep schedule. But, although getting a good night’s sleep can feel difficult, there are some things that can help us get some rest.
Stick to a schedule: Try to go to bed at the same time each night, even on weekends.
Try to avoid your phone, TV & computer at least an hour before bed: This will help your brain to wind down.
Workout a relaxing night-time routine: You could take a shower before bed, or write a journal, or read a book. These will help you relax. .
Avoid naps in the evening: A post lunch nap can be quite a luxury but if you struggle to sleep at night, try not to nap even if it feels very tempting!
Keep a pad and pen next to your bed: While you’re trying to program your body and mind to follow a new schedule, it might not be easy on the first night itself. If your mind won’t quiet down, try to write a list of things bothering you, then try to sleep again.
Stay cool and dark: Scientists tell us that we sleep better when our bedrooms are around 18C and have no light. So, lower the temperature and make sure your curtains are covering your windows perfectly.
Avoid caffeine and sugar after lunch if it has a negative affect: Evening tea or coffee sounds great but if you have trouble sleeping, try not having any caffeine or sugar after lunch.
Use a sleep app: The App Store and Play Store have tons of apps that can help you go to bed at a regular time, wake you up gently, and even play soothing sounds that can help your mind wind down to sleep.
REMEMBER: Sleep is one of the most powerful ways to manage feelings of stress. But it can take time to get a fixed sleep schedule.
ACTION: Using the checklist above, try to see what works for you. And it’s okay if it doesn’t work right away. You can still do this.
NEXT: In the next lesson, we’ll look at how rituals and structure can help to ease stress.