Get Some Sleep to Reduce Stress

Get some sleep to reduce stress...Easier said than done, right?  I’ve had many a night where the lights were turned off, I laid down in bed, and my mind went in to overdrive.  It’s when the gremlins appear, reminding me of the day’s challenges, the people who have gotten the best of me, and just about anything that has caused my stress levels to “go to the moon.”  I’ve tried counting sheep until I was ready to turn them into sweaters.

The paradox is that sleep is crucial when it comes to reducing stress. If you don’t get the right amount of sleep, your mind and body cannot function properly.

Get Some Sleep:
Okay, so how do we break this vicious cycle?   

To get better sleep, start exercising on a regular basis. While exercise may give you energy throughout the day, it can actually help you fall asleep faster as well as improve the quality of your sleep.   Melissa and I walk five miles a day, six days a week.  If I don’t feel like walking, she threatens to burn my feet (just kidding!).

Some people find that exercising in the evening causes them to be wired, and they can’t get to sleep. If you fall into this camp of people, consider exercising in the morning. This way, you’ll use that energy burst throughout the day, giving you time to become tired.

Try to avoid using alcohol in excess.   Alcohol can affect your breathing and heart rate – making it very uncomfortable to lie in bed.  Without the alcohol, your sleep will be more even and will allow you to sleep throughout the night.

Avoid eating anything and other stimulants (caffeine, sugar, nicotine) before bedtime.  These things will only feed the problem by revving up your system and causing indigestion.  I’ve been here and know how awful I’ve felt by breaking these guidelines. 

TURN OFF THE ELECTRONICS AND SOCIAL MEDIA AT LEAST 1 HOUR BEFORE BEDTIME!  Doing so will give your mind and body time to decompress. This is a non-negotiable if sleep is what you want.  

See a doctor if you have sleeping problems that persist. Not getting enough sleep can affect your immune system and make you more susceptible to health problems. Sleep recharges the body and allows it to function properly, including building up antibodies to fight off diseases.  

If you do resort to seeing a doctor, he or she may recommend medication to help you sleep.  Ironically, you may wake up feeling drowsy and have trouble staying awake during the day! This may help your sleep problems in the short term but won’t do much to fix the reason(s) why you aren’t sleeping. Press your doctor for alternative solutions if drugs are being prescribed. 

Consider learning meditation as that can relax the mind. It’s much easier to get good sleep when the mind is relaxed than when it is thinking about all of the problems you are facing. Meditation won’t solve those problems. But, getting to sleep can help you to come up with solutions faster.

And it certainly beats having mean thoughts towards sheep.

Better Some Sleep, Get More ZZZZZZZs