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What To Do If Stress Is Keeping You Awake at Night

When stress is keeping you awake, here are some helpful steps you can take to put stress behind you before you go to sleep each night.

You're so tired you can barely see straight. You hop into bed, lay your head on the pillow and, wham!— there you are, wide awake. Thoughts and worries begin swirling through your head; you just can't turn off your brain's slide show of life, work and deadlines.

We've all been there: that frustrating place where stress interrupts a situation perfectly suited for slumber. That old, familiar anxiety saddles up beside you in bed and keeps you tossing and turning throughout the night.


When Stress Is Keeping You Awake...
11 Quick Strategies

  • Exercise in the morning or afternoon. Exercise early in the day releases endorphins and gives you a boost that lasts; it also helps you sleep at night.
  • Downshift before bedtime. In the evening, reduce your activities stimulation as much as possible. Dim the lights and slow things down. Do something you find relaxing such as painting, reading, practicing yoga, or talking with a friend or partner.
  • Take a calming bath. Soak in warm water and Epsom salts for 20 minutes. The magnesium contained in the salt will be absorbed through the skin and promote feelings of relaxation.
  • Practice relaxing techniques before bedtime. To prevent daytime worries from undermining your sleep, make an effort to switch your mind into "off" mode before you get into bed. It's not easy, to be sure. But you can try by jotting down your worries and concerns on a piece of paper, which promises you that they won't be forgotten, but can be attended to the next morning. You can do this by jotting down your concerns in the afternoon and putting them aside to address the next morning.
  • Quit caffeine by noon. A known stimulant, caffeine should not be ingested too close to bedtime.
  • Practice left nostril breathing. Who knew? But apparently, Left-nostril breathing has a soothing and relaxing effect on the body mind. take 26 long, slow deep breaths in this manner to produce a relaxing effect on the mind and body.
  • Have a sleepy meal at dinnertime. For dinner, eat a combination of high-quality proteins and complex carbohydrates. Foods high in tryptophan, melatonin and magnesium promote good sleep.
  • Make your bedroom your sanctuary. Your bedroom should be free of stress, and seen as a place for sleep and relaxation only. To that end, play with sights, sounds and creature comforts that help you decompress and relax:
  • Sleep in a pitch-black room. Wear an eye mask or install "black out" blinds.
  • Block out noise. If you find that you are more relaxed with some background noise, use a fan or noise machine while sleeping. Earplugs are also a great option if you are sensitive to noise.
  • Choose your "dream bed." Do you sleep on your stomach? Few adults do; but that doesn't mean you shouldn't find just the right mattress to accommodate your style of sleep, however rare!  Make sure to research and review the types of beds available and choose the one that suits you best.

**Tuck Sleep Foundation is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NPR, Lifehacker, Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web.



Stress Is Keeping You Awake:
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