Barack Obama claims to have 6 whereas Mariah Carey says she has 15 and I personally tend to have 9. Any idea what I am referring to?
Sleep is fundamental to our wellbeing and how we manage stress in our lives. Previously I have written 6 Tips to Help Teenagers Get A Good Nights Sleep as it is very important that teenagers have good sleep habits especially in the run-up to GCSE and A-Level exams. However, they are not the only ones who will benefit from having a good sleep routine as we know that there are sleep solutions for stressed minds out there.
We all have some degree of stress in our lives and it is pretty hard not to feel the pressure at times. We need to learn how to manage this in our busy lives. Stress can come in many forms and it can make us feel anxious or interrupt our sleep. Insomnia is often a sign that we are not managing our stress well and we should listen to our bodies and attempt to address the balance and find sleep solutions. For me, I know that stress is affecting me when I get snappy with the children. My temper gets shorter and I find myself feeling annoyed over the smallest of things. When I become aware of this I need to focus on changing my mindset.
Over the years I have realised that the following sleep solution strategies are the ones that work for me.
- Exercise is a great stress reliever. Exercise releases those feel-good hormones and this is scientifically proven. Therefore some exercise is a great way to beat stress plus it also physically tires out the body. I have recently discovered weight lifting. I’m not talking lifting huge weights but doing weights classes makes me feel strong both mentally and physically. I am a convert! I never thought I would enjoy weights but I do. Sports like kickboxing or running can have the same effect. It releases the stress and you can take it out on a ball, a path or a punch bag.
- Meditate. Learning how to relax is also important in helping the brain switch off from the dramas at work or home. Light a candle, listen to some music or meditate. There are lots of free apps available if you are new to meditating. If you don’t fancy strenuous exercise as mentioned above, then try Yoga, pilates or piyo as an alternative way to focus on yourself and your mind.
- Invest in sleep by having set times to go to bed and decent bedding. Having a comfy pillow or mattress helps and at TEMPUR, they research, develop, engineer, manufacture and distribute mattresses, pillows and other sleep and relaxation products. Regulating your body temperature at bedtime is also important. Buy yourself some comfy bedwear and it too will aid sleep.
- Move away from the devices before bed. Staying active online and taking our devices to bed with us encourage us to be available to others. Instead, we should switch off before we wind down for the evening. Since the advent of smartphones we have become accustomed to always being connected and always being available. This means we check work emails late into the evening and never really take a break to refresh. This is not healthy for our wellbeing or for our sleep. Instead, read a magazine or a book, we need to let ourselves switch off and imagine for a while.
- Eat well. When we eat rubbish starchy foods we soon feel lethargic, they may give us some immediate gratification but soon enough we feel bloated and uncomfortable. Instead make sure you are eating well, especially seasonal foods in a rainbow of colours. The vitamins and minerals will also help regulate our stress levels.
- Declutter the bedroom, personally I find a tidy and calm environment helps me to relax. Therefore cool calm colours for the interiors and have soft lighting. I use a dimmer switch or my Lumie clock for natural light and this teaches the body to relax.
- Seek help. When all of the above has been tried and you still feel anxious or stressed talk to others. Talking can help you identify if the problem warrants more invention and support from a therapist or GP. Never be afraid to say you have tried X, Y and Z and still feel stressed. You will be listened to and given more support if required.
What strategies do you have in place to achieve a refreshing night’s sleep?
This is a collaborative post with Tempur.