Alaska Sleep Education Center

Stop Nighttime Stress So You Can Sleep Better

Posted by Paisley Hansen on Nov 27, 2021 1:48:00 AM

Young asian businessman sitting at the table and rubbing his eyes.

Stress has a way of interfering with your life in both large and small ways, but it’s arguably the most frustrating when you can’t shut your anxious brain off when it’s time to get some shuteye. Stress-related insomnia is incredibly common, and the anxieties of everyday life can make it hard for you to fall asleep and stay in dreamland throughout the night without waking up. 

When you’re stressed or anxious, it can be difficult, or even impossible, to get some rest. Read on for helpful ways to reduce stress at night so you can get a solid seven to nine hours of sleep and wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day. 

Improve Your Environment

The reasons you may not be able to stop thinking about student loan refinance options or that thing you said back in sixth grade may be found in your bedroom environment. Your system could be distracted by electronic screens, uncomfortable bedding, a too-old mattress, loud noises coming from the street outside, or any other things that may stimulate your brain and contribute to a sense of overwhelm. 

Take some time to look around your bedroom and remove anything that may be a possible stressor for you when you try to wind down for the night. Add in a few relaxing elements, such as a sound machine, a soothing candle, and some softer pillows. 

Watch Your Diet

Highly processed foods and meals with a high sugar content can cause blood sugar spikes at night if eaten too late in the day. This makes it a lot harder for your body to enter a relaxed state when you have an extra dose of energy, both mental and physical, flowing through your body. 

Those who eat a healthy, nourishing diet during the day, and eliminate late-night snacking, have been shown to get better quality sleep at night. Limit your consumption of unhealthy foods, including alcohol and caffeine, especially as it gets closer to bedtime. 

Exercise During the Day

Exercise is one of the best things you can do to maintain a stable weight, strengthen your muscles and joints, improve cognitive function and, yes, get better sleep at night. Exercise floods your body with feel-good endorphins that relieve stress and anxiety naturally. 

Regular exercise also provides an outlet for you to burn anxious energy or just focus on something other than your life’s stressors for a while. Aim for at least 150 minutes of aerobic movement during the week to help your body relax and fall asleep better at night. 

Practice Deep Breathing

When it seems like you can’t turn your brain off, it isn’t always effective to try to quiet your mind, which can leave you feeling even more frustrated if it doesn’t work. Instead, use all of your mental energy to focus on something else, such as deep breathing. Try inhaling for five seconds and exhaling for seven seconds for as long as you’d like. Your focus on counting, and the physical act of taking deep breaths, can relax your mind and body at the same time. 

Avoid Electronics

An anxious brain is an alert brain, as your body is in a fight-or-flight stage and geared up for potential danger. Digital devices and screen time only make your brain feel even more alert, as the blue light from the screens stimulates your mind and can send signals to your body that it’s time to be up and awake. Give yourself an “electronic sundown” by eliminating the use of screens anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour before your head hits the pillow. 

Schedule Time to Think

If your anxious thoughts seem to never end, it may be helpful to stop fighting it and work with your mental thought train rather than against it. Your brain is designed to worry itself in order to keep you safe and secure. Consider some of your worry time a beneficial part of your day, but cut it off after a certain amount of time. Not all of your problems can be solved in one night, and worrying too much will only make it harder for you to deal with things when you’re in a sleep-deprived state. 

Scientific studies have proven the health ramifications of sleep deprivation and what it does to our bodies, minds, and everyday lives. It is an epidemic that not only affects us as adults but is also affecting our nation’s kids.

We can take countermeasures to gt more and better sleep, steps that have been proven to work by scientific studies. We can give ourselves some TLC to promote better sleep, which can, in turn, restore us to our full capacity. Because really, don’t we just want our best sleep every night, especially in this age of high stress? We want that great sleep where we wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day. 

Call Alaska Sleep Clinic today @ 907-770-9104 for your free sleep assessment.

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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, stress, sleep deprivation, bipap

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