Guest Post by Alicia Sanchez: Managing Stress at Bedtime

thumbnail_Breathe neon sign (1)

Nearly everyone struggles with stress. As humans, we tend to put that stress off until we’re so embroiled in it that we can’t function. Most often, our stress tends to manifest in sleeplessness, Which makes that stress harder to deal with during the day.

You might find yourself thinking about your stressful day instead of counting sheep when you are struggling to get to sleep at night

Build A Routine

Whenever possible, create a routine for yourself that involves relaxing activities. This can mean anything from reading a book to relaxing in the bathtub –  it’s going to be personal for you. What works for you might not work for me.

Make sure that it includes brushing your teeth and hair as well, to make sure that you wake up as clean as you can be.

Routines are helpful because it helps to train our brain to focus on that routine instead of our stress and help us to sleep at night.

Keep Stressors Out of The Bedroom

One of the best things you can do for yourself if you are having trouble sleeping is to keep your work and cell phone out of your bedroom, Especially if you work from home. The human body Is Keen on distractions, so the fewer distractions that you give your body, the better off you will be when it comes to your bedtime.

By taking your work and phone out of the bedroom, you will be less tempted to get up and start working when you can’t sleep. Instead, try putting an old-fashioned alarm clock on your bedside table to wake you up in the morning. That way, you won’t be able to work from bed in the middle of the night on your cell phone. This could help limit the stress that you feel while you are trying to sleep.

If you must keep your work in the room, put it somewhere out of sight so that you won’t is staring at them from bed.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

If you find yourself struggling to sleep  on a regular basis, try cutting out your use of caffeine and alcohol during the day. Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in your system for 6 to 8 hours after ingestion and can exacerbate anxiety and stress.

Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it causes you to be slightly more depressed. It can make you feel sleepy, but you’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night if you drink before bed. Since sleeping poorly means that you will react worse to stressors during the day, this is not ideal,

If you want something to drink to help you fall asleep, try chamomile tea or other teas that are brewed specifically for making you sleepy.

If you find that you are  constantly stressed out at bedtime, talk to your doctor or therapist.  there might be something that is causing the sudden onset of stressed feelings at that particular time that you need to work through or get treated.

Sleep well,

Alicia

Alicia Sanchez is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com with a specialty in health and wellness. A Nashville native, Alicia finds the sound of summer storms so soothing that she still sleeps with recorded rain on her white noise machine.

*Photo Source: CC

Guest Post by Sleephelp.org : Boost Your Productivity at Work by Napping

It’s mid-afternoon, and your eyelids are starting to droop, but you’ve still got a good three hours before the end of your workday. As much as you want to give your employer 100 percent for a full eight hours, mental and physical fatigue can get in the way. But, there’s a simple solution that’s been used to help humans get through a long day for centuries – a nap. A growing body of research suggests that naps aren’t just for children.
Nap for Alertness
Whether you work the day, swing, or night shift a quick nap can help you stay more alert while on the job. A study conductedamong air traffic controllers on the night shift found that a nap mid-shift let to quicker reaction times, better alertness, and fewer signs of sleepiness. While participants didn’t enter the most restorative stage of sleep, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, they still reaped benefits from a nap.
Nap for Improved Memory and Creativity
Naps not only keep you more alert, but they can also enhance your ability to learn and think creatively. A team of researchers explored the relationship between sleep and memory consolidation, which is essential for learning. Participants answered a series of questions first thing in the morning and then again later in the day. Those participants who did not have a nap showed a predictable deterioration in their answers. Participants who napped used information from the previous test to answer more creatively, with greater accuracy, and increased mental flexibility in their thinking. It was estimated that anywhere from 40 to 73 percent of the performance increases resulted from the memory enhancing effects of sleep.
Nap for Better Health
Naps also have a secondary effect that goes beyond work performance. Sleep deprivation, which is anytime you get less than seven hours of sleep, causes hormonal changes that lead to an increase in appetite, depressed immune system, and slowed mental acuity. But guess what? A 30-minute nap can counteract or even reverse some of the hormone changes caused by sleep deprivation. Nobody likes to get sick, but if you’re looking to convince your boss that a 30-minute nap is a great idea, you can use the evidence of fewer sick days due to better health.
Tips for Better Sleep at Night
Improving your productivity is important, but better sleep has an impact on more than just your professional life. It stabilizesmoods, metabolism, and helps your body heal and recover from stress and injury. While a nap is a quick solution when you’re running behind on sleep, the best thing you can do for yourself long term is to get better sleep at night.
Good sleep starts with a high-quality mattress. If your mattress has lumps and valleys, you wake up achy, or you’ve had it for over nine years, it’s probably time for a new one. Check your local store or online for mattress discounts or sales to save money, but make sure the mattress supports your sleep style and weight. A sleep trial may give you insight into how well a mattress suits your needs.
You can also enhance your sleep by:
  • Maintaining a regular sleep schedule on weekdays and weekends
  • Developing a relaxing bedtime routine to help you wind down from the day
  • Turning off screens and electronic devices two to three hours before bed
  • Stopping the consumption caffeine early in the afternoon
  • Keeping your naps under 60 minutes to prevent sleep problems at night
You don’t need to feel guilty about napping. In fact, if anyone asks, you can tell them you’re giving your creative juices a boost.
Have a nice nap! –