Stress and sleep are in cahoots. The research says that on a regular basis, over a half of us are too stressed to get a good night of quality sleep. What's more, it seems that going to bed tired but with our mind too full of worries to drop off is an issue more prevalent in women than men. The problem is, the more anxious we get about not sleeping, the more stressed out we get and the harder it is to fall asleep. So it's easy to get trapped in a nasty Stress:Sleep Cycle that is exhausting and bad for our health and well-being.
Researchers at the Sleep Centre at the University of Surrey have proven that lack of sleep triggers the immune system in to action. This is the same type of response that we get when we are exposed to tense situations. We're programmed to react that way to increase our chance of survival but only for short, infrequent bursts. Staying on that red alert level for an extended period of time, or experiencing it nightly puts strain on our bodies. Over exposure to stress creates a chain reaction in our bodies that can raise our blood pressure, create fluctuation in glucose levels and cause inflammation - all of which combine to increase our chance of having a stroke. Don't get stressed reading all this. There's is some good news - night time stress can be managed. In fact the secret may well be not to worry about not sleeping. Just find something proactive that you can do to influence it, then let nature take its course.
THE GOOD NEWS
There are lots of ways help yourself fall sleep more easily, so it's a case of finding a route that works for you. Our preference is always to find a natural route - through managing your sleep routine and lifestyle to make bedtime something you look forward to rather than dread. Here are our top tips for stress-free nights and easing yourself to sleep.
- Cut out stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol a few hrs before you want to nod off - Unplug your tech. Computer and phone emit blue-light which switches the body in to wake up mode. Have a 9pm curfew on all things screen based to give yourself some pre bed down time
- Put time aside before bed to get yourself in to sleep mode - little bit of me-time at the end of each day goes a long way
- Soak in a warm scented bath to ease tired muscles and real your mind before turning in for the night - Use your sense of smell to lull you to sleep with the help of natural aromatherapy that relaxes and calms. There's a whole host of ways to tap in to the power of soothing aromas at bedtime. For example, our Kiss the Moon After Dark Sleep Balms are perfect to have by your bedside for night when you wake and struggle to get back to sleep.
- Make sure your bedroom is sleep friendly - consider the practical stuff (Is it quiet enough? Dark enough? Cool enough?) but also the softer things (is it comfortable, does it make you feel safe and happy?)
NEED MORE HELP?
Disrupted sleep that continues for a month or more without a clear cause can sometimes be an indication of an underlying medical issue so if problems persist have a chat to your GP. For more sleep tips check out the Night-time Know-how section of our Bedtime Blog