How to Discharge Tension to Sleep Better
Subscribe to Outside+ now to get unique access to all of our content, including sequences, instructor tips, video lessons, and much more. Have you ever felt tight and been urged to “just relax,” only to feel much more upset as a result? You’re not entirely incorrect. It may not be possible—or perhaps advisable—to maintain one’s composure when the world appears to be on fire. Even when we are unable to act on our natural urge to do something, and when our bodies are subjected to excessive tension for an extended period of time, we become even more stressed.
Emotional regulation through the vagus nerve
Even when we’re pumped up and ready to go, we have the capacity to control our emotional responses. What would be a good place to start? The polyvagal theory developed by neuroscientist Stephen Porges, which emphasizes the importance of the vagus nerve in emotional regulation. Through the use of a traffic light metaphor, we may determine where we are now at in time. Once we have gained some understanding, we can put it into practice by drawing on some of the principles presented in Anodea Judith’s book, Charge and the Energy Body.
Green Zone: We are genuinely calm
We have a sense of security and openness, and the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system (often referred to as rest and digest) is the main branch of the system. This is the condition in which we all wish to be again, but we can’t get there by pretending to be relaxed when we aren’t.
Yellow Zone: Our stress response is activated
Fighting or fleeing is the most intense form of this style. We are energized and ready to take action when the situation calls for it. When we are feeling stressed or restless, we might be snappy or even furious at the same time. Because fleeing or fighting is not always what we want to do, we must look for alternative methods of properly discharging our energies. This zone is characterized by the dominance of the sympathetic nervous system in the body. We are not designed to remain in this condition for an extended period of time.
It also makes it more difficult to engage in restorative techniques that are much required, such as meditation or performing relaxing breath exercises.
Red Zone: Total collapse
Our bodies shut down, or freeze, as if we were a trapped animal due to an overload of stress chemicals and reactions. While we may look tranquil and our pulse rate may be low on the surface, this zone is where we hold on to the buzz of the charged state that we built up in the yellow zone and where we rest our heads.
We may be experiencing “outrage fatigue” in this situation, which is defined as feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, resigned, or numb as a result of emotions of impotence and helplessness.
Discharging tension: Getting back to the green zone
Several major paths for discharge in the body are described by author Anodea Judith as being part of the area of bioenergetics. These pathways are as follows: They have a connection to the way we would ordinarily protect ourselves throughout the evolution of the human animal’s history. A common method of protecting ourselves was to use our hands and arms to push away or punch; another method was to use our legs to flee or kick. We may also use our voices to scare away predators or assailants by shouting or yelling at them in a loud manner.
Our bodies, on the other hand, will continue to carry the stress until we discover a method to release it.
Discharging the arms
- Push up against the wall in Downward Dog position with your body in an L-shape
- The Kundalini punches are performed while sitting or standing wide-legged with your knees bent. While exhaling powerfully, alternating hitting each fist from shoulder height outward.
Discharging the legs
- Press against the wall in Downward Dog position with your body in an L-shape. Kundalini punches: While sitting or standing wide-legged with your knees bent, exhale powerfully while you alternate hitting each fist from shoulder height outward.
Discharging via mouth
- Make a rousing announcement
- Make a lengthy “HAH” noise with your mouth
- Standing wide-legged with your knees bent, utter a sharp “ha” with a wood-chopping motion from the top of your head to your feet
Once you’ve completed this, begin to work on releasing the tension from the key hotspots in your body through asana, allowing you to return to a state of relaxation. Additionally, see:Yoga Teachers: Here’s How You’re Ruining Your Students’ Sleep.
Poses to dissolve tension
Here are a few stretches that I have chosen from the easy sleep sequence that I have done with hundreds of patients who are looking to improve their sleep quality over the years. During this session, we’ll focus on stretching the quadriceps, which are the most powerful activating muscle groups in the body, as well as releasing the protective hunched stance caused by tightpsoasand forward-positioned shoulders.
The Quad Stretch
When we are mobilized, such as during a fight or flight response, the quad muscles receive an additional boost. Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose) and Eka Pada Supta Virasana (One-Legged Reclined Hero Pose) are two deep quad stretch variations that release tension from the body’s largest and densest muscle group. They also release the line that runs up through the hip flexor and into the abdominals, clearing the lower back and lengthening the front of the torso for more space and better breathing.
While lying on your back, bring your right knee up to your chest and hold it there. Lie down on your mat with your left leg extended long, your heel pushing down into the mat and your left toes pointed straight up. Then, with the back of your left hand resting back onto the floor above you, raise your left arm above your head and repeat. Continue to hug your right knee in while stretching your left heel down and away, and lengthening your left hand and arm upwards toward and past your head, as you did previously.
Jathari Parivartansanana (Supine Spinal Twist)
In this multi-purpose posture, the solar plexus area, where many of us hold worry and stress, as well as the renowned third chakra fire center in the body, is opened up and strengthened. The way we breathe when we are tense and hyperactive is up into the upper chest, and our shoulders tighten and round in preparation for defending or protecting oneself. The lower body is kept stable by lying totally on your right side, maintaining your pelvis level while stacking your knees in line with your hip points and your ankles squarely beneath your knees at perfect angles, all while keeping your pelvis level.
Finally, tilt your head to the left, away from your legs, to complete the motion.
More discussion and techniques to help you recharge your rest and feel more invigorated are available. Sign up for the Restore Your Sleepyoga summit and you’ll be able to watch sessions from each of the five teachers whenever you want. Now is the time to join!
About our expert
The author, Lisa Sanfilippo, is a recovered insomniac who trained as a sociologist and researcher. She discovered yoga during her darkest, most sleepless hours, and she has worked tirelessly to discover methods that can be used at any time, place, or stage in one’s life to systematically flush out exhaustion and insomnia. Lisa Sanfilippo is a recovering insomniac who trained as a sociologist and researcher who discovered yoga during her bleakest, most sleepless hours. A fully licensed transpersonal psychotherapist, she also has a yoga therapy practice that she runs alongside her day job.
- Lisa has been a resident instructor at some of the most well-established yoga studios in the United Kingdom and Europe for for two decades, instructing hundreds of students each week.
- In her work, she works with internationally recognized performers and musicians as well as students, activists, medical professionals, and creatives, assisting them all in regaining their abilities and discovering their own personal secrets to sleeping better and feeling better all day.
- Lisa’s book covers the procedure in simple, straightforward language that is understandable even to individuals who have never considered taking yoga before.
- She is now working on a book.
Tips to Sleep Better When Stressed
If you’ve ever experienced tension that caused you to toss and turn at night, you’ll understand why stress and sleep issues appear to go hand in hand. In response to stress, the sympathetic nervous system(1) is activated, resulting in an elevated heart rate and high blood pressure, which keep you awake instead of allowing you to go asleep. However, even if you are successful in falling asleep, the quality of your sleep may be of lower quality, and you may awaken more frequently throughout the night.
Given that lack of sleep can exacerbate stress-related symptoms(3), these restless evenings might spiral into a vicious cycle. Learning new techniques for dealing with stress at night may help you sleep better. As a result, you’ll be more prepared to deal with any challenges life throws at you.
Use Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques(4) can help you feel calmer by lowering your blood pressure, slowing your breathing, and decreasing your stress levels. You can pick from a number of coping strategies that are designed to trigger a relaxation response in order to aid in the preparation for sleep. Included among the most effective treatments are mindfulness meditation, guided imagery, hypnosis, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing. Also included are physical therapies like yoga, tai chi, and qi gong, as well as techniques that have a mental component (5).
Manage Screen Time Wisely
Smartphones, tablets, TVs, and computer screens all generate blue light, which has been shown to keep people awake at night(6) by reducing levels of melatonin, the hormone that helps people fall asleep. It is recommended by sleep experts(7) that you avoid using electronic devices in the hours before night as part of your wind-down ritual. Wearing special glasses that filter blue light(8) may help to lessen the influence of screen time on your sleep-wake cycle, but if you are able, try to make your bedroom a screen-free zone as well.
Drink a Warm Glass of Milk
Many individuals find that a calming cup of milk or herbal tea(9) is exactly what they need to drift off to sleep at night, despite the fact that the science is still unclear as to why milk tends to promote sleep (10). Reduce your intake of caffeinated beverages, alcoholic beverages, and nicotine, especially in the nights, to enhance your sleep quality. If you find yourself getting out of bed to use the restroom on a regular basis, you may want to reduce the amount of fluids you consume before bed(11).
Avoid Heavy Meals Before Bed
According to a recent study(12), eating within three hours of bedtime may result in more nightly awakenings than usual. Eating a large meal soon before going to bed can also create heartburn(13), which can be accompanied by pain, making it more more difficult to fall asleep at night. You should attempt to avoid eating fried, spicy, or acidic meals just before night if you have heartburn. The best choice for people who have problems sleeping through the night on an empty stomach is to consume a modest, nutritious bedtime snack before going to bed (14).
Take a Hot Shower
Include a hot shower or a warm bath(15) in your evening ritual to help your body naturally chill down after a long day. Temperature drops (16) replicate the natural changes of the sleep-wake cycle, which may shorten the time it takes to fall asleep.
Stress-relieving exercise is extremely beneficial, and regular exercise can also aid to enhance sleep quality. Having said that, some people have reported that exercising too close to bedtime(17) might make it difficult to fall asleep. Try to finish off vigorous exercise activities at least 90 minutes before bedtime to give your core body temperature enough time to return to levels that are conducive to sleep (18).
The capacity of some smells, such as aslavender(19) and peppermint(20), to lower anxiety and increase sleep quality has been demonstrated in animal studies.
Try aromatherapy with essential oils to relieve tension before night, or give yourself a short foot massage with lavender cream to relax before rest (21).
Write Down Your Thoughts in a Journal
Many people find that writing down their anxieties in a notebook helps them to better manage their stress. By setting aside a certain time each day to write down whatever is on your mind, you may be able to avoid the racing thoughts that keep you awake at night while you’re trying to sleep.
Listen to Music or Nature Sounds
If road noise or noisy neighbors are making it difficult to sleep, consider using earplugs or a white noise machine to drown out the noise and get some rest. Nature sounds(22), according to one research, are particularly peaceful soundscapes; nevertheless, you may experiment with different sleep sounds to find which ones work best for your preferences.
Create a Relaxing Bedroom Environment
As a result of your aggravation at not being able to sleep, you may begin to associate your bed with traumatic memories. A few simple sleep hygiene activities might assist to alleviate these sensations and maintain the notion that bed is a place for sleeping:
- Keep work and other activities away from the bedroom
- Reserve the bed for sleep and sex only. Maintain a pleasant and peaceful environment in the bedroom. Create a daily schedule for your bedroom and follow it religiously
- All bright lights, including alarm clocks and phone notifications, should be turned off. When you’re attempting to fall asleep or if you wake up in the middle of the night, avoid gazing at the clock. Starting an hour before bedtime, begin to wind down by lowering the lights and engaging in peaceful activities
- Plan to get up at the same time every day, including on weekends, by setting an alarm. If you still can’t sleep after half an hour, get out of bed and engage in a peaceful activity in another room until you fall asleep
Stress can make it difficult to sleep, but these home treatments can help you sleep better in many circumstances. If sleep remains elusive, seek the advice of a medical expert. They may be able to assist you with further insomnia treatments or do a sleep study to rule out any underlying sleep issues.
- Stress can make it difficult to sleep, but these home treatments can often help you sleep better. If sleep is still elusive, seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. Depending on the results of the examination, they may be in a position to recommend additional insomnia treatments or to check for any underlying sleep problems.
Sleepless Nights? Try Stress Relief Techniques
The results of a recent nationwide poll revealed that 44 percent of individuals said that stress had caused them to have sleepless nights at least once in the preceding month. Tossing and turning in your sleep, as well as looking at the ceiling, can leave you feeling exhausted and even more anxious the next day. However, if you find yourself trapped in this vicious cycle of worry and sleeplessness, there is good news: simple stress management strategies can help you sleep better and feel more relaxed.
Understanding Anxiety and Insomnia
What is the source of the link between increased stress and decreased sleep? The sleep specialist at Johns Hopkins University, Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M, argues that if you’re constantly stimulating your stress reaction, your body will never return to its baseline. In Buenaver’s opinion, “stress and restless nights are intimately related.” “If you’re in pain, have a tendency to worry, or are dealing with a challenging circumstance in your life, it’s possible that you have higher levels of stress hormones in your bloodstream than typical.
And it’s possible that those hormones will never be completely broken down.
“To alleviate stress, we recommend that you engage in organized relaxation activities. “Watching a baseball game or a movie on television just isn’t the same as taking the time to really relax,” says Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M., a sleep expert at Johns Hopkins University. Consider the following strategy: Begin by practicing slow breathing and gradual muscular relaxation every day for 20 to 25 minutes for the next two weeks. 2. Rate your degree of emotional and physical tension before and after the event on a scale from 0 to 10 (from “fully relaxed” to “absolutely tight”).
In time, your body and mind will become more adept at relaxing more quickly and profoundly, allowing you to have fewer restless nights, according to Buenaver.
Stress Relief Techniques to the Rescue
“Activities that activate the body’s natural relaxation response are really pleasurable,” explains Buenaver. “In addition, research has shown that they help people sleep better. In addition to decreasing your heart rate and breathing, they also aid to reduce the release of the stress chemicals cortisol and adrenaline in your body. “Your body and mind begin to relax.” Stress-relieving exercises such as yoga, tai chi, and meditation are beneficial. The same may be said for these two easy exercises that Buenaver offers to patients who are having difficulty sleeping at night.
- Relax in a quiet area and choose a comfortable posture to sit or lie down. It may be beneficial to close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths in and out for around five minutes. As you inhale, direct your breath downward into your bellybutton. Consider concentrating on your breathing
- If you’d like, repeat to yourself, “Breathing in, I am calm
- Breathing out, I am dealing.”
Progressive muscle relaxation:
- Relax in a peaceful area, either sitting or lying down in a comfortable position. Gently inhale and exhale a couple deep breaths
- Begin by tensing small groups of muscles one at a time while taking deep breaths. As you inhale, hold the tension in your body, and then expel it completely. To relax each muscle area, take a few deep breaths and pay attention to (and appreciate) how relaxed it feels. Begin by focusing on the muscles in your head, neck, and face. Move down to your shoulders, hands, and arms, back, stomach, buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet
- Then repeat the process. Repeat the process for any remaining tense spots.
During this exercise, pay attention to the presence and absence of stress so that you may identify any remaining tension and take action to address it, according to Dr. Buenaver.
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Stress and Sleep – How To Master Stress And Enjoy Restful Sleep Instantly
In accordance with estimates from the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research, roughly 40 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep disturbance. A wide range of ailments and conditions are covered under this umbrella term. These include insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome. Sleep-related problems are on the rise, and many ailments that individuals are suffering from during the day may be linked to a lack of sleep at night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Poor sleep may lead to a variety of health problems, including depression, weight gain, and high blood pressure.
Too much stress may cause you to have a terrible night’s sleep, which can lead to mental and physical health problems, which can, in turn, generate tension in your everyday life, which can cause you to have a bad night’s sleep.
Learning how to manage stress throughout the day can only benefit your general health and wellness, as well as contribute to improved sleep, if you practice it consistently.
Your body on stress – What exactly is stress and how does your body handle it?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, stress is described as “a condition of mental or emotional strain or tension coming from unfavourable or difficult circumstances.” In a nutshell, it is the process through which your body perceives and responds to external forces, whether mental or physical. Stress at a regular level may actually be beneficial to the body, as it can push you to work harder, concentrate better, and even increase performance. However, this is only true when the source of the stress is a short-term problem.
- It is critical to understand how your body responds to stress on a physiological level in order to comprehend why.
- When you are faced with a challenge or a dangerous circumstance, your body will activate what is known as the “fight or flight” reaction, which prepares you to fight or leave the threat or dangerous situation.
- However, when you are under constant stress, this aggravation of the neurological system does not lessen, and it can have a detrimental influence on your general health.
- It is possible that you will be in a near continual condition of holding your breath or hyperventilation, as well as experiencing difficulty breathing and fast heartbeat.
- Additionally, high amounts of cortisol in the bloodstream can induce weight gain and inflammation in the body, which can result in a weakened immune system.
- You may also experience heartburn and acid reflux, as your stomach produces more acid during times of high stress.
- This has the potential to have an impact on everything from mood and tissue health to blood sugar metabolism and reproductive health and function.
It’s no surprise that when your stress levels are elevated, you have trouble sleeping since your body is in a constant fight or flight mode on a physiological level, ready to deal with whatever threat may come your way.
5 Ways in Which Stress Affects Your Body
- Stress causes the adrenal gland to release epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, and norepinephrine, also known as noradrenaline, into the body, which assists your body in responding to danger by raising heart rate, narrowing blood vessels, and converting fat to energy. During times of stress, your body also releases cortisol, which has a variety of negative consequences on the body if it is not well controlled. The increased production of hormones causes the liver to create more glucose, which puts a burden on the body’s capacity to reabsorb the sugar, resulting in the development of diabetes. A research conducted in Australia discovered that persistent stress increases the pace and volume at which lymphatic arteries discharge malignant tumors, allowing them to spread throughout the body. This is quite concerning. Inflammation of the respiratory system– Stress can induce increased and shallow breathing, as well as holding your breath, which means that cells do not receive enough oxygen. This can result in dizziness, lack of attention, and even temporary loss of consciousness
- However, it is unlikely. Cardiovascular system– When you are stressed, your heart beats quicker, striving to circulate blood around your body more quickly in order to prepare it to respond promptly to the situation. When under stress, blood pressure rises, and if it remains elevated for an extended period of time, it can cause long-term damage to the body. When you are under stress, your digestive system creates more acid and regulates the amount of nutrients you absorb. Heartburn, acid reflux, ulcers, and esophageal spasms are all health conditions that can be linked to stress in the body. Constipation and diarrhoea are other possible side effects. In times of severe stress, muscles are continually strained, causing discomfort, damage, and chronic disorders such as migraines and tension headaches
- Musculoskeletal system
5 Top Causes of Stress
An annual ” Stress in America ” poll is conducted by the American Psychological Association, in which they evaluate how worried Americans feel and what exactly keeps them awake at night. According to the most current poll, which was conducted in November 2017, the most prevalent sources of stress are as shown in this infographic. However, while this survey found that Americans’ stress levels in 2017 were constant with those in 2016, almost half (46 percent) of those interviewed said that one result of their stress levels was the inability to sleep at night in the previous night.
In addition, 34% of those questioned stated that they were fatigued as a result of their stressful situations.
How stress keeps you awake at night – The vicious cycle of bad sleep and stress
An annual ” Stress in America ” poll is conducted by the American Psychological Association, in which they evaluate how worried Americans feel and what precisely keeps them up at night in America. This infographic displays the most prevalent sources of stress according to the results of the most current poll, which was conducted in November of 2017. However, while this survey found that Americans’ stress levels in 2017 were constant with those in 2016, almost half (46 percent) of those interviewed said that one result of their stress levels was the inability to sleep at night during the previous night.
In addition, 34% of those questioned stated that they were fatigued as a result of their stressful circumstances.
How to Lower Stress Levels to Improve Sleep
Even though certain chronic sleep issues, such as sleep apnoea and insomnia, may require medical assistance, if your sleep loss is related to stress, there are some things you can do to help yourself sleep better. Check out some of these stress-relieving strategies and methods, and adopt a couple of them into your daily routine to see if you notice a difference in the quality of your sleep.
Increase your exposure to daylight
If you work in a dark office during the day or reside in the northern hemisphere, it is possible that you are not receiving enough sunlight and that your sleep is being disrupted as a consequence. Studies have revealed that exposure to sunshine or strong interior lighting throughout the morning hours can help people sleep better at night, according to the findings. It has also been demonstrated that getting enough sunlight might help to reduce sadness and stress. Make sure you get plenty of natural light, and if you can’t, consider investing in a light therapy gadget to keep near you during the day to help calibrate your circadian rhythm.
Take the necessary steps to ensure that you get enough exercise during the day. Exercise is widely regarded by health professionals as one of the most effective methods of maintaining mental health and reducing stress and anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “when stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body is affected as well.” As a result, it comes to reason that if your body feels better, your mind will as well.” Exercise causes the release of endorphins into the body, which not only makes you joyful, but also helps you relax and sleep better at night.
Try some natural relaxation and wellness techniques
Meditation, yoga, and other relaxation practices have all been shown to be useful in the treatment of stress and sleep disturbances. There are several guided meditations and yoga routines available that are tailored exclusively to folks who have difficulty sleeping. Allow yourself some downtime at the end of your hectic day to relax and unwind. Even if you simply have 10 minutes to spend in a little meditation before going to bed, you may notice a beneficial difference. You don’t need any particular abilities or to adhere to any religious beliefs in order to participate, so give it a shot.
Relax and fall asleep to music or natural sounds that are designed to promote deep slumber.
It’s possible that introducing some aromatherapy into your life can help you sleep better at night. Patients in critical care who were unable to sleep properly were shown to have improved sleep quality and a lower degree of anxiety after using lavender oil, according to a research published in 2017. There are a variety of ways to utilize essential oils to help you relax and sleep, including air diffusers and pillow sprays, to get the desired results. Lavender and camomile are two essential oils that are often used for their calming effects.
Make your room a den of zen
It’s possible that introducing some aromatherapy into your life may improve your sleep quality and efficiency. In one study conducted in 2017, lavender oil was shown to improve the quality of sleep and lower the degree of anxiety in patients in critical care who were experiencing sleep difficulties. There are a variety of ways to utilize essential oils to help you relax and sleep, including air diffusers and pillow sprays, to get the desired effect. Lavender and camomile are two essential oils that are widely used for their calming effects on the body.
By journaling before bed, you may be able to alleviate some of your tension. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, writing can aid in the management of excessive emotion and anxiety, the reduction of stress, and the management of depression. As you go through the issues that are causing you stress, it may assist you in prioritizing your problems, anxieties, and concerns. It can also be used as a tool to document your daily stresses and triggers, allowing you to discover more effective methods to manage them.
Sort out your finances
65 percent of Americans are awake at night because of financial concerns. In spite of the fact that it is often more difficult stated than done, organizing your money may be a smart approach to reduce stress and aid in the achievement of a restful night’s sleep. While it may not always be simple to alleviate financial stress, you may be experiencing difficulty sleeping because you have been ignoring your financial difficulties, and because they do not simply “vanish,” they will continue to plague you at night.
By taking an honest look at your money, consolidating debt, and developing an effective strategy, you may begin to make good changes in your financial situation and lower your financial stress over time. The following are five ways for dealing with financial stress:
Look to supplements
Before resorting to sleeping drugs, you should try taking vitamins and using natural therapies to aid with sleep. While all supplements should be used under the supervision of a physician, melatonin, tryptophan, B12, and magnesium are some of the beneficial supplements that may be of assistance to you, as can herbal teas including valerian, passionflower, and camomile, among other ingredients.
Adjust your diet
A healthy, well-balanced diet, in addition to getting adequate exercise, is a crucial aspect of the stress/sleep equation to consider and maintain. Reduce your caffeine intake during the afternoon to ensure that you aren’t keeping yourself up all night. If you’re going to bed early, avoid eating too close to bedtime, and watch out for sugar and carbs, which may wreck havoc on your blood sugar and energy levels. In the evening, give your body the opportunity to fast and refrain from eating late at night.
Seek professional help
We’ve all been there: laying in bed after a long day, exhausted yet still alert and aware of our surroundings. Our thoughts are flying through our heads. Perhaps we’re stressed out about money, employment, or have been watching too much television news lately. No matter what the situation is, attempting to fall asleep when your mind refuses to cooperate is nothing short of frustrating. What causes worrisome thoughts to arise at night, and how can we deal with them effectively?
At the end of the day, the brain has nothing to keep it busy
Throughout the day, we have hundreds of tasks competing for our attention. Because bedtime comes a pause to activity, it can be a challenging transition for our brains to make the change to sleep. The author, Dr. Kate Cummins, a certified clinical psychologist, explains that “anxiety mounts up at night since worried preoccupation is preventable while a person is actively using their brain and body to take them through the day.” In business meetings, when you have a list of to-dosor business meetings to attend, your mental process is focused toward frontal cortex functioning, which is the section of your brain that is responsible for judgment, planning, and reasoning.
After a long day at work, your frontal cortex has the potential to switch gears and focus on activities you love doing or parts of yourself that are not related to higher level functioning, mostly in your emotions and limbic system, to help you wind down.
To help you sleep better at night, we’ve developed a list of useful ideas divided into two sections: things you can do while experiencing anxious thoughts and things you can do to avoid them before you fall asleep.
What you can do when already in bed:
Once you’ve fallen victim to anxious thinking, you’ll have to work hard to get your ideas out of your head by releasing the negative ones and replacing them with good ones. “First and foremost, determine what it is particularly with which you are preoccupied that is giving you worry,” advises Dr. Cummins. “Did you have any influence over the situation?” Is it something that you expect to happen in the future but has not yet happened for you? To do so, say your negative or worried worries out, and then follow them up with alternate and optimistic thoughts or answers to your difficulties.” According to Cummins, “you must be able to calm yourself out of the uncontrolled and unreasonable black or white thinking by challenging it with alternate thinking – or it will be hard to escape.”
Visualize the good things in your life
You must work hard to cleanse your mind once you’ve become engulfed by worried ideas, allowing them to go and being replaced with more optimistic thoughts. The first step, according to Dr. Cummins, is to figure out what it is particularly about which you are anxious. Do you have any influence over the situation? ” Is it something that you expect to happen in the future but has not yet happened? Then declare your negative ideas or nervous concerns out, and immediately follow them up with alternative and optimistic thoughts or solutions to your difficulties.” In addition, Cummins explains that “you must be able to calm yourself out of the uncontrolled and unreasonable black or white thinking by challenging it with alternate thinking – or else it will be hard to escape.”
Relax your whole body — including your face
The ability to quiet your body is essential for soothing your thoughts. Joy Rains, a licensed life coach and the author of “Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind,” advises a gradual relaxation technique that you may do in bed to help you rest more effectively. “Lie down on your back and direct your entire focus on your body,” Rains advises. ” As you begin, slowly contract and release each muscle group, working your way up to the top of your head, starting with your feet and working your way down to the bottom of your feet.
See if you can distinguish any differences between the muscles that were clenched and the muscles that were relaxed.
You should gradually bring your focus back to the tightening and relaxing of each muscle group whenever your mind begins to stray.” I’ve discovered that this workout is beneficial, but I’ve been neglecting about one important aspect of my body: my face.
“Consider a simple, calm scenario in which to lose yourself.
Make a pledge to accept uncertainty
Your anxiousness may be linked to a situation that is keeping you up at night, which is understandable. For the time being, though, you must let go of it completely. “Repeat the sentence ‘For the time being, I accept uncertainty.’ Coleman states that “I shall take action wherever action is feasible.” It is critical to accept uncertainty because otherwise one is opposing uncertainty at a time when resistance simply serves to increase stress.
What you can do before you go to bed:
It might be difficult to relax an already agitated mind, so try to incorporate some soothing techniques into your evening routine before you go to bed. If you suffer from night-time anxiety, Dr. Whitney Roban, a clinical psychologist and family sleep expert, recommends that you keep a notebook in which you may write down all of your thoughts and feelings about it. In Dr. Roban’s opinion, “if you get these ideas out of your head and onto paper, there is a strong possibility that they will not invade your mind when it is truly time to sleep.” In addition, “many individuals prefer to create lists in their journals of the things they need to accomplish the next day,” she says.
Read, but not on your phone
It might be difficult to relax an already agitated mind, so try to incorporate some soothing activities into your evening routine before you go to sleep as well. Dr. Whitney Roban, a clinical psychologist and family sleep expert, says that the most important piece of advise for persons suffering from night-time anxiety is to keep a notebook where they can jot down all of their nagging worries. In Dr. Roban’s opinion, “when you get these ideas out of your head and onto paper, there is a strong possibility that they will not invade your mind when it is truly time to sleep.” In addition, “many people like making lists in their journals of the things they need to complete the next day.”
Keep the bedroom chilled and completely dark
Keeping our bedroom a touch colder than we want, as well as turning off any bedside lights, may be something we want to try. (This implies you should perform your reading in a different room.) Psychologist and psychotherapeutic counselor Elaine Slater advises that you make sure your bedroom is quiet, pleasant, ventilated, dark, and cold before going to bed. A modest quantity of light in your bedroom can have an impact on the generation of melatonin and your overall sleep, according to research.
Take a tip from your kids with a strict bedtime routine (and a bath)
As a psychologist and spiritual coach, Bianca L. Rodriguez explains that having a bedtime routine is essential for children because it provides a feeling of order and security. “The same is true for adults, especially if you suffer from anxiety,” she adds. “Creating a nightly ritual can help you self calm while also acting as a container for your anxiousness. Taking a warm bath or shower before bed can help to relax your muscles, which is important since the state of your body affects the activity in your mind.
Proactively reduce stress during the day
It is possible that our worried thoughts are merely the leftovers of a difficult day. By adopting a good attitude toward your day and doing all in your power to reduce stress, you can ensure a restful night’s sleep. As Benjamin Ritter, a coach and consultant who specializes in personal and professional leadership development, explains, “Some of the most effective strategies to cope with anxious thoughts at night are to lessen the stress you have to deal with during the day.” It is possible to stay away from stressful individuals, be more open and honest about your emotions, and most importantly, plan and strategize many aspects of your life.
Taking steps to reduce the amount of decisions you have to make throughout the day will leave you with more resources in your brain bank to deal with stress and anxiety at night.”
MORE WAYS TO REST BETTER
- There are 7 effective strategies for getting to bed an hour earlier tonight. 8 Sleep Mistakes You Can Avoid Starting Right Now
- There are 16 natural ways to get a better night’s sleep that do not involve popping a pill.
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How To Relieve Stress for Bedtime
While stress is the body’s natural response to defending itself, persistent stress or worry may have a variety of long-term repercussions, including poor sleep or even sleepless nights. Chronic stress or anxiety can also cause a variety of other health problems. Stress causes the body to go into “fight or flight” mode. This causes an increase in heart rate and breathing rate, as well as an increase in stress chemicals in the body. Anxiety is a form of stress that persists after the stressor has passed, and it has physiological effects that are comparable to stress.
Relaxation techniques can be used to induce the body’s natural relaxation reaction when it is experiencing undesired stress and worry. An example of this might be a slower pulse and breathing rhythm, lower blood pressure, and an overall sense of calm.
Best Tips for Relieving Nighttime Stress
There are a variety of ways for reducing nocturnal tension and anxiety before going to bed, including: If you’re having trouble sleeping because you’re stressed out, these methods can help you relax. Some sleepers employ simply one or two of these relaxation techniques, while others employ a combination of these techniques to fall asleep. If stress and sleep are a persistent source of worry for you, your doctor can assist you in determining the most effective treatment option for you.
Meditation is a mind-body activity that involves a specific focus of attention and attitude that allows ideas to come and go without judging their validity. When it comes to treating insomnia, meditation is a well-known method. There are many different kinds of meditation. Looking for a better night’s rest? Looking for a better night’s rest? Subscribing to the Sleep Foundation’s email newsletter will provide you with the greatest sleep ideas and offers, as well as professional product recommendations.
- Mindfulness meditation is the practice of paying attention to one’s experiences, thoughts, and emotions as they arise and pass without judging them. A large part of this is being able to remain entirely focused on the present moment and not allowing your mind to go to other topics. If you are just starting off with meditation, this may seem tough at first, but with time and practice, it will become second nature. The use of this supplement has been found to minimize sleep disruptions in adults. In body scan meditation, you gently concentrate on different regions of your body, noting any sensations or aches that you may be experiencing. Focusing on one specific portion of your body at a time is the best way to learn how to use this method effectively. This can either be a systematic scanning of the entire body from head to toe, or a more random scanning of the body parts that have a link with the ground surface. Permit your whole attention to be directed solely onto your body. During guided meditation, the participant is vocally directed through a contemplative experience and urged to picture a relaxing environment. Music and nature sounds can be used in these guided meditations to aid in the relaxation process. Many popular applications, such as Headspace and Calm, provide guided meditations
- You may discover them here.
Meditation may be done at any time before bed, and it can even be done in the middle of the night if you find yourself unable to relax during the day.
Deep breathing may be used as a component of meditation as well as a relaxing method that can be used at any time of the day or evening. The idea is to take long, calm breaths that are evenly spaced. Even though there are numerous planned techniques for deep breathing, such as the 4-7-8 method and lion’s breath, you may start with something as simple as a deep breath. Begin by laying your palm on your tummy and taking calm, deep breaths. When you see your stomach rising, take a deep breath in and exhale gently to calm it down.
Incorporating the concentration of meditation with moderate physical movement and concentrated breathing, meditative movement is a form of mindful movement. Yoga, tai chi, and qigong are all examples of contemplative movement practices that are popular today. They do not necessitate the use of specific equipment and may thus be carried out anywhere, making them accessible to the general public. Yoga has been shown to have several physical and mental health advantages, according to research. Yoga, in addition to fostering good exercise habits, can be effective in the management of sleep issues, according to research.
The other types of movement have received less attention in terms of study.
It is likely that practitioners of these forms will have greater sleep in addition to an increase in their ability to deal with worry.
It is possible that the movements themselves will not be suitable for usage at night, but the mindfulness and breathing methods that are incorporated into these practices may be beneficial during moments of nocturnal tension or worry.
Progressional relaxation is similar to body scan meditation in that it requires the practitioner to concentrate on certain areas of the body. In a sequential motion, you contract and release your muscles up and down your body, starting with your toes and moving up to your feet, calves, and so on. This enables you to alleviate any physical strains and anxieties that you may be feeling at the time.
It is the use of an electrical device to assist patients in learning to manage the functions of their bodies that is referred to as biofeedback. These gadgets give information on several physiological processes such as blood pressure, heart rate, and muscular activity, among others. In order to learn how to interpret the readings, users need seek the advice of a therapist or undergo biofeedback training. They will also get an understanding of the factors that influence changes in the body’s functioning.
It is vital to note that relaxation methods should not be used as a substitute for medical attention if there is a medical problem.
Stress Relief During Your Nighttime Routine
While the relaxation techniques listed above can be included into your bedtime routine, you should also consider including some additional activities.
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment. Consider examining your sleeping surroundings for potential stresses before falling asleep. A healthy sleep environment is one that is dark and quiet, with little or no alcohol or caffeine. Both of these factors might interfere with one’s capacity to sleep soundly. Excessive alcohol use can also have a negative impact on the body’s ability to cope with stress. Take a hot shower or bath to relax. Not only will this assist you in relaxing and de-stressing, but it will also reduce your body temperature, which will aid you in falling asleep more quickly. Before going to bed, limit your exposure to blue light. The light emitted by electronic devices such as phones, laptops, and televisions might interfere with your natural sleep and wake cycle. These should be set aside in the hours before you wish to go to sleep, according to the experts. Additionally, this can assist to minimize doomscrolling behaviors, which have been shown to relate to anxiety in some people. Good sleep hygiene should be followed. Journal. Writing down your thoughts and concerns can assist you in getting them out into the open so that you can deal with them when they arise. Keep a diary near your bed so that you may jot down any concern that may arise in the hours before you go to sleep. You can also benefit by making a to-do list for the next day in order to get to bed earlier. Make a schedule for your concern time. A approach employed in cognitive-behavioral therapy is to set aside a specific amount of time each day to focus on worrying (CBT). To do this, set out a certain period of day to be concerned about all that is going on in your life. With this approach, the objective is to identify and address the underlying reasons of anxiety before it spirals out of control.
Good Daytime Habits for Relieving Nighttime Stress
Aside from practicing relaxation techniques, there are actions you may do throughout the day to alleviate tension at nighttime. Physical activity during the day is a frequent remedy. Exercise throughout the day has been related to improved sleep in persons with generalized anxiety disorders, in addition to its many other health advantages. Exercise can also be beneficial for people who suffer from disorders such as sleeplessness. Another technique for improving general sleep hygiene is to wake up at a consistent time.
You should keep in mind that there is no set timetable for when you will be able to feel less tense and apprehensive before going to sleep.
Consult your physician if you have any questions or concerns regarding which method or tactics are best for you.
- Aside from practicing relaxation techniques, there are actions you may do throughout the day to alleviate tension during night time. Exercising during the day is a frequent remedy. Exercising throughout the day has been shown to improve sleep in persons with generalized anxiety disorders, in addition to its other health advantages. Sleep disorders such as insomnia can be alleviated by exercise. Another technique for improving general sleep hygiene is to get up at a consistent time. Studies demonstrate that maintaining consistent waking hours is vital for good sleep hygiene, even on the weekends. You should keep in mind that there is no set timeline for how fast you will be able to feel less tense and nervous before going to bed. Long-term benefit, however, can be obtained by regular use of relaxation methods. Contact your physician if you have any questions or concerns regarding which technique or strategies are best for you.