Do you frequently struggle trying to fall asleep at night?
Do you feel sleepy during the day due inadequate sleep at night?
Your home is the resting ground and your bedroom is the relaxing and rejuvenating space. So it would help if you did as much as you can to get a good night’s sleep.
What if you’re stressed? How do you get a good night sleep then?
In reality, stress is inevitable. Extreme stress can affect the quality and length of sleep. A night of poor sleep can make you wake up restless in the morning and can reduce your productivity during the whole day.
We’ve all been there once or twice in our life. But what if this becomes a regular affair in your daily life?
In this article, we will share ten practical tips on how to sleep like a baby even when you’re stressed as hell.
Here’s the quick list –
- Figure out your stress triggers
- A healthy dinner is the key
- Avoid taking caffeine after 4 pm
- A warm, soothing bath usually helps
- Say NO to working on bed
- Relax before you hit the bed
- Experiment with your bedroom lights
- Keep those fearful thoughts away
- Try meditation, it helps
- Maintain good sleep hygiene
Before diving deeper, here’s a quick thought.
Getting quality sleep on a regular basis is essential to maintain good health.
It’s super important for our brain functions and significantly boosts the immune system. Sleep helps our body to rest. According to a National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) report, long-term lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems like heart attack, depression, stroke, diabetes, and many others. That’s why sleep experts recommend between 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
Studies suggest that 35.2% of adults in the US are getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night. Many people even try over-the-counter sleep aids. That can sometimes lead to other serious health problems.
In this article, we’re going to share some proven methods backed by peer-reviewed research to help you get much better sleep.
Alright, let’s dive in.
The first piece of advice on how to sleep well while stressed out is identifying the source of stress.
Stress can come in many ways and can be caused by various things. Once you know what makes you stressed, it would be easier to handle it productively before bedtime.
So start by identifying your stressors, then work on them early before you go to bed. How to identify your sources of stress is not a big deal. First, make a list of the situations, challenges, or concerns that elevate your stress levels. This could involve listing some disturbing issues you’re encountering at that moment. When determining the underlying stress triggers, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you started a demanding project?
- Are you struggling to balance between job and family life?
- Are you taking too much stimulants before bed?
- Does the environment make you stressed?
- Do you have a challenging boss?
These are just a few of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself to identify your source of stress. Once you know what’s keeping you stressed, you can work out strategies to deal with the situation. This could involve asking for help in case you have picked up a demanding project, focusing on positives, etc. Sometimes your sources of stress could be personal beliefs, relationships, emotional problems, or your health.
Either way, if you can identify those, it will help you sleep better in time.
What you eat before going to bed can either help you get better sleep or keep you tossing and turning the whole night. So make sure your dinner contains snooze-supporting meals.
While there is no conclusive research that supports the relationship between sleep and nutrients, people who are deficient in essential nutrients and minerals like zinc, vitamin C and D, thiamin, phosphorus, iron are said to either sleep too much or too little.
A healthy diet for sleep also needs to include a variety of foods like proteins, grains, etc.
Experts have also found foods with too much fat can lead to sleep deprivation. So you need to avoid fried foods and other high-fat meals that can lead to indigestion.
It’s also recommended to eat meals that are easy to digest. Foods like fibrous beans, peppers, dairy, and many others can cause bloating, making it hard to fall asleep.
Below are some of the recommended foods to have before bed to help you get better sleep.
Kiwi is a low-calorie and nutritious fruit. Kiwis contain a ton of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, including Vitamin C and E, potassium, folate, and more.
Eating kiwis may improve sleep, digestion, and reduce inflammation. This is due to the high amounts of fiber and anti-inflammatory antioxidant properties that kiwis provide.
Fatty fish is also said to be an excellent meal to take before bed to improve sleep quality. This includes mackerel, salmon, trout, etc.
Experts suggest that fatty fish may help sleep due to the healthy doses of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids that help the body control serotonin. These nutrients contain properties that help with better sleep.
Walnuts are also said to have high amounts of minerals such as manganese, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus.
Researchers have also found that walnuts provide healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid to promote better sleep.
White rice is also one of the best foods to help you sleep through the night. This is because it contains some healthy minerals such as folate, thiamine, and manganese, which help improve sleep quality.
Other foods that may help promote sleep include lettuce, bananas, beans, eggs, leafy greens, and more.
That’s a tough call, right?
The effects of caffeine on sleep quality can vary from one person to another. However, if you struggle to sleep during the night, the problem could be the cup of caffeine you’re taking before bed.
Caffeine can make it difficult for you to fall asleep fast. It can also impact your sleep time and quality. As you may know, once you take caffeine, it stimulates the central nervous system, making you alert and less tired. Once ingested, caffeine can stay in your body for up to six hours or more before it gets out of your body’s system. Experts argue that the average time caffeine takes before its effects diminish is around 5 hours. That means that if you take caffeine at around 5 pm, you may still struggle to sleep until around midnight.
So, how many hours before bedtime should you have caffeine?
To get better sleep, it’s recommended to cut off caffeine four to six hours before bedtime. This means that if your typical bedtime is 10 pm, you should avoid caffeine after 4 pm. Of course, the six-hour recommended cut-off time for caffeine may work or not work for everyone.
Experiment with the time you consume caffeine and how it affects your sleep quality the subsequent night until you find the best time to consume caffeine. You can even try avoiding caffeine for at least a month and see how it improves your sleep.
One last thing, you should avoid all sources of caffeine such as sodas, tea leaves, energy drinks, coffee, green tea, black tea, dark chocolate, and many others.
When it comes to falling asleep faster, there is nothing better than taking a warm, soothing bath – especially if you’re worked up.
Some studies suggest that taking regular baths could help lower stress and improve sleep.
When taking a bath, use essential oil that won’t cause crossness. Besides, the water should be warmer than your body temperature, and you should take a bath about 90 minutes before bed.
Taking a warm bath helps to give you a great night’s sleep because the water lowers your body’s core temperature. Low temperatures signal the body that it’s time to sleep.
It’s simple as that!
When you have a lot of work to do, it can be tempting to work from your bed. Don’t fall for these temptations.
Working from your bed creates a sense of wakefulness in your mind. This is especially true given that working from your bed could mean bringing your laptop or your smartphone with you. Staring at these bright screens could reduce the sleep-inducing hormone – melatonin which tells your body that it’s tired and time to sleep. This means you’ll struggle to get good quality sleep; thus, your productivity for the next day suffers.
Scientists recommend putting aside all electronic gadgets at least one to two hours before heading to bed. For these reasons and many others, treat your bed as a place for relaxing your body and mind, not a working pod.
Sleeplessness is becoming a more common experience for many people these days. This is evident in a study that suggests that a third of adults struggle with chronic insomnia. Nevertheless, if you don’t have insomnia, tossing and turning in bed due to stress can be a familiar experience.
As stated earlier, it’s not easy to fall asleep when the body is stimulated. So try these relaxation techniques before bedtime. This depends on what relaxes your body, though.
Some people find reading books more relaxing while others prefer to wear certain light-blocking glasses. Pick a relaxation method that works for you and practice it every time before bed.
These relation practices help to ease nausea, reduce chronic pain, improve cardiovascular function, and can help to treat and control symptoms of depression, anxiety, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Another culprit could be the light you’re using in the bedroom.
Some lights can affect your sleep more than others. Specific photoreceptors in the eyes transfer information to your brain that can trigger or prevent melatonin production. The specialized photoreceptors in the eye are sensitive to light.
While there’s no conclusive evidence, many relevant research indicates that warm colors can help calm you to sleep more quickly than cool colors. Some evidence also suggests that blue, silver, pink, green, yellow, orange, and red colors could help stimulate sleep. These colors are said to reduce stress and soothe the nervous system.
Individual color preferences may also play a role in determining colors that are soothing for sleep. Some worst colors to avoid using in your bedroom include purple, brown, and blue such as fluorescent lights, LED lights, etc. Some studies also suggest that green light may also affect melatonin levels.
In a nutshell, you need to experiment with a range of colors to get the best one for your bedroom. However, try to avoid bright lights before bed.
Going to bed with the thoughts that you aren’t going to get better sleep can impact the quality of sleep. It can make you toss and turn the whole night.
Just as you wouldn’t want to start the day with thoughts of defeat, fear, and impossibilities, you shouldn’t go to bed with fearful thoughts.
The last mistake you want to make is to go to bed with a tensed body. The fear of not being able to get a good night’s sleep can rob you of your sleep.
You can fight fearful thoughts using affirmations or any of the meditation techniques mentioned below.
Meditation is a process that involves the body and mind and focuses on attention and attitude. For many years, meditation has been used for fighting insomnia.
Some of the meditation practices that help with better sleep include:
Mindfulness meditation involves paying attention to your feelings, emotions, and thoughts without judging. This type of meditation allows you to be present at the moment while ignoring other thoughts. For instance, during bedtime, you can spend around 10 to 15 minutes performing mindfulness meditation.
It might not be easy in your first attempt, but as you continue practicing, you’ll become better at mindfulness meditation.
This type of meditation involves concentrating on specific body parts and noticing any pains or sensations. You could focus on a particular part of your body or scan the entire body from head to toe. With this type of meditation, you focus all your attention on your body.
Read more: How to do a body scan meditation
As the name suggests, guided meditation is when you’re guided through a meditative experience visualizing a calming feeling. This could involve listening to your favorite sleep-inducing music or nature sounds that assist with relaxing. The good news is that you can meditate any time before bed or during the night if you can’t sleep.
Other types of meditation include deep breathing, progressive relaxation, meditative movement, etc.
While this advice sounds like a no-brainer, many people still don’t practice good sleep hygiene.
You’ve already heard or read about it. Cut off caffeine after 4 pm, use the best bedroom lights for sleep, etc. You’ll be surprised how many people ignore these recommendations.
Let’s get in-depth with this advice so you can understand how it may help you get a good night’s sleep.
Practicing good sleep hygiene means observing healthy sleep habits. This includes having a bedroom environment and daily routine that promotes uninterrupted sleep.
Keep your bedroom as comfortable as possible and free from distractions.
As stated earlier, getting a sound night sleep is essential for physical and mental health, improving your productivity, and overall quality of life. This applies to both children and older adults.
Practicing good sleep hygiene ensures that you get a good and uninterrupted night’s sleep.
Practicing good sleep hygiene isn’t as complicated as people may think. Having a sleep schedule helps a lot. Also, it makes sleep an essential part of your health.
Here is how to set a sleep schedule:
Wake up at the same time: Decide what time you’ll be waking up and stick to it until you get into a rhythm of consistent sleep.
Make sleep a priority: In today’s busy world, it can be tempting to forego sleep to accomplish work but don’t fall for this trap. Prioritize sleep.
Undeniably, there are times when almost every adult struggles with sleepless nights. However, long-term lack of sleep can be detrimental to your overall health. Following these ten pieces of advice could help you sleep well while stressed out.
Did we miss any strategy you use to get a good night’s sleep when stressed out?
Please let us know that in the comment section below.
Arthur Evans is a sleep expert who also offers research paper writing services to students in the UK. Having been a medical professional for over ten years, Arthur has handled all cases related to sleep deprivation. He has been offering advice on how to get better sleep for many years through his blog. He also works at Assignment Masters.