Even though sleep should come naturally to us, it often doesn’t. It’s a biological necessity, but it can feel like your mind is turning on you, not letting you sleep when you most need it. Stress is a big culprit for keeping us up at night. It can affect your sleep on many different levels.
Even if you do manage to fall asleep, stressed sleep still messes with you. It can have you tossing and turning all night in a weird state of sleep and wakefulness that leaves you feeling exhausted the next morning. How can we figure out how to relax in bed when sleep won’t seem to find us?
How to Relax and Sleep Better
Although it can feel impossible at times, figuring out how to sleep when stressed really isn’t rocket science. It just comes down to practicing a few key steps on a regular basis. If you implement all the following tips, you should soon be blissfully sleeping better each night.
1. Turn Off Devices
Part of your sleep problems may be stemming from your use of electronics. The blue lights produced by electronics can slow or decrease the melatonin your body naturally produces. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for making you feel sleepy. Lowered levels of melatonin can lead to less sleep overall and less deep sleep, which is the kind that leaves you feeling refreshed the next morning.
To see if devices are interfering with your sleep, set aside your cell phone as much as you can in the evening. If you typically use an electronic reading device like Kindle, opt for an old-fashioned book instead. Stay away from the computer as well, and see if all these changes help you sleep any better at night.Relax or Meditate
2. Relax or Meditate
Are you looking for ways to relax before bed? Meditation is a great way to do that. It’s a proven stress buster, can help with memory, can lower your blood pressure, and can help you sleep better.
It doesn’t have to be a long meditation session. Even five or ten minutes of deep breathing can be beneficial.
3. Use a Weighted Blanket
An external sleep aid like a weighted blanket can help you feel sleepy when you’re trying to figure out how to fall asleep when stressed. A weighted blanket is marvelous for those suffering from anxiety -- it can feel like your blanket is giving you a warm, reassuring hug each night.
If you’ve never bought one before and don’t know what to look for, opt for a blanket that weighs around 10 percent of your body weight. If it’s heavier than that, you may be uncomfortable. Anything lighter and you may not get the full benefit.
4. Turn Off Your Busy Mind
At the end of the day, when things are quiet and we’re crawling into bed, that’s when our minds really seem to go into overtime. We start to think about the day we just had, our workload for the next day, and begin to worry about any little thing that has gone wrong or might at some point. In other words, we psych ourselves out.
If this sounds like you, give yourself permission to think and worry for five minutes. After that, tell yourself you’ll worry about it tomorrow, or that you’ve done all you can about it for now.
It’s not easy quieting your mind. But with practice, it can be done. Every time you start worrying, envision a deserted beach and think about the warm rays of the sun on your skin.
5. Cool Down
Sometimes we can’t fall asleep or stay asleep because we feel too hot. It’s hard to sleep while you’re uncomfortable. If you’re a sweaty sleeper or you don’t have any air conditioning to run in the summer, try using cool pillow cases.
Keep At It
Getting better sleep isn’t about successfully nodding off for one amazing night of rest. It’s about establishing consistent habits that yield results for you night after night, leading to improved health, mood, and attitude.