How do I fall asleep when I am feeling really stressed? It can be really difficult to get to sleep – and stay asleep when you are anxious. So many people are reporting that they feel overwhelmed and stressed which is understandable given the uncertain times we live in, but it’s important to find ways to calm yourself, naturally.
A 2017 study published in Computers in Human Behavior found that, “Exposure to chronic stress can suppress immune function and increase susceptibility to infection.”
That’s not a good combination.
It’s important we each support our mental wellbeing, especially if we are sensitive to feeling overwhelmed or already experience mental illness.
These four simple steps will help you to calm your stress, and sleep better.
Sensible engagement in news and social media
If you’re feeling stressed, it is not helpful to be constantly immersed in news or social media, now is a good time to cut back.
A study published in the British Journal of Psychology looked at what factors, if any, influenced whether someone’s mood was affected by the news. The authors found that when daily news was perceived as more negative the viewers felt, well, more negative. The authors also observed that when negative news is personally relevant, the negative affect was stronger.
How do I sleep better?
Getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge at the best of times, let alone with the added pressures and anxiety many people are experiencing at the moment. How are you coping? Do you sleep well or do you toss and turn, fitful or worried?
Sleep and the circadian system, our 24-hour body clock, are strong regulators of immune function. When you sleep poorly, your ability to fight foreign invaders is decreased. Poor sleep also elevates stress, which lowers immune function, too. Sufficient sleep is a simple way to calm stress and enhance immune function.
How do I sleep better?
- To improve sleep ensure your bedroom is dark and slightly cool, quiet and safe.
- Avoid blue light from TV, laptop and smartphone screens for 90 minutes prior to retiring for the night.
- Establish a routine; go to be and rise at the same times each day.
- Choose a comfortable and supportive pillow and mattress.
Meditation can improve both anxiety and sleep
Many people misunderstand meditation. It is not about emptying your mind. The aim is simply to become aware and accepting of your thoughts, without judgement. Then gently let them go. When practiced daily, our mind calms down and we slowly learn to exist in the present. A focus helps, such as the rhythm of your breath or the flicker of a candle. If you’re new to this practice, find and follow a guided meditation. YouTube.com is a wonderful resource.
Be physically active
Exercise is fantastic for elevating mood and, as an added plus, boosting immune function. One study found that those who engaged in Hatha Yoga were “significantly less anxious, tense, depressed, angry, fatigued, and confused.” This is great news! Walking 45 minutes, five days per week is also ideal
If you are feeling stressed, be gentle with yourself. There have been so many major changes in the past few years. These four steps will help you to establish some calm and improve your sleep, which is crucial to your physical and psychological wellbeing.
Please, take care of your health. You matter.