Here's a common vicious cycle in today's society:
➤ High-stress levels result in low sleep quality.
➤ Low sleep quality results in even higher stress levels.
It’s a never-ending loop. And something has to be done about it.
In order to manage stress successfully, you just need to learn how to take control of the situation. Stress will always be in our lives, the difference is how we respond to stress and frustration, and avoiding letting stress flood our lives and disrupt all-important hours of sleep.
Here are some actionable steps to lowering stress and improving your sleep, right away:
A better bedtime routine
Decrease brain activity and quiet your thoughts before bedtime by putting away your phone and other devices, and choosing to read or journal instead. In addition, you can schedule some time each day for a 5- or 10-minute meditation.
Relaxation exercises counter the stress response. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system, relaxation exercises, such as various breathing exercises, autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation, can clear the mind and relax the body.
Guided imagery involves recreating a relaxing scene with everything you have: all your senses and your mind.
Your relaxing scene may involve a beach, where you can smell the salt air, feel the sand between your toes, the sun on your face, and can hear the waves lapping the shore.
Having a scene that you can go to, that is familiar and serene, can be a very useful tool to manage stress and therefore improve sleep quality.
Time management skills
Prioritize. Don’t let your to-do list get as long as your arm because you’ll feel pressured by a lack of time.
It doesn’t matter how “busy” you are, most of the things on your to-do can either wait for a later time, don’t need to be done at all, or can be delegated to someone else.
One of the simplest and most effective strategies is to draw up a to-do list the night before for the next day's activities and start with your most time-sensitive activity first.
Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
And exercise also promotes good health and well being.
In terms of stress, one of the benefits of exercise is that it relaxes the muscles and rids your body of the excess accumulated stress.
Make a realistic promise in which you prioritize sleep and relaxation.