It’s been a long year like no other. It’s no wonder we’re all feeling more stressed. In fact, the American Psychological Association discovered many adults have experienced negative changes in their sleep and overall health related to the prolonged stress of this past year.
If you're one of those people who has had their sleep health affected, you're not alone. According to a new global sleep study, 70% of adults experienced unwanted changes in their sleep since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sleep is one of the greatest stress relievers and yet, in normal times, it's not much better. With 30-35% of people reporting short-term insomnia, healthy sleep has long plagued many of us.
How does sleep lead to stress relief?
Sleep restores your body and its functions and regulates your mood. Getting an adequate amount of uninterrupted rest each night is essential to your overall health and wellness. If you’re never able to get high-quality, deep sleep, the negative effects of stress eventually take a toll.
While a lack of sleep will reduce your energy and diminish your mental clarity, a regular sleep routine will calm the body and mind, improving your concentration and sharpening your judgement. Generally, people are better at problem-solving and dealing with stress when well-rested.
So, how can you get the shut-eye you need to help reduce your stress?
Set a bedtime routine.
It's important that you keep a consistent schedule so your body gets used to winding down around the same time every night. People who go to sleep and start their mornings with a dependable routine experience healthier sleep. To help develop your circadian rhythm, allow yourself time during the day to enjoy the natural light. Enjoy your morning coffee outside, go on a walk at lunchtime, or simply stand at a window sometime during the day. Come nighttime, begin winding down at least 30 minutes before your bedtime in a cool, dark room.
Work hard to turn off your mind.
When tomorrow’s to-do list is a mile long, your mind will probably start racing the moment your head hits the pillow. Instead of allowing your racing thoughts to get to you as you try to sleep, find a way to shut off your mind. It’s easy to reach for your phone and mindlessly scroll. Next time you have that urge, try listening to a soothing audiobook or instead, downloading the Calm app. Focus the mind on a distraction or a nightly ritual that helps you fall asleep.
Try progressive muscle relaxation.
While laying in bed, get in touch with your physical body. Position yourself comfortably and turn your attention to relaxing your body. Take a few deep breaths. Begin tensing one group of muscles as you keep breathing gently. Hold the tension of the muscles as you inhale, then release it as you exhale. You should notice each muscle group slowly relax with this meditative work, which will lead to an overall absence of tension. As your muscles relax, you will feel the stress leave your body. Or, you might not notice because you're already asleep.
Make your bedroom an oasis of comfort.
There’s nothing more inviting than fresh organic sheets and a just-made bed. Add a bedside lamp that emits a soft, warming glow and use a diffuser to create a relaxing atmosphere that will have you excited to sink into your bed night after night. Making sure your sleep environment is as comfortable and calming as possible is not only a treat to yourself, but one step closer to improving your mood and overall health.
At Happsy, we want you to sleep better than ever before. Our organic mattress is made without glues, adhesives, or flame retardants for the safest, most restorative sleep. Combine that with our healthy sleep tips and you’ll be counting sheep in no time.