Sleep and Stress Relief
Are Essential for Health
Deep rest, sleep and stress relief go hand in hand.
Ever notice how the day seems to go better when you’ve gotten enough sleep the night before?
When we get enough sleep, even if things don’t happen exactly as planned, we take it in stride more easily.
Getting enough sleep is such a blessing.
Research shows sleep is essential
for stress reduction and well:
- Sleep deprivation impairs the functioning of human cognitive and motor abilities.
- It also has a powerful influence on mood.
- Problems with sleeping are often associated with symptoms of depression and a feeling of diminished health.
- Insomnia can mean increased emotional distress, daytime fatigue and diminished productivity.
also suggest a sleep deficit may put the body into a state of high
alert, increasing the production of stress hormones and driving up blood
Tips to enhance sleep and stress relief:
- Go to bed at the same time every night. Your body will then get into the habit of winding down in the evening.
to be in bed and asleep before 10pm. Some experts say the sleep you
get before midnight is especially valuable for rejuvenation. That way
you are likely to be in deep sleep between midnight and 3 am when your
body can optimally take advantage of human growth hormone.
- Let yourself relax in the evening. It’s a great time to share with family members.
to avoid computer work or TV past 8pm. The bright light from computer
screens and TVs will send a message to your body’s time clock which says
- Get a comfortable mattress made of natural materials which will not outgas.
- Keep your bedroom a comfortable temperature. Get a little space heater for the winter if necessary.
Use clutter control.
Eliminate clutter and distractions from your bedroom so that it feels more peaceful.
the bedroom very dark at night. This may mean getting lined curtains,
or eliminating extraneous equipment with additional little lights, or
getting a clock without a luminous display.
aromatherapy stress relief.
A few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow case before bed may
help relaxation. I sometimes put a few drops of lavender on my head and
forehead. It seems to calm my mind. (Make sure your skin isn't
sensitive to lavender before you try this.)
- A cup of warm
or passion flower tea can also help bring on sleep.
- Some people find a cup on warm milk and honey before bed is helpful.
- Many people find avoiding caffeine in the late afternoon and evening helps to insure a good night’s sleep.
Daily stress relief exercises
help insure good sleep. Even a 30 minute walk may be all you require.
breathing for stress relief.
My favorite naturopath recommends 20 minutes of slow deep breathing
before bed to boost melatonin levels and improve sleep and stress
relief. Deep breathing can also help soothe my minor aches and pains which might keep me awake.One
of my friends suggests "count 100 slow deep breaths, emphasizing the
exhale, and you will probably be asleep long before you reach 100."
Boring.... but it works. (Sometimes I find it hard to concentrate
on my breath that long so I combine 20 to 30 minutes of gentle walking
with deep breathing to relax me before bed.)
- Doing a 5 minute foot massage before bed can often help me unwind and get ready for sleep.
people like to write in their journal before bed. It helps them to get
things off their mind and feel more peaceful with the day’s events.
husband likes to spend a few minuets in the evening to write his plans
for the next day. It helps him get it off his mind so he can sleep more
- Spending some quiet time in prayer or
meditation or reflection before bed can also be a calming influence.
is when our bodies have a chance to recharge repair and rejuvenate. So
it makes sense that sleep and stress relief is essential for our
optimum health and well being.
Getting sufficient sleep and
stress relief is an invaluable investment in the next day’s productivity
and in our health in general.
Overwork and fatigue are some of the main causes of stress.
So resist the temptation to overwork and be willing to allow your body the time for rest and recharge.
Explore more healthy lifestyle choices to minimize stress or,
discover a whole range of techniques and approaches on
Gentle Stress Relief home page.
JJ, Huffcutt AI. 1996. “Effects of sleep deprivation on performance: a
DJ, Monjan AA, Brown SL, Simonsick EM, Wallace RB, Blazer DG. 1995.
“Sleep complaints among elderly persons: an epidemiologic study of three
MJ, Doghramji K, Hauri PJ, Morin CM. 2000. “Evaluation of chronic
insomnia. An American Academy of Sleep Medicine review.”
Stein, Rob. October
9, 2005. “Scientists Finding Out What Losing Sleep Does to a Body”.