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.
  • Studies 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 pressure.

Tips to enhance sleep and stress relief:

  1. Go to bed at the same time every night. Your body will then get into the habit of winding down in the evening.
  2. Try 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.
  3. Let yourself relax in the evening. It’s a great time to share with family members.
  4. Try 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 "stay awake".
  5. Get a comfortable mattress made of natural materials which will not outgas.
  6. Keep your bedroom a comfortable temperature. Get a little space heater for the winter if necessary.
  7. Use clutter control. Eliminate clutter and distractions from your bedroom so that it feels more peaceful.
  8. Keep 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.
  9. Try 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.)
  10. A cup of warm chamomile tea or passion flower tea can also help bring on sleep.
  11. Some people find a cup on warm milk and honey before bed is helpful.
  12. Many people find avoiding caffeine in the late afternoon and evening helps to insure a good night’s sleep.
  13. Daily stress relief exercises help insure good sleep. Even a 30 minute walk may be all you require.
  14. Try 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.)
  15. Doing a 5 minute foot massage before bed can often help me unwind and get ready for sleep.
  16. Some 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.
  17. My 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 peacefully.
  18. Spending some quiet time in prayer or
    meditation or reflection before bed can also be a calming influence.

Sleep 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.

Sources:

Pilcher JJ, Huffcutt AI. 1996. “Effects of sleep deprivation on performance: a meta-analysis.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8776790

Foley DJ, Monjan AA, Brown SL, Simonsick EM, Wallace RB, Blazer DG. 1995. “Sleep complaints among elderly persons: an epidemiologic study of three communities.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7481413

Sateia MJ, Doghramji K, Hauri PJ, Morin CM. 2000. “Evaluation of chronic insomnia. An American Academy of Sleep Medicine review.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10737342

Stein, Rob. October 9, 2005. “Scientists Finding Out What Losing Sleep Does to a Body”. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/08/AR2005100801405_pf.html