For some 70 million Americans, a good night’s sleep is as mythical as the tooth fairy and big foot.1 For them, it just doesn’t exist.
At any given time, between 10 and 30 percent of the population suffers from insomnia – an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, or poor quality of sleep when they finally doze off. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a good night’s sleep is defined as seven or more hours a night
Stress leads to poor sleep
There are many causes of poor sleep, but stress tops the list. It should come as no surprise, then, that the coronavirus pandemic – with its combination of health concerns, economic fears, disruption to normal routines, and isolation – according to a study by. caused a 37 percent increase in insomnia, stress, anxiety, and depression. Nearly 6,000 people recently published in the journal Sleep Medicine. 3
The American Psychological Association found in its annual Stress in America survey for 2020 that stress levels among Americans are not only higher than in previous years, but also the highest since the survey began in 2007.4
The current wave of stress-related sleep problems has even earned its own name: “Coronoasomy” .5
The vicious cycle of stress and lack of sleep
Stress is not only the cause of sleep problems, but also the result of lack of sleep. If you don’t close enough eyes at night juggling your worries, they seem to have multiplied overnight. And to add to those worries that keep you up at night, lack of sleep can lead to a weakened immune system, an increased risk of health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure, and weight gain
In fact, when trying to lose weight, too little sleep is a major obstacle: Lack of sleep can reduce weight loss and trigger overeating, in part by changing your body’s appetite chemicals
Napping and a glass of red wine late at night can be your fallback plan to relieve stress and sleep better, but they’re not the best solution to avoiding yawning all day. And they are not going to give you the skills you need to deal with everyday or extraordinary stress.
How to Relieve Stress and Sleep Well Tonight
Instead, follow these smart lifestyle tips from the best sleep and stress experts in the country to calm yourself down and get all 40 of those winkles.
1. Schedule regular daily exercise.
Exercise can help improve your mood and make anything that bothers you seem more manageable. Studies have found that 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise – like a brisk walk or bike ride – can make you feel calmer for up to several hours.8 Exercise can also help you sleep better, according to research. Just don’t exercise too soon before bed. Those feel-good endorphins obtained from aerobic exercise can actually keep you awake – and your core body temperature can rise, which, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, sends the wrong message to your body clock that it is time to be awake .9
on Food system, we recommend 30 minutes of daily activity per day for weight loss and better health. This 10 minute workouts Make it easy for yourself to integrate some exercise into your everyday life.
Meditation has been shown to calm you down and make you feel at peace. It can also help you fall asleep.10 You also don’t have to sit cross-legged and sing “Om”. Simply finding a quiet place and focusing on your breathing instead of the vortex of thoughts in your head can help anchor yourself in the present moment and help drive those thoughts away.
You can take meditation classes or use a guided meditation that you can find on the internet, where you are “led” by another person to a place of calm and relaxation in your mind. Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong are forms of “moving meditation” that can help you relieve stress and learn to relax enough to fall asleep and stay asleep. Or you can just take a deep breath and count to four and exhale to four if you feel overwhelmed
Bonus: Studies have shown that deep breathing can help you fall asleep and fall back to sleep when you wake up. Not only by relaxing, but also by starting melatonin production. 12
3. Reduce caffeine.
Caffeine that is consumed at any time can make you nervous. If you are already stressed out, you need to switch drinks. A little over 400 milligrams a day – about four or five regular cups of coffee – can make you feel like you are being scratched off the ceiling (your results may vary)
And that cup of joe is a real killer at night. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that a caffeinated drink can disrupt sleep as early as six hours before bedtime, reducing the time you close your eyes by about an hour.14,15
4. Avoid excessive screen time.
Television, computer games, and even e-books can actually make it difficult to fall asleep. Not only are they stimulating, but the blue light emitted by the screen can suppress the production of the sleep-inducing chemical melatonin in your body on the blue light filter of your e-book reader. Some small studies have shown that blocking blue light can help you sleep.17,18
5. Find some green.
Visiting “green spaces” – a garden, a forest park, a wilderness – during the day can relieve your stress. Not only do they provide a way to move around, be in nature, remove the distraction from daily life and help you relax by making you feel “absent,” according to a 2018 study in the journal Behavioral Science. 19
You also don’t have to live on the edge of a national park to enjoy the stress-relieving benefits. Even spending a bit of time in the countryside – just 10 minutes doing research at Cornell University – can have lasting results
6. When your worries wake you up, stand up.
If worry instead of sheep counts, get out of bed, says the Sleep Foundation. It is counterproductive to toss and turn and grapple with your thoughts. If you haven’t fallen asleep within 15 minutes of the popping, get out of bed and move to a different part of the house and do something that helps you relax, like meditate, read, or listen to music. If your worries wake you up in the middle of the night, don’t look at the clock. It will only make you more anxious. If you have to, drape a cloth over the dial so you don’t see it. 21