Are you back at work, with the children settling back into Term 1? Do you feel your heart rate rising during the day, multitasking the deadlines of work, the pressure of managing your children’s routines, thinking about what nourishing and healthy meal you are going to prepare?
What if I told you it was a simple as 1 key missing ingredient? A good night’s sleep.
With so many moving parts contributing to modern life, finding the right balance between managing everyday tasks and ensuring we get enough Zz's can sometimes feel like we're walking an extremely fine line! I'm talking about that line between choosing to stay up all night and get a job done but compromising on prime sleep time OR going to bed to try and sleep only to be kept up all night stressing about the things you need to do. A rather vicious little loop that affects up to 37% of adults. Sleep experts like to call this your sleep-stress cycle which can impact everything from our mood to physical stamina, productivity and mental wellbeing.
Is a good night’s sleep the answer for you?
If you’ve just woken up from a great night's sleep, you’ll be able to vouch for when we simply say that, sleep benefits mental health. In fact, sleep itself can be our most powerful tool to combating stress. Healthy levels of sleep promote all over restoration that can improve cognitive function, mood and judgment /decision-making. When our cognitive levels operate at their best, we're also much more likely to make smarter, more calculated decisions that help us avoid stressful situations in the first place. If we do find ourselves facing inevitable situations that cause stress, this same cognitive restoration helps regulate our emotions, reduce our impulsiveness and position us in the best shape to manage our feelings.
What if lack of sleep is causing stress?
I hear you! Sometimes sleep (or lack thereof) can be the root cause of our stress. Along with physical fatigue and fog, inadequate sleep can lead to an increased level of anxiety and sensitivity to situations that cause long term stress. If you find yourself struggling to get the right amount of sleep in the first place, here are a few of my favourite tips:
1. Keep your room dark
I suggest making your room as dark as possible to avoid external distractions and keeping your room temperature cool.
2. Remove your phone and technology
Phones connect us to everything, which includes all of our work emails, so if you’re looking to unwind at night leave your work stressors outside of your bedroom. Phones also emit blue light which can trick our brains into thinking it's daylight and stop us from nodding off in peace. Instead, try switching the late night scroll for a late night read with your favourite book.
3. Be mindful of foods you consume at night
Some foods and alcohol can trigger reflux responses and stimulate our bodies. As a general rule, we suggest stopping the consumption of spicy or acidic dishes at least 2 hours before bed and keeping your late-night snacking to a minimum!
So what other ways can you manage stress? Here’s my top tips!
Get ahead of the stressful situation
If I know I’m about to walk into a stressful meeting, I take a dose of The Goodnight Co’s Calm Drops up to 30 minutes beforehand to help ease my feelings. This one is great to pop in your bag on stressful days because it requires no refrigeration and can be taken directly under the tongue!
Write it out of your head
One of my favourite tools for managing stress is journaling. This encourages self-reflection and a mental unwind, as you physically offload your thoughts onto paper. Jotting down your to-do list for the following day has also been strongly advised, with researchers linking it to eliminating overthinking and improving rates of falling asleep.
Try breathing exercises
A form of meditation, breathing exercises have been shown to distract the mind from overthinking and increase your oxygen intake aiding in a natural all-over calm. Clinically proven techniques such as the 4-7-8 breathing technique (based on yogic breathing) work to bring both mental ease and induce sleep.
If you’re looking for more support, you can shop The Goodnight Co’s stress relief solutions here.