Everyone lives busy lives. Between work, family life and social obligations sometimes sleep becomes the lowest priority on the list. However, it’s important to understand how to adapt to stress within your occupations so you do not compromise your quality of life and work.
Getting enough sleep is crucial to your immediate health and safety. It reduces the risk of drowsy driving crashes or workplace accidents. It’s also important to your day-to-day performance in terms of productivity, mood, relationships and energy levels.
Career stressors may impact your sleep. Stress causes hyperarousal, which can upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness. Being anxious and unable to sleep may cause a cycle of stress as you worry about lack of sleep, wake up tired for the next day, do the same thing that night and the cycle continues.
Stress can also bring on insomnia. Not all insomnia is due to stress, but people who are under considerable stress can develop insomnia. In that case, alleviating the stress should alleviate the insomnia.
So what can you do to deal with stress?
Write it down
When you get home devote some time (no longer than 30 minutes) to the issues of the day. Write them down, along with any potential solutions in a book or a journal. When you finish, close the book and put it way. Not only are you physically putting aside your worries, but you have now managed to deal with your concerns, rather than waiting until going to sleep. And, as always, good sleep practices are a must for restful sleep.
Speak to someone about how you’re feeling
By communicating how you’re feeling and seeking advice this may alleviate some stress. Be it a therapist, colleague or family member, you may feel more at ease by simply sharing your feelings about what is bothering you. Remember, it’s important that the person whom you talk to is someone whom you trust, and whom you feel can understand and validate you.
Create a sleep routine
By rising and going to sleep at the same time each day your body will fall into a sleep routine. It’s important to avoid stimulants before bed, such as caffeine in tea and coffee, as these stimulants delays the onset of sleep. If you lay in bed for a while and find yourself struggling to snooze, get up and do something else relaxing for half an hour. Return to bed when you feel sleepy again.
Allow wind down time
Your sleep routine should include an allocated wind down time. Wind down time lets the activating processes in the brain slow down, allowing the alerting mechanisms to decrease their activity. This is when the sleep systems take over. Put away all electronic devices as these can be activating. Begin this process at least two hours before bedtime. Our tips for wind down include:
- Mindfulness activities such as meditation or reflection
- Reading a book or listening to some soft soothing music
- Dim the lights and take a long warm bath
For more information on how to achieve better sleep and create your perfect sleep environment, read our article here.