Stress Relief – You Need To Sleep on it

Today’s modern world is a high stress environment.  With world news coming at you 24/7, it can be difficult to switch off and relax.  But that is exactly what you must do if you are ever going to reduce your stress levels.

High stress levels lead to difficulty sleeping.  And a lack of sufficient quality sleep causes an increase in the body’s stress levels.  In fact experts believe that around 8 hours quality sleep every night is necessary for adults to function properly.  Anything less than that can lead to chronic stress, and worse.  Stress is thought to be a significant factor in over 60 different medical conditions, including stroke, panic attacks and heart disease.

Sleep allows the body to rest, relax and unwind.  It allows the necessary escape from the body’s stress “fight or flight” response.  It is so important that the body interprets insufficient sleep as extremely stressful.  And if you are stressed, you get fitful, restless sleep.  So if you are not getting enough sleep, you become more and more stressed and when you are stressed you get less quality sleep.  It is a downward spiral! 

Here are five things you can do tonight to help ensure you get a restful night’s sleep:

1.    Read more

Reading is a great way to relax as it makes you slow down the pace of your life, takes your mind off every day things and allows your breathing to deepen.  All of which allows you to release pent up stress and puts you in the right frame of mind to drift gently off to sleep.  And if you are anything like me, you have a stack of books you have always wanted to “read someday”.  Start tonight.  Just think of all those books you’ll get through!

2.    Enjoy A Good Soak In The Bath

At bedtime, nothing beats a relaxing bath for letting the worries of the day float away.  A hot bath raises your core temperature so that when you get out, your core temperature gradually falls again.  And as it falls, you naturally begin to feel drowsy.  So not long after your hot bath, you feel sleepy.  Bliss!

3.    Get Rid Of the T.V

Many people watch TV in their bedrooms these days; and may even fall asleep whilst watching it.  This means their minds never enter a sufficiently stress free and relaxed state for restful sleep.  Take the TV out of the bedroom.  You will find that you are more ready for sleep when you actually do go to bed; you will fall asleep faster and will get more restful sleep as a result. 

4.    Reserve the Bedroom for Sleep and Sex

If you want to sleep better and reduce your stress levels, keep the bedroom space for sleep and sex only.  You will start to feel calmer and more relaxed whenever you enter the bedroom if you do.  Restful sleep will be inevitable.

5.    Stick To A Bedtime

Developing a restful sleeping routine will lower your stress levels and help you sleep more naturally.  Experts believe you need an optimal 8 hours sleep.  So if you need to be up at 7am, then you need to be asleep at 11pm.  This may mean going to bed at 10:30pm.  Stick to your bedtime and rise time every day.  Your body will respond by getting back into a regular sleep pattern, and you will have more restful sleep.

These tips will help significantly reduce your stress levels and will also help you get more sleep.  Give them a go.  You’ll be amazed at the results!

Don’t Stress Your Kids

Today’s world is a stressful place – and for kids as well as adults.  We all have a lot of pressure in our adult lives, what with workplace challenges and family problems.  It’s so easy to forget that kids get stressed too!

Whilst it’s true that parents have to deal with the stresses and strains of daily living – it’s also true that much of it spills over to the children.  This “fall out” transferred stress can be anything from the parents fighting and arguing about how to handle a certain situation to the parents snapping at their kids because of their own stress load. 

Children can’t always understand this, especially young kids.  But they always pick up on it and are affected by it.  School problems add to their stress, too.  Getting ready for an exam can be a huge problem to a young child.  Facing bullies or dealing with a teacher that may not be very sympathetic can put pressure on them as well.  And for twins schooled in different classes, separation from their twin can be stressful.

And who can blame the stressed out parents if they are so busy dealing with their own problems that they overlook their child’s needs to talk about their own problems?  Pre-teen and teen depression is a serious problem in the western world and is at an all-time high in the USA. 

Adults may shrug off the “lesser” problems of their son or daughter as a petty concern but to your child it appears differently.  Because stress comes chiefly from the perception on stress, we each view our problems from our own personal insight.  A child’s view of the world is not and cannot ever be the same as that of the parents.  But it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a valid stress.

Kids deal with stress in different ways.  Some run with a “bad crowd” and get into drugs or alcohol etc.  Others retreat into themselves and into brooding and depression. 

You can help a young child during stressful times by being a sympathetic listener.  Try not to offer too much advice unless asked.  Try to put yourself in their shoes.  Above all, be there for your growing child or young adult.  After all you know that de-stressing is essential to your long term good health.  The same is true for your child.