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!

SOS Getaways: Savoring the Opportunities of Summer

Copyright (c) 2009 Karin Marcus

Summer is the time to renew and rejoice.  It is the time to rest and play and to let the fruits of your labours, ripen.  Physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, your hearts and bodies need this time to rejuvenate.  You have recently emerged from a long hard winter that was followed by a spring filled of sudden changes and hard work.  So it makes sense, if you are feeling run down from battling the seas of responsibilities.  Now is the time to send out that distress signal and declare a SOS Getaway – time to Savor the Opportunities of Summer!

Step One: Take out your calendar and cross out a day, an afternoon, a weekend, and write across the dates SOS.  Don’t allow anything to be scheduled during that time.  Let people know you will be unavailable and out of reach.  Also, set up a support team to cover any responsibilities that may need attending to during that time.

Step Two: Find the quite time and space to journal on, “My perfect summer day…”  Describe in detail what that day would consist of.  Where would you be, what would you be doing; would you be alone or would you really like to spend some quality time with some one special.  Write in detail from sunrise to sunset, how you would like to spend each precious hour.  Another idea is to journal on “My favorite summer memories…”  Try to recapture the mood and quality of those memories.  What about those special moments made the memories so lasting?

Step Three: Translate that perfect summer day and those wonderful memories into the possibilities that presently surround you.  For example, you might have imagined yourself at a distant location.  Where in your extended local area is there a place that resembles or contains some of the same elements, such as a body of water or trail in the woods?  You might have dreamed of being with a particular person who is unavailable, what person might play their part or what can you do or bring to remind you of that person?  Be creative in fashioning the essence of your perfect day into the present opportunities.

Step Four: The day before your SOS Getaway, gather all the necessary paraphernalia: food, clothing, gas, toys, books, journal…  Check in with your support team that all areas of responsibility are covered.  Have everything ready to wake up and have your getaway begin.  Get a good nights rest.

Step Five: Upon awakening, set the intention to consciously savor each moment.  Throughout the day, utilize all your six senses to notice the textures, smells, sights, sounds, tastes, and metaphors that surround you.  Know that nothing happens as the mind intends and be prepared to meet each unexpected turn with creativity.  Honor the purpose and intention of the day, by valuing your needs and your essential Being!

Step Six: At the close of your day, take a moment to acknowledge the significance of time well spent.  Notice how you feel physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.  What shifts have occurred?  What lessons, gifts, or new awareness do you want to incorporate in your daily life?  Commit to doing so with a specific action, within a set time.

Step Seven: Take out your calendar and schedule your next SOS Getaway.

Karin Marcus, Certified Life Coach / Retreat Leader, “Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do” Rumi , Download your free “Walking with Intention: A Self-Guided Mini Retreat”  Article Source: