Sadly, stress is part of life. At some point, everyone experiences stress. Physical, emotional and other types of stress take their toll on our minds and bodies. That’s why sleep is so important. Sleep is an antidote for stress.
Our bodies use sleep to restore and recover. While we sleep our bodies carry out important restorative functions. Our brains rid themselves of toxins and sort out the events that happened throughout the day. Our bodies repair and restore themselves as well. It’s pretty amazing how much our minds and bodies remain active even when we are sleeping.
Stress affects the mind and body
Stress takes its toll on our minds and bodies. Stress causes the release of cortisol, a powerful hormone that triggers the fight or flight response in our bodies. This hormone can cause overwhelming sensations in the body, raise blood pressure, and cause anxious feelings. Sound sleep helps reduce the levels of cortisol and balance the chemistry in the brain and body. Chronic stress without adequate sleep can raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Stress affects our mood
Stress affects our mood. When we are stressed, we tend to over or under-react. This can lead to an onslaught of problems. Living in a heightened sense of worry or anxiety can result in eating too much or too little, emotional outbursts or withdrawal, or a wide range of other behaviors. After a long day of stress, the best thing to regulate mood swings is a restful night’s sleep.
Stress affects our relationships
Stress changes how we engage with other people. Being worried, anxious, or overwhelmed makes it harder to be present and engage positively with other people. From co-workers to family, stress can fracture relationships if we aren’t careful. Being able to unplug from people and take some time for yourself can help. Sleeping provides a significant amount of time to recharge and get ready to face the world again. Even the act of relaxing in bed prior to sleeping can aid in rebuilding your energy and make it easier to get along with others.
Sleep is the antidote for stress
Sleep is a wonderful remedy for a stressful day. Relaxing in the comfort of your bed and letting go of the worries of the world can give you new perspective, renew your spirit and energy. Sleep can be the escape you need from the pressures going on and give you the uninterrupted time to recover. Making sleep a priority, including naps when necessary, can help your mind and body recover from stress and manage difficult situations easier.
One way to sleep better is to enjoy the soothing benefits from the Relaxing Eye Massager.
Use Journaling to Relieve Stress at Bedtime
Stress comes from everywhere. Worries abound in all areas of life. Fretting about work, family, and obligations can become overwhelming. Running everything through your mind without an outlet for stress can make it hard to sleep. When you need to rest, your mind gets hyper focused on stressful things making it hard to fall asleep. During the day it can be easy to push worries down and think about other things but it’s much harder to distract ourselves when we are lying in bed trying to end our day.
There are a lot of ways to relieve stress and rid our minds of worries, and one of the most effective is journaling. Journaling works because it:
• Focuses your thoughts
• Is a creative outlet
• Gets thoughts out of your head
• Creates an opportunity for problem solving
Journaling before bed can help reduce stress
Journaling helps you get a handle on your thoughts, and subsequently helps you focus your thoughts and get them out on paper. Instead of ruminating on the issues and stressing, journaling helps organize thoughts and process them. It makes it easier to better understand the roots of your stress and focus your thoughts rather than continuously running them over in your mind.
Also, journaling uses a different part of the brain. The act of writing and journaling uses the creative side or your brain. This can help ease stress. Depending on the type of journaling you do it may help raise the dopamine in your brain chemistry reducing stress. Journaling doesn’t have to be limited to writing. It can be as creative as you’d like including, but not limited to, coloring, doodling, writing poetry, or any other form of expression.
Journaling removes thoughts from your head and creates a sense of calm
Writing things down tricks your brain into dumping them and leaving them on the page. Journaling can help get thoughts out of your head so your mind can wander on to something else. Psychologically, your brain believes that the thoughts are categorized on the page and don’t need as much intense focus anymore so your mind can begin to relax.
Journaling triggers problem solving- In the same way clearing your mind in the shower leads to epiphanies, journaling can trigger problem solving. Worrying about stress in your mind clutters it with negative thoughts and anxiety. The process of journaling triggers our natural problem-solving skills and makes it easier to find solutions.
Do you want to rid your mind of stress? Leave your psyche feeling calm, by journaling before bedtime. This can help your mind shut down easily and drift into REM sleep where the mind and body can repair and heal. Practice journaling before bedtime to help your mind release the worries of the day and prepare for a great night’s rest.
Use Meditation to Overcome Stress and Fall Asleep Faster
Meditation is an ancient practice that uses mindfulness to center thoughts, reduce stress, and help calm the mind. Meditation emphasizes focus and self-awareness to rid the mind of stress. Meditating prior to bedtime can help prepare your mind and body for sleep and get control of stressful thinking.
If you haven’t experienced meditation in the past it can seem intimidating, weird, or even boring. Starting a meditation practice may feel awkward in the beginning, but soon you’ll experience the benefits first-hand and sing the praises of meditation. Learning to meditate is like working a muscle. The more often you use it, the easier it becomes.
Simple Steps to Start
Here are some simple steps to meditate at bedtime and reduce stress and sleep well.
Step 1. Commit to the practice! Making the decision to meditate is the first and most important step. Since meditation gets easier over time, committing to using it is important. It may feel strange at first but stick with it.
Step 2. Choose the type of meditation that works for you- There are three general types of meditation- mindfulness, concentration, and guided meditation.
- Mindfulness meditation is focusing on your breath and body and being keenly aware of how you feel inside your body and how your body is functioning in the moment. The goal during mindful meditation is to replace any wandering thoughts with mindfulness of what your body is experiencing instead.
- Concentration meditation is focused on a word, thought, or phrase. This meditation may include focusing on an object or repeating a mantra audibly or inside your mind. Also, repeating a prayer may be preferred!
- Guided meditation includes listening to an audio that helps guide you into stress relief and sleep. The instructor may focus on physical aspects of your body or may share a story and guide you through the details.
Step 3. Extend the length of meditation until you experience relief- In the beginning you may not be able to meditate for very long. That’s normal. Thoughts wander and stress has a way of overriding intentions. Don’t judge yourself or worry that you aren’t doing it right. Over time you can conquer your wandering mind and help it focus on your meditation practice and achieve relief and peace as you fall asleep.
Meditation Relieves Stress
Meditation is a wonderful tool to use to reduce stress throughout the day. It is especially helpful before bed if stress tries to rob you of your sleep. Find a meditation style that works for you and commit to trying it for a month and you’ll discover an amazing ability to regulate your thoughts and enjoy restful sleep.
Journaling and Meditation to Sleep Better
Finally, I want to encourage you to try both of these methods, or a combination of both. Stress is not an easy issue to overcome, but with some guided steps to help you sleep, your nights and hence – your days, will become more fruitful and enjoyable. The benefits of a good night’s sleep cannot be underscored enough!
Written by Rob Beecroft