When we are stressing out about something, for some reason our body tells our mind to start stressing when it’s time to go to bed.
While this may not happen every time you turn out the light, you may notice a bedtime pattern when you are feeling more stressed than usual.
Whether it is an exam the next day, a presentation next week, an interview in a month or a looming breakup, you keep saving your stress for nighttime and to be frank, it’s stressing you out!
Answer the following questions honestly to see if you are stressing out before bed and then read on to find ways to relax so you can not only fall asleep, but STAY asleep, too.
Does this sound like your bedtime routine:
- Do you stay up really late working on assignments, papers or studying for an exam?
- When you see the night slipping away, do you begin to feel anxious that your work is not getting done?
- When the sun begins to set, do you start feeling worried?
- Do you often pace around your dorm or apartment at night before bed because you are too stressed out to sleep?
- After turning out the light and getting into bed, do you still focus on everything you need to do the next day?
- Do you toss and turn in bed while thinking about looming exams or projects?
- Do you wake up in the middle of the night feeling anxious or upset that you haven’t done your work yet?
If you answered yes to more than a couple of the above questions, you may have a stress problem that is affecting your lifestyle and sleep schedule.
Remember, being tired and not getting enough sleep is not the best way to deal with stress so by not treating the problem, you are not helping yourself.
Stop doing work an hour before bed
The best way to clear your mind and forget about being stressed or the work you have to do is by giving yourself enough downtime before bed to relax.
You may be thinking that taking time off from studying is not an option, but which is better? Going to bed at a reasonable hour stress-free and waking up earlier to study, OR staying up all night studying, being tired and stressing out about the fact that you aren’t sleeping?
If you take some time to read a book, watch your favorite TV program or chat with a friend, you will feel so much better before hitting the hay and your mind will be clear and ready for sleep.
Don’t bring your computer into bed with you either; this will only keep you awake and your eyes/senses stimulated so leave your computer closed on your desk before bed.
Take a shower or bath before bed
If you are a morning bather, this may be the furthest thing from your mind, but if you take a nice, hot shower right before bed, this can help you to relax, but will also leave you feeling tired and ready for bed.
Letting the hot water rush over your face and body will help to relax your muscles, slow your heart rate and warm up your skin. When you begin to feel sleepy or very hot, you should jump out of the shower (have your pajamas and slippers ready), slip into your clothes and head straight to bed.
Enjoy a cup of tea
Not looking to shower at night? Indulge in a cup of hot Sleepy Time or chamomile tea. This will warm up your body and leave you feeling warm and satisfied.
The chamomile will help you to relax and and the Sleepy Time will calm you down. Drink two cups and head straight to bed.
Stretch and meditate
Take the time to learn some Yoga stretches by signing up for a class or watching a video on YouTube. By taking 20 minutes to relax your muscles and stretch, you are allowing your body to release tension and any pain you may be feeling.
The best muscles to stretch before bed would be your neck and back so focus on finding stretches that will relieve pressure in your spine, lower-back and shoulders.
Meditation is also a great way to relax before bed. Download a video onto your iPod or listen to one via YouTube for a soothing, relaxing experience. Follow the prompts and indulge in heavy, slow breathing techniques and work on controlling your stress level with your thoughts.