What to Do When Stress Is Keeping You Up At Night
Insomnia can be caused by a variety of problems, but a big one is a stress. The problem is that the more people lose sleep over stress, the more they become stressed out. Can anything be done about stress-related insomnia? Thankfully, yes.
We’ve rounded up a few techniques that are useful for people that suffer from disrupted sleep patterns.
1. Stick to a sleep schedule
Sleep specialists recommend having the same bedtime and wake up time each day, including on the weekends. Sticking to a sleep schedule not only helps you fall asleep, but increases your likelihood of staying asleep.
2. Relax right before bed
Doing something relaxing right before bed can help make you sleepy. Try reading a book, listening to music or a podcast, working on a crossword puzzle, or something else relaxing each night before you go to sleep. Dr. Lawrence Epstein says, “Our body craves routine and likes to know what’s coming.” Having a pre-sleep ritual, according to Dr. Epstein, establishes associations in the brain between certain activities and sleep.
3. Avoid screens
If you do wake up in the middle of the night, avoid picking up your cell phone. The light from your phone tricks your brain into waking up and staying awake. It also increases the likelihood that you’ll end up on social media or playing a game, causing you to stay up even longer.
4. Get your mind off your stress
Focusing on your stress and anxiety isn’t going to do you any favors. The key is to figure out the best ways for you to get your mind off your stress and relaxed enough to fall back asleep. Some people like to listen to podcasts.
5. Move around a little
If you’re tossing and turning, getting up and walking around might actually help you get sleepy again. Try getting a drink of water or drinking a cup of tea, using the bathroom, or completing a small task, and then seeing how you feel. The important thing is to get out of your bed for a few minutes, shake off your feelings of stress, and to do something useful for yourself. Hopefully it will be enough to carry you back to sleep.