5 Tips to Relieve Stress At Bedtime

woman in bed with sleeping masks - featured image

woman in bed with sleeping masks - featured image

Stress has a negative impact on several aspects of one’s health and wellness. Perhaps the most damaging is how stress can ruin a good night’s sleep. Diminished sleep quality leads to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, creating a negative cycle that’s hard to break.

Fortunately, several practices can help us overcome stress and promote good rest. Here are five tips to help relieve stress at bedtime to get the sleep you need.

Practice Mindfulness Techniques

Stress is an unfortunate aspect of life. While there are several ways to minimize stress (setting boundaries, for example), it’s unavoidable. You can’t control when an important work presentation is coming up or when you encounter an unexpected bill. These issues often lead to staying awake at night and thinking about what comes next.

While you can’t necessarily stop a stressful situation, you can use mindfulness techniques to stop obsessing over them at bedtime. Consider practicing mindfulness meditation or a journaling exercise before bed to help you mentally unwind and process the issues causing you stress.

If stressful thoughts keep you awake at night, take control and stop them in their tracks. Consider trying a reframing exercise, reminding yourself that you can’t solve this problem tonight, and redirect your mind. You can also try positive visualization, using deep breathing while picturing yourself in a peaceful place. 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is another therapeutic practice to help you relax and release tension so you can sleep.

Create a Relaxing Routine

Brains love a good routine or habit. That’s why creating a relaxing sleep routine is so important. In addition to creating an opportunity to relax and unwind, creating structure around bedtime can help signal your brain and body that it’s time for bed. As you start your routine, your mind will recognize that it’s time to relax.

A nighttime routine should be relaxing and practical if stress is an issue. Incorporate activities that help you mentally unwind, like a skincare routine or reading. If you struggle with creating routines and need help creating those signals for your body, consider using a wearable to guide the process— visit Hapbee for more information. 

a woman taking down notes

Reduce Stimulant Intake

Caffeine takes approximately 10 hours to completely leave the body. Scientists estimate that around half of the initial dose remains in the bloodstream six hours after caffeine consumption. While you don’t have to quit drinking coffee to get a good night’s sleep, it’s wise to ensure you have your last cup at least 10 hours before bedtime.

There’s a misconception that alcohol helps people sleep. While one glass could be soothing and relaxing to help you fall asleep, increased consumption interrupts the sleep cycle later on. Minimizing alcohol intake before bed is also essential.

So, how do these substances factor into stress levels? Increased caffeine and alcohol can actually exacerbate anxiety levels, making it difficult to process stress and relax. The only way to fully comprehend the impacts of stimulants on your stress levels and sleep is to cut them out and see how you feel. 

Turn on Airplane Mode

Social media is essentially a digital stimulant, keeping your mind active and engaged when it should be winding down. Furthermore, the light from the screen sends a signal that it’s time to be awake. While there’s an argument for consuming uplifting or comedic content before bed, it can be challenging to filter stress-inducing content. 

Another issue created by constant connectivity is access to email and work-related content. If you have a habit of checking your work email on weekends or after hours, consider putting your phone in airplane mode to avoid mindlessly opening something that could cause stress.

Prepare for the Next Day

Sometimes it’s not the stress of the day we’ve experienced that keeps us awake, but stress about the day ahead. The more you can do in the evenings to prepare yourself for the next day, the less stress you’ll have. 

If you have a particularly busy day on the horizon, write a simple list and jot down how you’ll navigate the day to the best of your ability. Remember to be compassionate with yourself and manage your expectations. Do what you can to prepare, and permit yourself to be human. Remember to use the mindfulness techniques above if you find yourself overthinking.

With these five tips, you can help minimize stress before bedtime and improve your quality of rest. Create a routine that incorporates mindfulness, preparedness, and relaxation to help you unwind and get to sleep.