Stress Less: Sleep More

There is nothing, no thing, quite like a good night’s sleep.  It’s natures way of hitting “reset.”  And who couldn’t use a daily reset?  I know I sure can.  But we, the big collective “we” seem to have this notion that getting enough shut-eye is next to impossible.  There’s just too much to do…

Huh?  What is more important than your health?  What could be better than handling your to-do list with a calm mood and clear focus?

Sleep (or rather the lack of it) has been implicated in many many disease processes including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension as well as anxiety and depression.  It simply makes sense to make sleep a priority.

How?  It does take commitment, a willingness to listen to your body as opposed to overriding your physical needs in order to watch that late night program, get one more thing done, etc.

Remember when you were a kid and you could fall asleep just about anywhere?  You still could if you let yourself.  While literally falling asleep in a meeting isn’t cool, learning to once again tune in to the feeling of sleepiness washing over yourself can kick start your ability to get the rest you need.  So take time each evening to tune in to yourself, sit quietly and notice.  Do you feel the tug of the Sandman?

Just taking those moments to simply sit quietly gives your sleep rhythms a boost.  Once you do, you’re on your way to unwinding enough to get the rest you want.  A few other tips (there will be more on these later) that support getting restful sleep.

1. Turn off all electronics at least an hour before you go to bed.  (a half-hour is the bare minimum)

2. Turn down the temperature.

3. Create a bed-time ritual that relaxes your body and your mind.  Do it consciously and religiously.

4. Make sure you have at least 8-hours of in-bed time.  A REM cycle is approximately 90 minutes.  Eight hours give you time to settle, get seven full REM cycles and wake up refreshed BEFORE your alarm goes off.  Your brain needs to complete an entire cycle to optimize alertness.  So, on those days when you can’t get your full seven (or eight) cycles, get up at the end of a REM cycle rather than hitting snooze for 15 or 20 minutes.


For more on the link between sleep and anxiety check out:



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