Sleep, stress and solving problems
How much does a good sleep affect your stress levels?
Hi, and thanks again for joining me in video two of my stress busting series. In this video we’re going to look at stress, sleep and solving problems.
The importance of sleep
Sleep is something every one of us needs. It’s important for our wellbeing because, without it, we can suffer both physically and mentally. Without it we become irritable, anxious, unfocused and lacking in motivation. We can feel on edge, unable to cope, and lose interest in all sorts of things. As a result, our work and relationships can suffer.
Good quality sleep, on the other hand, helps us to concentrate better; it improves our memory, reduces our risk of depression and prevents us from suffering the adverse effects of stress.
A lack of sleep contributes to stress
During the day, every negative thought that we have and every time we feel upset, converts into anxiety. So, when we’re worrying about that meeting, or thinking we might never get that job, or feeling bad about eating that bar of chocolate, we create anxiety. That anxiety has to go somewhere and it goes into what’s called the stress bucket. How well we deal with events of the day is determined by how much anxiety we have in that bucket.
So, the more we are able to empty our stress bucket, the better able we are to deal with situations we may find stressful.
How does sleep actually help us to de-stress?
Thankfully nature has given us a way of emptying that bucket. We do it through REM sleep – which stands for Rapid Eye Movement. During REM sleep our brain extracts the necessary information from the day’s events. It discharges their emotional content, enabling us to cope with everyday concerns and worries. So, when we wake up in the morning, things that were bothering us previously, no longer seem to be a problem.
A good night’s sleep means that the brain can operate less from the stress centre and more from the bit that’s absolutely packed with resources to help us deal effectively and calmly with life. The less that’s in the bucket, the less you’ll put into the bucket as you’ll begin to see life in a more positive way.
Tips for sleeping better
So, to get a better night’s sleep and maximise your REM cycle, here are some practical tips you can put in place this evening that will help you:
- In the hour or so before bed, prepare your body for the night ahead. Avoid drinking any caffeine products as this will stimulate the brain into producing adrenaline, which will stop you relaxing. Doing something as simple as having a bath or taking shower means the rapid cool down will help you get to sleep faster. Make sure you get into bed early enough so that you can have between 7 to 9 hours of good sleep.
- Wind down by reading a book, listening to some soothing music, or spend some time talking with a friend or loved one about the good things that have happened today. If there’s no one around, make a note of today’s successes in a journal. Thinking positively about the day’s events will stimulate the brain into producing dopamine and serotonin, helping you relax still further.
- Programme your mind to come up with solutions. Instead of running on auto pilot, give your brain a task. To do this, listen to my relaxation download. People with high amounts stress often have long, frequent, negative dreams. By using this download every night, you will instead be encouraged to have positive dreams, maximising your REM cycle and removing the anxiety from your stress bucket.
Remember, a calmer, stress free you starts with a better night’s sleep. So download my relaxation track and start listening to it tonight.
In the next video, we’re going to be looking at killing stress with kindness, so be sure to watch it.