We have now entered into Stresstember. “It would seem that, in the same way the new tax year starts in April, the new ‘stress year’ begins in September.” said Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council. It is no coincidence that 90% of people claim to suffer from stress and 72% blame stress for sleeping problems during this period. Bad sleep is both a cause and a symptom of stress.
Stress is all about stimulation. When faced with stressful situations, our bodies become naturally stimulated in order to ‘fight or flight’ the situation. Therefore it is important that we don’t further stimulate our bodies, when in a state of stress, in order to be able to have a good night’s sleep. Great non- stimulating alternatives can be:
• Herbal/fruit teas
• Decaffeinated tea/ coffee
• Fruits to replace refined sugar snacks
• Sugar-free drinks
• Healthy and balanced meals
In this day and age, we are always connected to at least one technological device at a time. Our brains are constantly active and stimulated by our devices. Constant exposure to artificial light, especially before bed, is proven to reduce our melatonin levels. Reduced levels of melatonin are not only known to cause bad sleep patterns, but have also been linked to severe illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Therefore better before-bed alternative activities would be:
- Listening to quiet, relaxing music
- Meditation/relaxation techniques
- Warm bath/shower
Prepare and plan for sleep
Having a schedule and a routine helps our bodies maintain a healthy sleep pattern. It is important that we allow a few hours before bed for relaxation. Allow your body and mind to calm down. Switch off your devices, don’t stimulate your mind and body, use a relaxation technique that best works for you and get prepared for a good night’s sleep. With persistence and practice, you will find that you wake up energised and ready for another day!
The Stress Management Society is our chosen media partner for the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Summit 2014.
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