The year 2020 is another synonym for stress. We’re faced with uncertainty in almost every area of our lives. When anxiety levels are on the rise, our body produces cortisol which results in a lot of stress. When stress accumulates over time, it can disrupt our sleeping pattern, which can lead to insomnia and poor immune system. Our body basically repairs itself during sleep so you should work on regaining the power of restorative sleep. Banishing stress is your main goal.

Take an emotional time-out

The only way to calm your racing heart and spinning thoughts is to take a time-out. The only way to do so is to learn to recognize your triggers. Think about your day and mentally go through it to recognize your main stressor. You can take a notebook and write down stressful things that happened to your today. Note down your response to it as well, so that you’ll know whether to react the same way when you find yourself in a similar situation. Once you write everything down, let go. Release these thoughts in order to reduce stress.

A consistent routine is essential

When people are sleep deprived, they tend to disrupt their regular going-to-bed and waking-up routine by trying to make up for a sleepless night. So they take a nap. Somehow, this power nap always transforms into a 3-hour afternoon session. If this happens to you, chances are you won’t be able to sleep later on. Power naps are great if you know how to time them right. Short naps between 20 to 30 minutes can help you push through the day. Even so, try not to make it a habit. A consistent sleep schedule is a key to sleeping better so aim to develop a regular sleep schedule and stick to it. Weekends are no exception.

Be careful with caffeine

If you’re anxious and on the verge of burnout, your heart is probably beating faster than usual. If you use caffeine to boost your energy and drink more than you should, you will only prolong this symptom of stress. Aim to drink your daily cup of jo, by noon at the latest. Researchers have found that caffeine can last up to six hours, so if you drink another cup at 4 pm, it might affect your usual bedtime at 10 pm. If you can’t resist having another coffee, try some herbal tea like green or black tea.

Find time to exercise every day

Physical activity is directly linked to your general wellbeing, mental health, and even better sleep at night. Exercise can help you destress and release pent up tension thus promoting better sleep. But, you should know when is the right time to put your body through strenuous activity. Exercising your bedtime won’t help you relax. It will do just the opposite. But, if you squeeze your exercise after work, or before dinner, you will reap stress relieving benefits of exercise.

Block out two hours before sleep for relaxation

No phone.

No TV.

No screens are allowed.

Instead, you can read a book, meditate or take a hot bath. Embrace this downtime to ease your mind, journal, and simply relax. Focus your attention on an activity that brings you joy and helps you relax and unwind. You can even listen to some soothing music while you meditate or practice deep breathing during your downtime.

Improve your sleeping atmosphere

If you want to improve the quality of sleep during these stressful times, you need to improve your sleeping conditions. Make sure your room temperature is lower than the rest of your home and that it’s properly aired out. If you live in a noisy neighborhood, you should use sound-absorbing cellular blinds to reduce the noise and filter out the unwanted morning light. Change your sheets regularly so you’ll always feel like your bed is your sanctuary because it always smells so good. Relaxing scents like lavender, bergamot or geranium can also help create the best sleeping atmosphere.

Do some breathing exercises

Once you tuck yourself in your bed, try deep abdominal exercises to completely relax. Breathing deep from your stomach will help you ease the tension from your body. Put one hand on your abdomen so you’ll pay attention to inhaling through it. Exhale slowly and at the same time try to relax your body starting from your toes and moving up your body. After 5 to 10  minutes you’ll feel calm enough to try to fall asleep.

Another technique is a so-called 4-7-8 breathing technique. To do this exercise right you need to inhale through your nose for four seconds. Hold your breath for seven seconds and exhale through your mouth for eight counts. 

Lastly, try to let go of any harmful thought loop and focus on things you can control. Practice each one of these tips to regain control of your sleep.