How to Manage Stress With Quality Sleep (and Yoga)

How to Manage Stress With Quality Sleep (and Yoga)

If you want to feel better, sleep better. Sleep deprivation is associated with serious conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Mood disorders are associated with sleep deprivation as well, including depression, anxiety, and mental distress. When you’re sleep deprived, you may feel more stressed, sad, angry, and mentally exhausted, and feel less optimistic and willing to socialize.

But research shows all of these symptoms improve significantly with a healthy sleep schedule.

What Stress Does to Sleep

Sleep deprivation doesn’t just lead to stress; stress affects sleep as well. Research indicates patients who have experienced burnout have disturbed sleep, such as increased sleep fragmentation and decreased sleep efficiency.

How Yoga Helps Reduce Stress

Yoga has long been used as a resource for stress relief and improved well being. A recent study indicates yoga practice can improve physiological markers of stress. Participants who practiced yoga had reduced levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Blood pressure, heart rate, and high-frequency heart rate variability were lower as well, indicating a reduced stress reaction for those who did yoga.

How to Sleep Better and Relieve Stress

Stay consistent with sleep. A regular sleep-wake schedule keeps your body’s clock aligned and makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up on time every day. Staying up later and sleeping in on the weekends can shift your clock and make it more difficult to get back to your usual schedule during the work week.

  • Make yoga part of your bedtime routine. Incorporating yoga and other calming practices into your bedtime routine can help you sleep better at night. It can reduce stress hormones, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and center your mind so you can calm down before bed.
  • Clear your mind before bed. Whether with yoga, meditation, or simply making notes for the day ahead, clearing your mind at night can help you drift off easier.
  • Try other relaxation practices. Yoga, meditation, and clearing your mind can make you feel calm. Other options for relaxing before bed include aromatherapy, taking a hot bath or shower, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and journaling.
  • Make your bedroom comfortable for sleep. Several factors go into making your bedroom appropriate for sleeping. A cool temperature between 60 to 67 degrees is ideal. Light can be disruptive, so it’s essential to keep your bedroom dark. You’ll need to shut off and block out sources of light, such as turning off mobile devices or using blackout curtains. Paint your bedroom in a calming color, such as light blue. Ensure your bed is comfortable and meets your needs. Before you commit to a new mattress, compare mattresses online and read reviews to make sure you’re choosing the mattress that will be most comfortable and supportive for you.
  • Don’t sabotage your sleep. What you do during the day and evening can affect how well you sleep at night. Naps can be helpful for getting a burst of energy, but avoid napping after 3 p.m., and don’t nap for more than 30 minutes at a time. Turn off screens at least an hour before bed. Avoid heavy meals and alcohol late at night, as these can reduce the quality of your sleep. Although regular exercise during the day is good for rest, vigorous activity just before bed can disrupt your ability to fall asleep.
Add yoga and meditation to your bedtime routine to wake up feeling refreshed and avoid stress.

 

Ellie Porter
Managing Editor | SleepHelp.org
ellie@sleephelp.org
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