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How to Get Quality Sleep and Stress Relief

Updated on September 1, 2017
Sleep like a baby by following these useful tips.
Sleep like a baby by following these useful tips. | Source

Daily stressors like the workplace, personal relationships, family troubles, financial hardships, and physical pain can cause you to become irritable and short-tempered. But don’t let them get the better of you. Reduce stress with and get better sleep in the bargain with the following tips.

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Why is Quality Sleep Important?

When we don't get enough sleep our body goes into a sleep "debt" mode that is almost impossible to "pay back". We become more susceptible to colds and viruses as our immune system is compromised by the decrease of cytokines (proteins that help promote sleep). We are more likely to become drowsy during the day or at the wheel of our cars.

All of these reasons (and there are many more) make it clear that humans need enough high-quality sleep to function well.

Take off those sunnies and let the light shine into your eyes... at least for a while.
Take off those sunnies and let the light shine into your eyes... at least for a while. | Source
The Lightphoria Sphere is great for improving sleep cycles.
The Lightphoria Sphere is great for improving sleep cycles. | Source

Get Enough Daylight

Expose yourself to plenty of light during the day. If you are stuck inside most of the time like many office workers, think about getting a light therapy box (I use the Lightphoria Sphere). Getting that light into my eyes indirectly in the morning has not only regulated my waking hours and alleviated my Seasonal Affect Disorder, it is much easier for me to fall asleep at a reasonable time.

I have even used this unit at my workplace, and except for a couple of coworkers cracking jokes about me being "ready for my closeup", it's very convenient to use and lightweight as well.

Pipe Down, You

Keep household sounds low. Personally, the sound of the highway lulls me to sleep (good thing I live with a view of a secondary highway right outside my bedroom!)

If you live in an apartment building or next to noisy neighbors, consider using white noise (like a fan or humidifier) to block out the sounds of other people.

Keep Your Bedroom Dark and Cool

When getting to bed, block out as much light as possible and do not overheat your room or body. Wear lightweight pajamas and a blanket you can easily kick off if you feel yourself getting too warm. The ideal temperature range for sleeping is between 54 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Color a mandala to help you relax.
Color a mandala to help you relax. | Source

Relax

At night, determine what helps you to chill out, and engage in those relaxing activities before bed. This can be easier said than done. So outside of standard meditation, here are some ideas:

  • Grab a coloring book and crayons. Focusing on small areas is considered meditative.
  • A quick shower with your favorite soap
  • Giving yourself a hand or foot massage

Be wary of too much computer, tablet, or smartphone time before bed as backlit devices or those that emit light signal the brain to stay alert. Also, forgo candles as they are a fire hazard.

Consider Aromatherapy

You could always try aromatherapy (what do you have to lose?), but if you do so, choose a scent that you like. Lavender has been a major sleep aid for many years of herbal and folk medicine, but if you don’t like it, try chamomile, jasmine, bergamot, or rose.

Buy a sleep mist or make your own with distilled water, witch hazel, alcohol, and a few drops of essential oils (there are many recipes online). Shpritz your sheets or pillow, and even the bathroom if you choose to take a short, relaxing shower pre-bedtime. The steam will help the smell surround you and signal your brain to prepare you for sleep.

Take a Cue From Babies

Sometimes I use baby powder scented with actual babies in my quest for a good night’s sleep. Ha! Don't worry, I’m just kidding. I use a bit of Johnson’s baby powder in the “Calming Lavender & Chamomile” scent. It assists babies with getting enough rest, and it assists adults to do the same.

Imagine laying in this field surrounded by the soporific scent of lavender.
Imagine laying in this field surrounded by the soporific scent of lavender. | Source

Make it a Habit

  • Once you do find the activity that best reduces your stress, make sure you give yourself up each moment completely. Really immerse yourself.
  • Remove distractions so you can truly focus. Remember, this is your health we're talking about!
  • Engage in deep breathing exercises while you are preparing yourself for bed.
  • You will have to start making these nightly activities a little ritual until it becomes second nature to you.

Dealing with Nightmares

How about those times when you finally get to sleep, only to be plagued by nightmares. (I have been there, and it's awful!) Your heart will race, you may sweat, and they may even cause you to be too frightened to fall asleep again, resulting in a vicious cycle of lost sleep and stressing you even further.

Endeavor to become conscious that you are in a dream state. This will help you to remain calm within the dream. You can even try to influence your dreams pre-sleep to sweeten them.

Imagine yourself falling asleep against the softest sheets you've ever experienced. Sweetest dreams...
Imagine yourself falling asleep against the softest sheets you've ever experienced. Sweetest dreams... | Source

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub, Rachel, with excellent sleep and stress relief tips. I would love to try aromatherapy sometime. Voted up!

    • theclevercat profile image
      Author

      Rachel Vega 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      I hope they are healthy, Vinaya! A lack of sleep is dangerous because one may not know they are too sleep-deprived before it is too late.

      Thanks for the comment!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Good sleep is connected with mental health as well as physical health. As for how many hours are enough for an adult human being is debated. I find 7-8 hours enough, but I know people who sleep 5 hours, nevertheless, they are are perfectly healthy.

    • theclevercat profile image
      Author

      Rachel Vega 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks, teaches! I hope it all works for you. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I love how aromatherapy relaxes the mind and body. Great suggestions on how to get some sleep and eliminate stress. Your tips on visualization are ones that I use when I have to get some much needed sleep.

    • theclevercat profile image
      Author

      Rachel Vega 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks so much, torrilynn! I really appreciate the read, thoughtful comment, and votes. :)

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      theclevercat,

      thanks for the really nice article that you have here

      on ways to receive the best amount of sleep and how it benefits you.

      i think that sleep is a good thing to get and really does helping with burning calories

      and giving you the right amount of energy to carry on the next day's activities.

      thanks,voted up and shared.

    • theclevercat profile image
      Author

      Rachel Vega 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi, Angela! For me, the sheet spray is invaluable and it's so easy to make on your own! Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

    • Angela Kane profile image

      Angela Kane 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks for all the great ideas. I have trouble sleeping stress fee most nights and your tips are very useful. I currently use some them like the baby powder and room temperature.

    • theclevercat profile image
      Author

      Rachel Vega 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks, Pamela! I've had trouble sleeping throughout my life, but these things have helped me, and I hope they help you, too. It's good to meet you, and thanks so much for the votes!

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      I really enjoyed every bit of this hub. The fact about cytokines and also the item called a light therapy box were news to me. So many good suggestions in here. The one about keeping the body cool while sleeping is especially important. Almost four decades ago, I used to use an electric blanket nightly -- until I read what those do to a person over the passage of time.

      Voting up, useful and interesting.