If stress is playing a part in your poor sleep, then learning to relax and manage your stress is going to be crucial.
And it’s not just stress in the hours before bed.
Studies have shown that elevated stress through the middle of the day can actually result in elevated levels of stress hormones at night.
So it’s possible to get home from a tough day at work and be suffering a ‘stress hangover’ from something that happened many hours ago.
In order to minimize those impacts you’re going to need to learn a technique that works for you in bringing about the Relaxation Response.
The good news is that there are multiple options for you to test and choose from.
We initially suggest Box Breathing as a simple place to start. But the one that works best will vary from person to person, so some experimentation on your part will be needed.
The Relaxation Response & Sleep
Being able to actively engage your Relaxation Response can help with your sleep in a number of different ways.
- Practicing relaxation techniques through the day can counter any stress experienced and reduce levels of stress hormones at night.
- Using those same techniques at night before bed helps relax the body and prepare it to enter sleep.
- Using relaxation techniques at night has also been shown to be a powerful way to transition the brain wave pattern into an alpha state which is the same brain wave pattern experienced in Stage 1 sleep. This helps ease the transition from wake to sleep
Other Examples Of Stress Reduction Techniques
If you don’t find Box Breathing useful, or you simply want to tap into other stress reduction techniques then you can use the list below as a starting point for the option available to you.
- Progressive muscle relaxation.
- Abdominal breathing.
- 4-7-8 breathing.
- Foam rolling.
- Guided imagery.
- Relaxation music/sounds
Become the master of just one or two relaxation techniques and you’ll have the ability to lower your stress levels at will, and keep them from harming your sleep.