Better Sleep. Have you ever lain awake at night, worried about finances? You’re not alone. Sleep is often the first thing that goes when we’re under any sort of stress, financial pressure most definitely included. But while it may seem worth it in the short-term, it rarely actually is. Sleep is how our body restores itself and rejuvenates, grows muscle, repairs tissue and synthesizes hormones. When sleep deprived, the brain loses its ability to function normally, causing short-term memory and cognitive functions to suffer, impacting your performance at almost everything. Long term effects of sleep deprivation include higher risk of chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and cancer. For people with hypertension, one night without enough sleep can cause elevated blood pressure all through the next day.
That being said, there are plenty of ways to change your sleep habits and improve the quality of the sleep itself without spending a dime on a new mattress or expensive pill. Read on for the top secrets for better sleep.
#1. Exercise. There’s just no getting out of this one. Exercise—even just a brisk walk— won’t just trim you down, but it will also keep you up less often at night. Exercise boosts the effect of natural sleep hormones like melatonin, and also causes the body to actually feel tired. One thing to watch, however, is the timing of your workouts. Morning workouts are ideal, as they expose you to bright daylight first thing in the morning, helping set the natural circadian rhythm. Evening or night workouts can be too stimulating, and actually keep you from falling asleep.
#2. Start a sleep routine. Even in adulthood, a set of bedtime rituals can have a comforting effect, like reading a story and getting tucked in by your parents when you were younger. These rituals can help signal the body and mind that it’s coming to be time for sleep. Try taking on a new sleep-coaxing habit, like drinking a hot cup of tea, taking a bath, or doing a relaxing yoga routine.
#3 Stop the stress. This can be a hard one, especially for someone dealing with the stresses of debt. When the bills are piling up and the to-do list is too long for today, your worries have a habit of bubbling to the surface at night. Make a list of practices that alleviate stress for you, whether that be a meditation practice, kicking a ball around, a yoga class or art project, and commit to doing at least one every day.
#4 Establish a routine. Setting a regular bedtime and wake-up call can really have an impact on your body’s circadian rhythm, which in turn will start to make going to bed and waking up at the right time a lot easier — your body will start to sync up and the routine will start to feel very natural.
#5 Don’t stress the sleep as much. If you have problems getting to sleep, or wake up during the night and can’t go back to sleep within 20-30 minutes, don’t get frustrated. Instead, choose to do something restful like reading, listening to music or a jigsaw puzzle. The stress of not sleeping can actually keep you from falling back asleep, so try not to sweat it.
#6 Power down before bed. Bright lights like those from a phone or laptop screen are triggers to our brain to wake up. There’s also new research that suggests that any sort of screen usage in the hour before bed is likely to affect your sleep patterns and the depth of your sleep. Give yourself a screen-free hour before bed.
#7 Aromatherapy isn’t crazy. The scent of lavender has noted benefits for sleep. According the The Wall Street Journal, women with insomnia fell asleep more easily after a sniff of lavender before bed.
Getting better sleep is important to reducing stress. We hope you will find these tips useful!