If catching that beauty sleep has been difficult even if you’re in your favourite sleepwear, maybe it’s time to do something else other than closing your eyes.
Earlier studies reported that not getting enough sleep might cause you stress. But what if it's the other way around? What happens if you are too stressed to sleep? It's possible. In fact, Huffington Post surveyed that one of the most common causes of stress is the lack of sleep. For some people, lying down in their cosy pyjamas may not be enough to induce a nice slumber. If you're one of those who have been tossing and turning for weeks without the success of sleep, read on.
One potential reason is that you can't quiet your mind. Stress stimulates and rouses the brain, making you go over your worries and frustrations again and again. At times, it even presents things from different perspectives. Like a nagging friend, it reminds you what went wrong, what will go wrong, and what you need to do to solve everything, pronto. This may later on develop into anxiety.
Fortunately, our bodies are created with specific responses to stress. You have an inner On button, which touches base with the part of you that focuses on solving problems. You also have an Off button, which then replenishes the depleted energy and gives you a sense of peace. In times of danger, our “On” button blinks, warning us to stay alert. It’s worry that keeps us awake. With the technology abuzz, constantly sending us fears of missing out on trends or opportunities, our brain is overworked. As a result, stress becomes a cycle.
No sleep = stress. Stress = no sleep.
Overcoming stress may require a few steps, but once you quiet those fearful inner voices, you’ll get back to a zone of comfort and peace. Here are what you can do:
- Take a hot shower. When you're stressed out, your muscles are tense too. You may experience headaches and even body pain. The reason behind this: your blood vessels constrict as more adrenaline is being pumped into your body. It also signals you to prepare to fight or flee, which causes fatigue. What you can do to calm these nerves down is a warm soak in the tub. The heat releases the tension from your nerves and loosens the constriction in your blood vessels.
- Tea, please. The hot, comforting liquid soothes the body and warms your insides, literally. Not only that; the minerals from its natural components (especially Lavender and Chamomile), includes magnesium, which helps you calm down and preps your body to a restful sleep.
- Read a book. Grab your favourite best-seller or pick up whatever you get your hands on; either ways, reading helps your mind to calm down and gain back enough headspace so you can think clearly, minus the distracting thoughts in your head. Read books with beautiful imagery (we have a list of bookish suggestions for you) that will help you imagine scenes in and out of the world. You get to have an adventure even as you stretch on your cosy corner and lull yourself to sleep.
- Write your thoughts. Suffering from so many worries? Take a notebook and start venting these negative woes into a more positive light. If you feel disheartened about a mistake done earlier in the day, set a goal to make up for it in the next morning. Make checklists of to-dos and plan your day ahead. When you get a good picture of tomorrow’s tasks, and how you can conquer them, your mind will be set at ease, helping you sleep without concerns.
- Put your headphones on. No, not to blast loud pop music, but to listen to a playlist that will help you come down. We’ve made a selection of songs that will help you asleep, including a potent 8-minute track created especially to induce those nods. Of course, it helps that you have your own Sleepy Playlist, which may include light piano tunes, acoustic covers, warm voices, or even ambient tracks.
- Otherwise, listen to a podcast. Handpicked podcasts with meditative themes can be your best friend during pre-nap times. Some channels offer storytelling time (because even adults love bedtime stories) and others play ambient tracks that triggers your auditory senses to soothe your brain and consequently, calm down to sleep.
- Cool your room. Your body requires to be in a certain temperature for its melatonin to be in full working condition. Warmer rooms leave you sweaty and awake, so turn that AC on and lower the temperature. According to the National Sleep Foundation, you want the temperature to be somewhere within 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wear a pair of socks. With your room on a chill, you’d definitely want to keep your extremities warm. The in a research published in the science journal Nature, a group of participants was seen to sleep better when they placed hot water bottles on their feet. The reason behind this? Heat widens the blood surface on the skin and promotes better circulation while shifting the warmth from your core to the rest of your body. So bring out those comfy knits and wear them on your naps.
- A change of scent helps. Dabbing your favourite pillow with a dab of mint instantly lifts up your spirit, washing away those feelings of wonder and worry. At night, avoid using citrusy scents, as these are known to keep you alive and awake, which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
- Blow bubbles. These toys aren’t just for kids. According to a New York Post article, blowing bubbles requires deep breathing, which then aids in calming your body and mind. If you have one lying around, bedtime is the right time to play. Just keep it in a safe spot after you’re through for the next use.
- Practice left-nostril breathing. If you wake up in the middle of your sleep, cover your right nostril and breathe normally through the left. Why should it work? This breathing technique triggers the relaxing part of your nervous system. Make sure you're covering the right, and breathe through the left; if you did otherwise, you might stay awake for hours.
- Try acupressure. Acupressure, the lighter form of acupuncture (you know, the one with needles), is based on a Chinese medicinal philosophy that the body is made up of certain points where our energy flows. Some of these points: between your eyebrows, both of your ears, and the soles of your feet. Massaging these sections soothes your feelings and induces relaxation, prepping you for a better sleep.
BONUS! Put on an eye mask. Eye masks help block out light, triggering your body’s melatonin to naturally help you sleep. No more tossing and turning. Slip into a silk mask and enjoy the smooth sensation of this luxurious fabric against your face. Looking for one? View our collection in our shop.
When conditions become intolerable, ask your doctor about potential sleep aid. Your body may be undergoing certain chemical changes that might be preventing you from getting your necessary Zzzs.