How Stress Impacts Upon Sleep

During these difficult and challenging times it is becoming apparent that the Covid – 19 pandemic is already beginning to have a significant impact upon the nation’s mental health . It is perhaps not surprising that many people are not sleeping very well. Anxiety and worry about the disease, working from home, having to take unpaid leave, trying to distance from people, schools closing, financial difficulties, Christmas and feeling isolated from loved ones is all having an massive impact upon our physical and mental health and sleep.

How To Sleep With Anxiety

There are a number of techniques which you can put into place.

Good Sleep Hygiene

  • Disconnect from electrical devices. It is difficult to switch off in the evening if you find yourself constantly checking your phone. Try to avoid checking emails, social media or the news which may cause anxiety just before bedtime.
  • Keep your bedtime as a sanctuary. Make sure that you sleep on a comfortable, supportive bed and keep the room cool, quiet and dark.
  • Herbal tea. Choose something like Chamomile or Valerian tea for it’s relaxing properties, or a milky drink.
  • Set the scene. Turning down the lights causes our melatonin levels to rise – this is the hormone which we need to feel sleepy. Try to avoid using bright lights in the evening, a softer light will help to promote drowsiness.
  • A warm bath.  A warm bath about 90 minutes before bed may help you to fall asleep more quickly as the warm water helps to change your body’s core temperature, so that you go to bed with a lower temperature.A drop in temperature is the signal that it is time to go to sleep. A couple of essential oils in your bath such as lavender, chamomile or frankincense can really help to promote a feeling of relaxation.
  • And Breathe…… It is really important to find ways to relax before you fall asleep and even more so when you are feeling anxious or stressed. Try to practice relaxation techniques and deep breathing exercises. You may choose to try guided meditation, mindfulness or listening to gentle music.
  • Journal.  If you wake up during the night it can be helpful to write down your worries or even writing down a to do list. With a worry journal, your problems have a place to be other than in your mind, disturbing your sleep.