How to relax and unwind after a stressful day
A huge 85% of UK adults are experiencing stress regularly, with over a third of these feeling the effects for at least one full day per week.
It’s important for people to understand the correlation stress has on sleep – and conversely the affect sleep has on stress. A lack of sleep can lead to an imbalance of hormones, especially cortisol – the stress hormone. With elevated levels of cortisol causing a number of conditions such as insomnia, a way to stop reproducing the hormone is through a good rest, which is increasingly difficult if the sleeper is already experiencing heightened stress levels.
We’ve done some digging and have come up with five simple yet effective ways to help you go to bed stress free, which will aid you in your quest in getting a solid 7-8 hours sleep per night.
1) Get a hot bath
Soaking in hot water has always been relaxing, keeping you warm, toasty and comfortable while melting your worries away. A hot bath is a great way to relieve muscles from the daily pressures, and can lower blood pressure and aid the circulatory system. Want further relaxation? Add bath salts or essential oils.
32% of people use exercise to overcome stress and it’s no surprise to see why. Working out produces endorphins – a natural chemical which acts as a painkiller and pulses a feel-good sensation throughout the body, which ultimately helps to reduce stress levels.
Unsurprisingly, a good exercise will also fatigue your body and muscles, helping you feel tired and giving you a better sleep.
3) Turn off your screens
A bit of science – All screens, whether its laptops, televisions or mobile phones, emit blue light wavelengths which does something to the brain and prohibits the production of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone in the brain which helps you get to sleep. If the production of this is hindered, then so is your sleep.
So, resist that one last urge to check social media or to watch just one more episode of that “must see” TV show. Try to shut down your screens at least an hour before bed to get better shut eye.
4) Chill out with a book…
Science again, but research has proven that unwinding by reading a good book can reduce stress levels by two-thirds, and works more effectively and quicker than most other stress-busting methods, such as going for a walk or settling down with a cup of tea.Psychologists believe relaxing with your favourite book eases stress levels as it makes the mind concentrate on reading, and the diversion of being taken into the fictional world can ease tension in the body.
4b) Or music
We wouldn’t advise playing Slipknot as loud as possible, but the effects soothing and calming music have on stress levels is renowned. It has a link to our emotions, meaning it’s hugely effectual when calming us down. Like a book, it can relax the body, reducing the heart rate and lowering stress levels as a result.
5) Disconnect with work
A pretty simple last tip, but don’t bring your work home unless you really, really need to. The likelihood is that work is one of the reasons getting you stressed out and worked up, so there’s no need to check emails when you’re at home, too. All it does is bring your work life into your home life.
Want to learn more about how you could improve your sleep? Visit our blog homepage and check out more of our tips.