Both stress and sleep have a big impact in many areas of our lives, not least of all, with each other. If you’re stressed, you’ll likely have trouble sleeping. If you don’t get quality sleep, you’ll be more stressed.
High stress and poor quality sleep lead to trouble focusing, which compounds to make both elements even worse.
You might have heard a lot of people giving advice like “get more sleep” or “decrease your stress levels”. But this advice is worthless without any practical tips on doing just that.
This is what we’re going to share in this article; a collection of tips that will help you get better sleep, experience lower stress levels, and enjoy the benefits that come along as a result.
1. Early Morning Light Exposure
First, we’re going to tackle sleep. Great sleep comes with so many health benefits, such as greater hormonal wellbeing, immune response, trauma release, cognitive ability, and focus. It’s also powerful for stress relief, which in turn helps you get better quality sleep.
Central to good quality sleep is your circadian rhythm (or circadian clock). This is the body’s natural internal clock, which dictates when you go between states of sleepiness or wakefulness.
Through thousands of years of evolution, we’re conditioned to be awake, energized, and focused while the sun is up, and restful when it’s not. So proper exposure to bright lights at the right time is essential in maintaining our natural circadian rhythm.
To kick-start your daily circadian clock, go outside and get exposure to sunlight within 30-60 minutes of waking up. You’ll want to get at least 10 minutes of sunlight – more if it’s particularly overcast.
This “wakes up” your internal clock, and puts you on schedule to transition into your restful cycle when you’re ready to go to sleep at night.
2. Limit Light at Night
On the opposite end of your sleep-wake cycle, you need to limit your light exposure closer to bedtime.
Exposure to bright light can be extremely confusing to the body’s circadian clock. Artificial lighting from overhead lights and the light from our electronic devices mimic that of the sun and can confuse the body into thinking it should be starting the “wake” phase, instead of the “sleep” phase.
Between 10 pm and 4 am (assuming you’re trying to achieve a regular sleep-wake schedule), limit how much you view bright lights, as well as overhead lights. Dim the lights and try to stick with lights off to the side.
3. Adaptogen Supplement
Now we come to stress, which has significant positive or negative effects on sleep.
By reducing stress, both physical and mental, you’re likely to see a big increase in your sleep quality, as well as energy, focus, and many more areas.
An adaptogen supplement like the recovery mushroom supplement from Naked Nutrition is a great way to promote rest and rejuvenation and decrease stress. It does this through the use of adaptogenic mushrooms – cordyceps, reishi, lion’s mane, turkey tail, shiitake, and king trumpet.
These mushroom strains carry powerful holistic benefits, including increased recovery and better stress management. Adaptogens are believed to stimulate the body’s natural response to stress – physical and mental – to help keep the body and mind at a natural, balanced state.
4. Start Using the Sauna
Sauna is another powerful way to reduce stress. Sauna promotes a feeling of relaxation throughout the body, and also helps with hormonal balance and the body’s natural stress response.
The quick warming up of the body, followed by rapid cooling post-sauna, promotes a release of tension in the body, which is what gives us the feeling of relaxation. In addition, heat exposure from a sauna helps regulate levels of cortisol, our main stress hormone.
Both the muscular relaxation and regulation of cortisol that comes from sauna use also have significant benefits when it’s time to go to sleep, giving a double-barreled effect of both lower stress and increased sleep quality.
If you’re able to get good quality sleep, while keeping stress under control, you’re more than likely going to feel great. Both sleep and stress are strongly tied to each other, meaning if you fix one, the other is likely to improve as well.
Add in the raft of additional benefits from both improving sleep and lowering stress – such as increased focus, energy, immune response and more – and there’s no excuse not to try these four tips out for yourself.