Stress Keeping You Up Past Your Bedtime?



Stressful times call for stress-relieving measures, and nothing is more important to relieving stress than a good night’s sleep. But what if stress is actually keeping you awake? A reduction of regular sleeping hours has been linked to everything from memory issues to high blood pressure and weakened immunity. In fact, a night of sleep lasting less than 7 hours results in 70% fewer immune cells being produced the following day. Here are some science-backed insights into how to let go of stress and get a good night’s sleep. 

 

COLD AND DARK 

The Mayo Clinic suggests creating a cold, dark sleeping environment, with the temperature being kept around 60º-70º F. Drops in temperature and light perception signal to our brain that it’s time to sleep. 

 

AVOID BLUE LIGHT 

Blue light is the prominent spectrum present in daylight, while the red or or orange light spectrum is the one experienced during the setting of the sun. Having a blue light on in the bedroom tricks our brains into believing it’s still daytime. 

 

BE A DAYTIME HUNTER-GATHERER 

Melatonin — the hormone that signals cells to enter sleep mode — is increased with several activities. Exposure to sunlight, physical exercise, and avoiding daytime naps will take you a bit further towards a good night’s sleep. 

 

BEWARE OF COFFEE 

The biological half-life of a molecule of caffeine is between 3-7 hours, after which it has another half-life to burn before the psychoactive effects are finally finished. In simple terms, that means you need to put a halt to coffee by noon. That gives your body time to move the caffeine out of your bloodstream before bedtime. Just one cup of coffee in the evening is enough to disrupt sleep by 20%.

 

STICK TO A SCHEDULE 

Another of the Mayo Clinic’s suggestions for sleep quality is to try and stick to a schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Obviously this can be difficult, especially on the weekends, but it’s a very powerful way to acclimatize the brain’s sleep hardware.

 

MAKE YOUR BEDROOM QUIET 

The brain can detect noise while sleeping, which rather than causing us to wake up, can actually cause the brain to lift itself out of the deeper cycles of sleep into the less-restorative ones. Street noise can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle, so if your bedroom windows face a busy street, it may be worth your while to relocate your bedroom to a quieter part of the house. If that’s not possible, ear plugs will help.