What to Do If You Can't Sleep Because of Stress?

Stress can hurt you in many ways, and those effects are amplified when you do not get a good enough sleep. The problem is that you cannot get a good night's rest if you are under stress, and sleep deprivation is only going to worsen the situation. You have to take steps to break this vicious cycle. Thankfully, you can try ways to counter nighttime stress if you can't sleep because of stress. Paying attention to your diet, maintaining a bedtime ritual, or using aromatherapy are some possible options.

How to Get Some Sleep When You Are Too Stressed

When you are under stress, it is hard to think straight and handle things properly. Problems can spiral out of control and everything becomes worse when you do not get enough sleep. Here are some tips to help you improve your sleep quality.

1. Know What Causes Stress

So many factors go into putting you under stress, which is why you need to identify that underlying cause to manage things better. You can find a solution only when you are sure about what is bothering you and keeping you from falling asleep. It could be due to an upcoming exam, an illness, or something beyond your control. Know that cause and try to solve that problem to get out of stress.

2. Use Your Problem Solving Skills

It means that you should look for all possible solutions to handle a problem that may be the underlying cause of stress. Use all your problem solving skills and avoid going into a negative feedback loop. If you are worried about your upcoming test, you may want to talk to your teacher or try new ways to prepare yourself for it. Similarly, you need to make yourself understand that nighttime is not the right time to think about problems in your life. You can handle those situations later. If you keep thinking about stressful situations, you are never going to fall asleep.

3. Plan Your Next Day Before Going to Sleep

Even before you head to your bed, it is important to take your time to decide what you are going to do about certain situations in the morning. You can't sleep because of stress because you take all those worries to bed. Do not call it a day unless you have decided what you are going to do about certain stressful situations tomorrow. Once you have made up your mind, you will find it easier to sleep.

6. Improve Your Bedroom Environment

If the environment in your bedroom is not pleasant, you will always have a hard time going to sleep. It should not be dirty, cluttered, or otherwise unpleasant or it is only going to augment your stress. Ensure that your pillows, mattress, sheets, and comforters are clean and comfortable. Buy new ones if you think they are not comfortable enough. You can also use oil diffuser to make your bedroom smell nice. Similarly, light blocking curtains may also help make your bedroom dark enough to help you fall asleep with ease.

7. Have a Bedtime Routine

It pays to have a nice, relaxing bedtime routine. In other words, you need to do something to relax your mind and body a couple of hours before you finally head to your bed. Take a bath, read a book, practice gentle yoga, write a journal, or try something that you find relaxing.

8. Say No to Caffeine

Consuming caffeine too close to bed can affect your sleep quality big time. Know that caffeine can stay in your system up to 14 hours after consumption. Therefore, it makes great sense to quit caffeine by noon. In fact, you may want to eliminate caffeine from your routine for a couple of weeks to see if it improves your sleep quality. Try herbal tea, water, or herbal coffee substitutes instead.

9. Practice Breathing Exercises

One great way to relax your mind and body is to practice left-nostril breathing. It will really help if you can't sleep because of stress. Simply use your thumb to block off your right nostril and take a deep breath through your other nostril only. Inhale and exhale through your left nostril only for a few minutes – aim for at least 26 deep breaths to experience some good effects.

10. Stay Away from Electrical Devices

In other words, you should avoid screen time before going to bed. Under no circumstances should you be taking your cell phone or laptop to bed. The light from these devices can make your brain think that it is still daytime and that it needs to stay awake. So, avoid it!

11. Make Use of Acupressure

One good way to relax your nerves is to try acupressure, which involves stimulating certain points in your body. Similarly, you may benefit from yoga or massage. You can find several videos online to learn how to perform simple yoga moves to get good results.

12. Use Sleep Aids

You can also take advantage of OTC sleep aid, but you should do it only when you have tried everything else. You should be using these aids cautiously to avoid depending on them. Moreover, you need to ensure that sleep aids do not make you sleep more than you require because you will develop other issues if you oversleep.

When to See Your Doctor

If you have tried everything and sleep aids have failed as well, it is time to see your doctor. Stress can hurt you mentally and physically in ways you might have never thought about, so it is important to ask a professional for help when stress disturbs your sleep. Your doctor will consider your situation and even help by prescribing sleep medication for a short time. They may also help if you have insomnia or other sleep disorders. 

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