In today’s fast-paced world, getting enough sleep has become less and less of a priority for much of the population, and now sleep-related disorders are skyrocketing. Quality sleep is essential to overall health, and yet over 50 million Americans report chronic sleep loss!
Why is sleep so crucial?
Well, a lack of sleep affects your intellectual, physical, and emotional state of being! Sleep disruptions impair cognition, memory, concentration, agility, and problem-solving skills. A lack of sleep increases your chances of infection, stroke, hypertension, and even Type 2 Diabetes. Sleep deprivation also affects your emotional and mental health by increasing irritability and depression. And of course, a lack of good, solid sleep is very closely linked to weight gain! When you can’t sleep, or fitful sleep due to anxiety or worry, you’ll tend to eat more calories to increase energy – does a ‘midnight snack’ sound familiar?
When you finally fall into bed, it may be the first time during the day you have been truly still and free of life’s distractions to reflect on their day and any concerns you may have. What thoughts come to your mind? Are you replaying an argument with your spouse in your head? A conflict with a co-worker? Frustrations as a parent? Maybe financial problems? Listen, that affects all of us.
Try some of these strategies to improve your sleep and manage your anxiety. Start by creating and maintaining a peaceful bedroom, free of distractions or anything that might disrupt your sense of serenity – keep it clean, dark, and lower your thermostat to a cooler temperature for best results!
Next, you can simply avoid stressful activities at night such as paying your bills or watching the news before bed. If anything, you should write down any concerns or things you need to do and give yourself permission to let go of what worries you until tomorrow! Also, you should avoid or minimize alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine which can negatively affect your sleep.
Try your best to maintain a consistent sleep schedule; go to bed at the same time every night, and avoid napping during the day.
Once in bed, you should definitely limit your phone and electronic use – I know, a hard habit to break! The blue light actually stimulates your brain rather than giving it permission to go into rest mode. Instead, use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation. Now…slowly…drift…away….!
Now, let’s take some active steps during the day to resolve those issues that are keeping you up at night! Now it’s time to work on your “To Do” List … stay focused on your priorities by taking small steps toward accomplishing your goals while also finding joy throughout your day!
Decide how you can ‘de-stress’ your encounters. Stay calm and do your best to not hold back on your feelings – keeping emotions locked up will haunt you when your head finally hits the pillow! Talk about what’s on your mind. Get it out.
Meanwhile, since you’ve made the decision to take your life back through your journey in the ZOË 60 program, you are already helping your nighttime sleeping bliss by eating healthy meals and keeping your body moving throughout the day. But I would also like to add that you should spend time outside in natural daylight. You won’t believe the affect this has on you, not just for when your head floats down to your pillow, but for your overall outlook on life!
Now, sometimes you might feel anxious or depressed regardless of what’s happening in your life or what you have tried to do to escape it. If you find you have excessive and persistent worry, then you may have a medical condition referred to as an anxiety disorder, which affects approximately 40 million Americans. It’s the most prevalent mental health condition and the most common reason people seek counseling. Depression is also strongly linked to lack of sleep. Around 90% of people with depression complain about poor sleep quality.
If you are experiencing anxiety or depression, or if you are under significant stress, try seaking therapy. Sometimes, just a few sessions can improve your symptoms and make a big difference in your overall well-being!